MVDr. Jiří Návara

* 1957  

  • “But he was also a problem with the distribution of prints. Because two such pseudo-democratic parties that existed here were the Czechoslovak Socialist Party and the People's Democratic Party [sic], I think, that´s what it was called. And they had their prints: Free Word and People's Democracy, I think. These journalists began to write sensibly and the printed matter was distributed. Somehow we learnt, I do not know how anymore, I would not be able to say - that it is necessary to distribute printed materials among people, because it was brought it in packages tied by rope to all cities. Then the post service distributed it throwing it in front of tobacco stores. And somebody just said that the cops were driving - they were given an order - picking up the parcels again and taking them to the trash. So people were supposed to go out at 4 a.m. to watch the tobacco stands and hand out the prints, or make sure they can be sold further. That's a pretty important question, right? And I was then with my neighbor Ruda Tecl, who was the archive director, so we said we were going to watch our closest tobacco, which was in the square. It was right where the café called “V klidu” is now. And there we stood from about 3 a.m. just to be sure, and we waited, and the mail actually arrived, throwing the packet of newspapers like that. So we put it there and remained on the spot. And actually about five minutes a police car arrived, then it stopped, I still remember - I would have recognized the man if someone showed me the picture because it was a very powerful moment - as he sat there looking at us, we looked at him and he wondered how much of a risk it was to fulfill that command. And how much risk it was - not to fight with us, as they would probably have stood a good change to take us over - rather do themselves a lot of harm for the future. I think it was running in his head. There we looked at each other for a while and then they just drove off. Probably more people in Tábor were doing this. This was before the founding of the Civic Forum in Tábor. This was probably how more people did it and later the prints were distributed normally again.”

  • “And we reached the border, where we were at the cottage. And we saw those wires that were a few hundred yards away. And behind the wires was an Austrian village. And there we realized it, we stood there really quietly. Then we talked about that, now we actually saw that we're behind the wires in the camp. It was even more striking at the New Year's Eve, when we made such hooks on the sparklers and tossed them on a tree with fallen leaves, and they made - like a few sparklers - such colors of New Year's Eve. It was quite contrasting: the bare tree against the sky, a few sparklers on it, and in a few moments a firework began in that village in Austria; a huge one we haven't seen before. Incredible colors and shapes. We stood there again in silence, saying, 'This is totally crazy, now we see wires, a few sparklers on a bare tree, and through those wires we looked out to the free world making fireworks so beautiful there.' We got even more depressed. We thought that we would be happy to have a cottage for ourselves and we are somewhere in the Bohemian Forest ... And to this day we all remember what a clash it suddenly was, a confrontation with the lack of freedom, the reality. Such a tiny little episode.”

  • “I guess I was acting naively when the school was over and I wanted to travel to the West. It was for the first time in my life. It hadn't occurred to me before. And so I came for all the papers to be confirmed by the communist organisazion. There was Mrs. Kratochvílová, the chairwoman of the party, a very unpleasant woman, who had much anger inside and no one liked her. I took the papers to her to get them confirm applying for a foreign exchange. And she was looking at it in disbelief because I was the only one in the whole school, and she said, 'What are you going to do there, Návara?' So I told her like I wanted to spend a week in France to see what it was like there, then hitchhiking to Germany to have a look too, then to England for a while until the end of the holidays. She turned on me like a cop rolling her eyes, shook her head saying that she probably had never seen a man like me, and gave me a stamp. And she waved her hand to me. Of course, they didn't approve anything, I kept asking for seven years long, but I didn't get anything.”

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    Tábor, 26.07.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 01:33:47
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I am grateful to have lived in such exciting times

Jiří Návara in 2019
Jiří Návara in 2019
zdroj: Během natáčení

Jiří Návara was born on October 11, 1957 in Tábor. He graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Brno and after graduation he found it difficult to find an adequate job, which would also prevent him from joining the communist party. For some time he worked as a bricklayer, then settled down in a rendering plant to determine the causes of animal death. In the first revolutionary days of November 1989 he defended the former newspaper such as the Free Word, that first began writing openly about events in Prague, from security officers who tried to confiscate it. He then founded the Civic Forum in Tábor. At the time of split of the Civic Forum he was at the birth of the Civic Democratic Party in Tábor. Later he ceased his membership mainly because of a different attitude to lustrations. From 1990 to 1998, Jiří Návara was deputy mayor of Tábor and considers political activity a good experience he could recommend to everyone.