Lukáš Martin

* 1967  

  • "In his office, all the people who worked there were heartfelt for them. We didn't have high salaries, but we all loved it. We went to work with great enthusiasm, because the personality of Václav Havel helped us to fulfil all our tasks. In a way, it was my first big and meaningful job, and I'd say it was the best job I've ever had in my life. It was very easy to work for Václav Havel, because he was very kind and it will probably never happen in my life for the President of the Republic to correct my letters. One of my tasks was to write letters, which he then sent on various occasions, and because I actually only graduated from elementary school in the Czech Republic, so my Czech was not entirely one hundred percent. And in that hustle and bustle, I sometimes wrote a letter where I had spelling mistakes and my superiors didn't mind it, and then the letter went to the President's desk, and he corrected it and sent it back to me to write it again."

  • "They came with a so-called gray passport. It was actually a very unique passport, which was gray in color and which was valid only in Yugoslavia. This meant that you could travel to Yugoslavia with it, but it was not valid in any other countries. You could not travel to Italy or Germany, for example, with that passport. And that was our situation - we travelled using the gray passports. But where the socialist regime or the communist regime recalculated was that Yugoslavia not only allowed people to travel further from Yugoslavia, but also allowed the United Nations and the office of the Commissioner for Refugees to open its office in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia. Citizens of the Czech Republic could also register directly as refugees at this office in Belgrade and then, at the expense of the United Nations, stay in Belgrade and wait for their asylum procedure to be completed and granted asylum in one state or another."

  • "My brother and I were very young and our parents consulted with us. We saw it as a great adventure, so we had no reason to prevent or discourage them in any way. In fact, we saw it as a great adventure, also because our parents told us that they didn't want to stay in Europe and that they wanted to go to a distant country like South Africa or the United States or Australia or New Zealand. So for me as a fifteen-year-old boy, it was a huge challenge. We supported our parents. We knew about it circa six months before we ran away. In fact, those six months our whole life revolved or adapted so that we could leave the republic in June 1982."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Praha, 18.11.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 01:00:51
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

I considered it a great adventure

Lukáš Martin at the age of six
Lukáš Martin at the age of six
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Lukáš Martin was born on May 3, 1967 in Prague. His parents were members of the Communist Party, from which they withdrew after the 1968 invasion. The family decided to emigrate and in June 1982 they left for Australia via Yugoslavia. They lived in Adelaide, Australia. In 1988, Lukáš Martin embarked on an almost two-year journey around the world, during which he personally experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. He returned to Australia in the days of the Velvet Revolution. In 1996 he went on a long visit to the Czech Republic and eventually stayed there for five years, during which he worked in the office of the president Václav Havel. In 2001, he returned to Australia and worked for the Prime Minister of the Australian state of Victoria. Since 2010 he has lived with his family back in the Czech Republic and at the time of recording the interview (2019) he worked as the director of the international relations section of the Confederation of Trade and Industry of the Czech Republic.