Professor Zdeněk Jičínský

* 1929  †︎ 2020

  • "We had a great lecturer of Czech, who devoted much attention to literature and we got acquainted with the modern literature. Back then I was much impressed by John Steinbeck and his Grapes of Wreth. He also wrote an anti-capitalist book named the Battle. It was all about the exploited planters, who went to work in California. They have been exploited in their bare nature. I was much impressed by that. When you asked before, where my orientation to communism came from, there was no single cause. I could not say that the immediate cause was my social background I grew up in. That was just an extra. The post-war atmosphere was much more important. It was definitely left-wing as the Soviets freed us and the communist party was the main driving force of the progress.“

  • "In the constitution draft it was not said that it should have been a ‚socialistic‘ constitution. It should have been the Czechoslovak republic constitution. But the year 1960 was the year, when so called socialistic changes of the society finished. A collectivisation of agriculture was done. In the words of contemporary terminology it was said that there were no exploitation classes and there was only a working class society of the agricultural cooperative and the working intelligence. The prezident Novotný tended to push the progress verbally so the idea of the Czechoslovak republic being named socialistic came from him. I remember that only me and proffesor Dobiáš questioned that in the commission. We argued that it was preliminary and the social changes were so early and new that they did not correspond with the name. But our questions were not answered as they did not agree with the mood of victory, which ruled the former high circles. Rather soon after that economic issues began to appear and consequently also social issues.“

  • How he got to sign the Chart 77 "A group of people used to meet in my place every Tuesday or Wednesday every two weeks. Zdeněk Mlynář, Jiří Hájek, a former ministry of foreign affairs, Vladimír Kadlec, a former ministry of education and others. And there we talked about all that stuff. Zdeněk Mlynář once called me and we drove to Havel, where the first larger meeting regarding the Chart took place. Not the one, where the text was created, I was not there then, but it was a smaller group. I rememer there were Patočka, Černý, Šabata and they discussed the Chart. Based on that we had the papers and collected signatures. I also managed to get some together. Reformed communists had at least 105 signatures out of the first cca 243 signatures. So that is how I knew about the Chart.“

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The powerful ones of worse intellectual qualities deeply marked society and human relationships

Zdeněk Jičínský 1968
Zdeněk Jičínský 1968
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Zdeněk Jičínský was born on 26 February, 1929 in Ostřešany near Pardubice. He attended gymnasium and in 1948 was accepted to the Faculty of Law of the Charles University. In 1948 he joined the communist party. As a fresh graduate of the faculty of law he taught at the High School of the central committee of the communist partz in 1954-1964. In 1960 he participated in preparation of the socialistic constitution, and as he did not agree with the word „socialistic“ in the name of the republic and constitution. In 1963 he was active in the commission for rehabilitation of Gustáv Husák and other Slovak „burquise nacionalists“. When in 1964 he stood up for the critisized reformed vice-rector of the party high school, he had to leave the school along with other 10 lecturers. Since 1964 he lectured at the faculty of law. In 1968 he became a member of the newly organised Czech national coucil. He disagreed with the Soviet occupation. Following the clearings in 1969 and 1970 he had to leave the Czech national council, the Federal assembly and the party, and lost his job at the faculty. He started in the Czech insurance company as a liquidator of insurance events; and then in the legal department. Following signing the Chart 77 he was thrown out of the Czech insurance company and was jobless for a year and a half. Since 1979 worked as a company lawyer in Mototechna. In 1981 based on a fake letter he was accused in a so called case Truck of anti-state activities and the secret police blackmailed him to cooperate. In 1988 he joined the activities of the Czech Helsinky Committee; in November 1989 he participated in establishing the Civic Forum, and in December 1989 was coopted into the Federal Parliament for the Forum party. In 1990s he was active in the Czechoslovak Socialist Democratic Party and in 1996-2002 and 2003-2010 was a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Parliament. He was an active vice-chairman of the the Chamber of Deputies and the Chairman of the Standing Commission on the Constitution of the Czech Republic. Zdeněk Jičínský died on 9 April 2020.