Ing. Theodor Jan

* 1935

  • "Most people have been very forthcoming with us. I can't complain, except for a few complete morons. Those were absolute exceptions, which we have in the Czech Republic and Slovakia too. I have to say that I found a ninety-five percent friendly reception there. Moreover, in Friedrichshafen there was an emotional friendship with the way we ended up in Czechoslovakia."

  • "At that time our police in Pernštýn were not yet controlled from above and they phoned me: 'Look, you have service passports for you and your family in the safe here. I came to the police in Pernštýn, they opened the safe and gave me the passports. I didn't have to emigrate by force. I drove across the border with my family in an old Škoda quite normally, and the border guard even said to me: 'Good luck, Mr. Engineer.'"

  • "At that time, I was still hoping that we would somehow manage it, the Russians would leave and we would continue. For a while it went that way. That was when people like Smrkovský were still in the government. Zátopek had something to say. It was still hopeful. But then, in May, there was a plenary meeting of the Communist Party at which Biľak, Jakeš and the Slovak president came to power. So, I saw that this was the end."

  • "We were walking along the Palacký Embankment and I had a tricolour with a black ribbon pinned on it. A scrag, some guy came to Palacký Square, a Russian officer. A little guy with an automatic. If I'd punch him, he'd have gone over the fence. 'Down!' I had to take it off. I protested for a while. My wife shouted: 'Don't be stupid, don't be stupid, he'll shoot you, don't be stupid, don't be stupid!' My daughter was crying. So, I threw it under his feet. I argued with him. I told him: 'We're home here. You've got nothing to say to me, you're an invader.' In the end, my bullshit was useless anyway."

  • "I was naive at the time to think it was possible... I didn't think at all about the overall international situation. I thought we're here, and what we do, we get. Maybe I got that from my dad. And if decent people go to the Communist Party, we'll throw out the scoundrels and make Czechoslovakia what we would like it to be, or what we imagined Czechoslovakia to be after 1945 within Europe. With a socialist programme, but without violence. It was absolutely naive of me, but that's the way I was."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Plzeň, 16.07.2021

    délka: 03:23:39
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

The communists took our company. But I had a varied life without it

Theodor Jan, 1960
Theodor Jan, 1960
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Theodor Jan was born on 3 July 1935 in Prague. He spent his youth in the Braník city district, where he attended grammar school. After the war, he joined the renewed Scouting, which led him to sport. In 1953 the communists nationalized the family business. However, the ruling party no longer persecuted the family. This is probably why he was admitted to the Czech Technical University in Prague the same year. From there, as an engineer, he headed to Sokolov, where he worked on several construction sites as a construction supervisor. During his stay in northern Bohemia, he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In 1964, a job opportunity arose in India, which he took advantage of. He spent the next three years in the Indian state of Bihar. He returned to Prague just as the Prague Spring was beginning. Because of his attitudes, which were in tune with the atmosphere of political loosening, he was promoted at work. After the August occupation, however, he faced a steep career and social decline. Although he still believed in change, developments in early 1969 changed his opinion. He decided to emigrate. He lived with his family in West Germany, where he found employment in construction companies. Later he was involved in foreign contracts in the Middle East and Africa. He did not return to his native Prague until 1989. In the 1990s he moved closer to the Czech-German border to the town of Regen, where he was still living in 2021.