Viktor Parkán

* 1946

  • “I, like most of those who signed the Charter, received a manual written by Petr Uhl - How To Behave At An Interrogation. The greatest imperative in it was: Don’t talk with them at all, in any way. You’ll find out that that’s the best approach, but you have to learn that, it’s not easy. Because you’re convinced, quite rightly, that you haven’t done anything wrong, so you like discussing the matter, and you’d like to assert your opinion. You have your opinion - let me have mine. At least, right. That’s how you do it to begin with, that you just can’t resist, and you talk with them. And they ask: ‘You know the Plastic People [an alternative music band - trans.]?’ Well of course, they’re friends, what’s wrong with that. But in the end, after a number of interrogations, they found out that I wasn’t really in touch with them in any way. And that made them really angry. They threatened me, I must say they never hit me, I was quite surprised. They threatened: ‘Well, you’ll be staying here, we’ve got plenty of time.’ And pink forms... they always let me go in the end. And that was the best, when you went home knowing you hadn’t told them the slightest thing.”

  • “What kind of got me started was when I came upon Václav Havel’s open letter to [Party General Secretary] Husák. I think it was all connected, what you could read, when you got access to some samizdat and you could make your own opinion. I didn’t want to give that up afterwards, I didn’t see why I should. And that was confirmed later on, even though lots of people told me: ‘You’re mad, it’s dangerous.’ That freedom, the inner freedom it gives you, is irreplaceable. And then it’s also connected with the fact that you’re acquainted with superb people, who are willing to help you, who’re friendly and with the same type of blood. Of course, if you’re not a complete loony, you’re frightened when they’re taking you for interrogation. You don’t know if you’ll be back in two hours, two days, or if it won’t be for another five years.”

  • “We had one really big desk there, we still have it here in Lukov, and it had a drawer, and the drawer contained various things, but also some documents and the such. And I don’t remember the reason any more, but they were already inside and I either went to get something from the drawer, or I was putting something there, and when I was closing it, I realised: ‘Wow.’ Because it wasn’t visible at all, so of course any thorough policeman would have to have checked if there was a drawer or something there. They didn’t open it the whole time long. It contained some information on the Charter and goodness knows what, but they didn’t open it. And yet I opened it right in front of them, I showed them there was a drawer there. And they forgot about or what.”

  • “When we started moving there, suddenly, a car appeared there and two civilians got out. I happened to be on the first floor, where I was putting some things away. And suddenly I see them stuffing my wife into the car and leaving. I was completely in shock. So I reckoned that it was State Security of course. No one had introduced themselves, no one had told anyone anything. I sat into my car and drove to Litoměřice, but I didn’t know where to go, where first; a really stupid idea of mine was to go to the remand prison. I found out where the remand was, still is. Well, and there they told... simply, they explained that they have to have an order for that and so on. So then I reckoned they’d taken her for interrogation, so I tried to find out where the police station was, where State Security might be. I finally found that out, and just when I came to the house and headed up the steps, Petra came out with one of the State Security agents.”

  • “Vašek Havel had a computer at home, which he wrote on, and he wanted it moved to Hrádeček, so we agreed [to take it] as we were driving through Prague. And the computer, that was no notebook in those days, right, something to tuck under your arm, no, it was a giant of a monitor and then the computer itself. So we were to pick it up on the waterfront and take it there. But of course the police were tapped in so they knew this, so we picked up the computer in Prague and set off to Hrádeček. Well, and I don’t know, some twenty kilometres before Hrádeček the police stopped us and took us to their station in Trutnov. ‘And what are we transporting?’ I told them it was none of their business, what we’re transporting. They knew what was there, and they wanted us to simply give them the computer. They actually arrested us sometime in the afternoon around four or five o’clock, because we had wanted to get to the party on time. Nonetheless, we were stuck in the police station until about half past one, but they didn’t get it from us.”

  • “It was simpler in a way. The enemy was here, and he was obvious. Nowadays there are lots of enemy temptations. Young people have it hard. There’s such an awful amount of consumerism everywhere that perhaps they don’t even realise they’re being tempted, or that it’s bad.”

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When you object to the regime, you gain a tremendous amount of inner freedom

Viktor Parkán_004.tif.jpg (historic)
Viktor Parkán
zdroj: Současná: Eye Direct natáčení

Viktor Parkán was born in 1946 in Prague. In the 1950s he began working at the Vinohrady Theatre. He remained there for twelve years, but the hypocritical behaviour of some of his colleagues following the occupation in August 1968 caused him to quit his job. With the normalisation encroaching, he happened upon a copy of the letter that Václav Havel sent to President Gustav Husák in April 1975. Viktor Parkán was greatly affected by the text, and when he heard of Charter 77 a few years later, he signed it without hesitation. In 1977 he moved with his family to a cottage in Řepčice near Litoměřice. The cottage became a popular location for dissident meetings. State Security raids were daily business. In 1981 the Parkáns were handed an eviction order. They tried to defend themselves at court, but to no avail. They were forced to leave and the house was demolished.