professor PhDr., CSc. Jaro Křivohlavý

* 1925  †︎ 2014

  • “There was a little wooden door inside the larger door, just big enough for one person. We used the little door when we walked through individually. Šimerka was running away from Pinďa (the commander of the Small Fortress, Jindřich Jöckl), he slipped through that little door and slammed that door behind him. It actually shut. But Pinďa wanted to kick him through the door, so his shoe stayed stuck in the little door. For those of us who were there, it was great fun, but Šimerka was lucky to have survived.”

  • “One of the inmates was ‘Zimmerkomandant’, the commander of the prison cell. Because the Germans would often ask different things, the Zimmerkomandant had to speak German very well. In our case, the commander of cell No. 26, where I spent the longest time, was Fabuš. His name was Fabián but we called him Fabuš. He came from Lounky and they speak a lot of German there, so he could speak very well German. I admired him because every time a German potentate entered the cell, he had to report to him. In his report, he had to account for the presence of every inmate. We were for instance sixty-seven inmates and so he would say: ‘Thirty-two of them in Lovosice, seventeen in Litoměřice, eight of them are here, another one there... He did have to mention every one of the inmates. But he reported brilliantly! As if he had been reading it from a paper.”

  • “There was a lot of tension hanging in the air because the Germans really thought that the students in Roudnice had been involved in much more than they actually were. They thought that the students had tried to organize an anti-German resistance group or to get seriously involved in subversive activity which they had to investigate. It was hanging in the air. They were looking for these activities but there was nothing like that happening on the ground in fact. Of course that today, it would sound nice if I could say: ‘We had plans to de-rail German trains or to fight and win the war against the Germans’. That would be nice. But nothing like that was in reality happening.”

  • “It took quite a few years before it came through but eventually we started working on the International Standard Safety Colors and back then, most of them of course helped me. We met with various representatives of foreign states in different places of the world. The Russians were opposed to using red while Indians were opposed to the use of orange... Finally the standard was actually adopted worldwide. You can see the results basically everywhere, for example at the train station. You have employees in clothing with yellow marking, or in a stairwell, the first step is always marked in yellow, plus a great number of other markings on machines and equipment, safety signs for electricity, it all conforms to this Safety Colors standard.”

  • “My name is Jaro Křivohlavý. I have one more name, Borek, but I’m not using it. Originally, I was supposed to be called Borek Křivohlavý, but the clerk in the office said that it was not possible. Only names in the calendar could be given to the children. So my father took the calendar, it was on March 21 and there was in red letters: Jaro. ‘So he’ll be called Jaro’. That's how I got my name. I’m neither famous, nor moderate. I was born in Třebenice on March 19, 1925, on a Friday.”

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    Praha, 26.02.2013

    délka: 02:28:30
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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I started to play with ideas about how you could use colors in the industry

Jaro Křivohlavý, 1942
Jaro Křivohlavý, 1942
zdroj: archiv Jara Křivohlavého

Prof. PhDr. Jaro Křivohlavý, CSc., was born on March 19, 1925, in Třebenice nearby Litoměřice in Czechoslovakia. He attended primary school in Třebenice. Due to the occupation of the border area in 1938, he had to study secondary school in a number of different places – in Litoměřice, in Theresienstadt and eventually in the Roudnice nad Labem. On June 20, 1942, the students of the sixth and seventh grade of the grammar school together with the students of the second grade of the local higher technical school were arrested for having allegedly been involved in the preparation of the assassination of the headmaster of the German school in Roudná nad Labem, Alfred Bauer. Jaro was amongst these students and he was taken to the Small Fortress of Theresienstadt where he spent three months before he was released on September 26, 1942. He then had to report to the employment office in Kladno, where he was assigned to forced labor in the Anna (Laura) mine before he was transferred to the Prago IV mine in Dubí nearby Kladno. He fled from forced labor shortly before the war and went into hiding in his native Třebenice. After the war, he studied English and psychology at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, and in 1950 he earned a doctorate in psychology. He worked in the Occupational Safety Research Institute in Prague and in the Institute for Further Medical Training of Doctors, also located in Prague. He is one of the authors of the international global standard “Safety Colors” and taught at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University. He currently lives with his wife in Prague. He died on December 17, 2014, in Prague.