“It happened in September 1979, and all of a sudden the state police rings the door bell and there is a house search. And they came with certainty, because they already knew and they had already somehow investigated that dad was involved in this. And it started – they checked everything, they confiscated many books. My mom was covertly quickly taking some photocopied documents out of the house and my brother was burning them down there in the stove as fuel. It was like that, kind of a dramatic scene, as if from some detective novel. But it was not pleasant, because it probably lasted the whole day. Then they arrested daddy and they went to the office with him, and then they imprisoned him and we had no idea for how long and what could happen and so on.”
“It was simply a childhood which was amazing for what one perceives around oneself. Today I am already able to judge it, and I see that it was actually wonderful, but at that time we regarded it as nothing special. You are simply growing up somewhere and you think of the place as your home. But when you grow up and you find out that other children are growing up in confined spaces of apartment housing blocks and you realize that your home was something completely different. That was my first impression, that I am aware of, that we had a lot of space, a large garden, and many beautiful things around. Since my mom came from a family of a business man, and before grandfather emigrated, he had provided for her a dowry in the form of antique furniture, a large piano, and beautiful things and paintings. And we had all this at home, and it was our home. But to make it short… what was interesting about my childhood was that since the villa was a large building and it had a basement, too, and since the original owner was no longer able to live in the whole building alone… one of the large rooms in the basement thus belonged to Mr. Jan Koblasa, a painter, who was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts at that time.”
“Nevertheless, even before Charter 77 appeared, my parents with their way of life and their lack of fear and their knowledge of foreign languages… people simply knew that if somebody from the West arrived and wanted to speak with some Christians, the priests or those who had the contacts would always tell them: ‘Go to the Kaplan family, because they will be able to communicate with you and they are not afraid.’ And my mom was the type of a person who had lots of energy and who was a skilled organizer. And she was not scared, because she used to say: ‘What can they do to me...? I am a mother of many children. And if they come to me and ask how come, Mrs. Kaplanová, that you got some many people in here, I will tell them: So what, my kids have birthday, and so they invited their friends, and well, there are many of us.’”
Our parents taught us not to be afraid to step out of the line
Martina Hošková was born on November 21, 1956. She spent her childhood in Villa Pellé where her parents and her nine siblings lived together with the original owners - the Rieger family - and the artist Jan Koblasa, who had his studio in the basement. Her parents, Marie and Jiří Kaplan, were Christians and they raised their children in Christian faith. They were also very active in the Catholic dissent movement, they were translating books and organizing home seminars. Martina‘s father was arrested for disseminating banned books in 1979, but thanks to the support from abroad he was released three months later. Martina graduated from a conservatory and with her husband they had seven children. After spending twenty years at home and raising their children, she completed a study at the Catholic Faculty of Theology at Charles University. In 2017 she received the certificate of participants in the anti-communist resistance movement on behalf of her parents.