Jiří Novák

* 1958  

  • “In the morning there was a meeting of the Tatra leadership, saying that they do not recommend the strike and that it should not happen. There was also our instructor who was in charge of the radio studio, who informed us that the management did not want the strike to be supported and sounded. At the same time, he also told us that he could not forbid us from anything. So, my friend Jirka Tichánek and I said that we are going. We took the radio car and all the equipment and drove to the pressing shop where people were supposed to gather and set up everything. I do not know exactly who started the strike, I think Mr. Boháč. Some people came, but there were not many of them at the beginning. We saw them peering hesitantly from the working rooms. But as soon as we started talking and shouting, people started to arrive and suddenly there were crowds of people and it started to work.”

  • “We had posters prepared before the general strike, but we were afraid the militiamen would pull them down. Until three in the morning we discussed some details in the club and on the way home we posted these posters. Each one of us covered different area of the city. I came home, I just changed clothes and washed and went to work at six o´clock. Along the way, I was still distributing the rest of the posters calling for strike to the people I met. The magical thing was that at work at the gatehouse, militiamen stood in civilian clothes and handed out completely different posters that betrayed the strike. There was something like, 'You strike today, you will suffer poverty tomorrow.'

  • “The gathering in Wroclaw was fantastic. You could see Kryl, Tygrid and other personas live. But I was most impressed by the way the Poles treated us. We had nothing prepared, we only had blankets in Trabant (a car), we thought we would sleep somewhere in the park. After the first concert, the organizers came to the stage and said: 'Czech brothers who have no place to sleep, come to the queue, people will take you.' We went to sleep to a house of some married couple who were doing weather forecasts. They took care of us in an incredible way. The approach of the Poles to us at that time was one of the greatest experiences. Even now, I do not like when somebody calls Poles businessmen. I got to know them from a completely different side. I don't know if people in our country would be able to offer help the way they did.”

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Communists fought for Tatra until the last moment. When several thousand employees supported the general strike, it was won in Kopřivnice

Jiří Novák, 1977
Jiří Novák, 1977
zdroj: archiv Jiřího Nováka

Jiří Novák was born on February 28, 1958 in Nový Jičín. He grew up in Kopřivnice. Parents worked in Tatra, the automotive factory. He trained as a communications mechanic and joined the Tatra factory after the war. He worked in the department that took care of a telephone exchange, telex and radio. In the early 1980s, as a volunteer and a member of the Club Council, he built the Kopřivnice M-Club, which became a center of non-conformist culture. He was a member of the Jazz section. In 1989 he signed the petition Several sentences. In November 1989 he took part in organizing anti-regime demonstrations in Kopřivnice and participated in the organization of the general strike in Tatra Kopřivnice. As a co-opted congressman, he represented the Civic Forum in the city. He worked as a technician in a community center and later did his own business. From 2005 to 2006, he served as a deputy mayor of Kopřivnice for the Civic Democratic Party.