Josef Kadeřábek

* 1955  

  • “Jana Uherová was still there at that time, she’s now a dramaturge in Pardubice, she’s the daughter of Uher, the Slovak director. And she… I liked going with her because she was a buxom, good-looking and eloquent lady. In some places it took like an hour before people actually started asking. Sometimes there was just silence. We said some things: this and that happened, and the people just sat there and said nothings. Just nothing. So that was awful, right, because without that contact… Sometimes there was tension and suddenly it all went away. We always sat at a table there and someone who had been too shy to ask in front of everybody could come and ask. We offered that. Sometimes there were mikes, sometimes not. Well and this was something I had never ever thought I would do, driving around factories and explaining something to people. I couldn’t imagine doing that until then.”

  • “I witnessed it in Hřensko or in Petrovice on the border crossing, when they brought Germans who had naively tried to cross the border here and our people caught them and handed them back to the East Germans. That’s when I saw the worst brutalities, during these handovers I mean. Our border guards just handed them over but the way the German customs officers of the passport control treated them, I think I’ve never seen such brutality. Národní was nothing compared to this. They hit their eyes with batons, broke arms and just threw those, who had tried to escape and got caught by our border guards, in the cars.”

  • “We walked past the National Theatre, from there I remember Boris Rösner shouting something from the window. We walked past the National Theatre which had been locked up by someone. When they started hitting people, then suddenly we were looking for places to hide and the giant gate was closed. And we’ve been speculating about who did it back then, that it must have been intentional. I don’t know. We got to Voršilská street and I remember the red berets sliding down on ropes from the tin… there was this huge fence there and they slid down on ropes with these long batons – and they invaded the Národní avenue from the side, which no one had anticipated. And there they thrashed people, I know that Ivan and I jumped at one of them who had been beating a woman with a child with his Polish baton. And I remember we grabbed his legs, kind of pushing him down, so he wouldn’t beat her. Then it got all blurry, it was all chaos.”

  • “I started gymnasium in 1970 and at that time positions were being changed, so we started with a new principal who… he taught at the Evening University of Marxism-Leninism, he was a confirmed communist, Jiří Netolický was his name. And until then – it was the best gymnasium in Ústí, there were two but this one was higher quality. Until then, Vít Fisher had been the principal, if I remember it correctly. They had simply fired him and this guy of the nomenklatura was put in his place instead. And we had him since the freshman year. So whoever wore jeans or had long hair automatically got punished. And of course, many people… there were kids of doctors, and whoever was the intelligentsia or somehow came from an intelligentsia family, he wouldn’t recommend them for college. He simply wouldn’t. So, he’s really had an impact on many people’s lives.”

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I’ll never forget November 1989. For several months I felt happy

Josef Kadeřábek in 2019
Josef Kadeřábek in 2019
zdroj: Během natáčení

Josef Kadeřábek was born May 26, 1955 in Ústí nad Labem and grew up in nearby Telnice. As a physiotherapist and a masseur of the Rudá Hvězda Ústí nad Labem boxing team, he’s had his share in many national titles. During his military service, which he served at a military medical post in Prague, he went to military prison for six weeks for visiting Western embassies. He was threatened with further punishment and the State Security tried to blackmail him into cooperating with them. In 1980 he became head of tech support of the Činoherní studio theatre in the times of its golden era. He spent November 1989 in the theatre as well. After being at Národní with the students on November 17, he brought the news back to Ústí. The Činoherní studio went on a strike, he was a member of the Ústí branch of the Civic Forum’s coordination team and drove around neighboring factories to explain people what was going on. In the first free municipal elections he was elected to the municipal council and became a councilman. He withdrew from politics in 1993 and returned to the Činoherní studio.