Jiří Pešek

* 1930

  • "Especially protect yourself, you young people, from succumbing to the lure of the Communist Party and its ideology. Because it starts well, but it ends very badly, very badly. And most importantly, appreciate what you have here now. Appreciate democracy, which is still in its infancy in our country, one might say, it must be cultivated. I think it's really up to you, your morals. So that you don't see only profit, money behind everything, but to think about other things, what life actually looks like, and not succumb to the temptations of such elements that are not really good and beneficial."

  • "For me, it actually culminated in the recruitment for the military service. I was very surprised at the recruitment process when I saw... when I was the head of the community of locksmiths and toolmakers, when he and dad really knew each other very well and were visiting each other, and of course they worked together. And he was in the rank, suddenly, of major and he was at the recruitment. His name was Beránek, I can name, I hope... And he was saying that I didn't get involved, that I'm not in the Union. I said, I'm a football player, it's just... No way, the Youth Union, nothing, the whole family is against the regime, and so on. And finally, he told me: 'They will teach you to work.' I said, I can, I don't need to be taught. And he said to me: 'And the sister you helped cross the border, we won't forgive you.' Just imagine, a certain Dagmar Pešková was supposed to live in Česká Street, I didn't know her, and they literally sewed her up as my sister. I defended myself, it was of no use, not at all. She was my sister, I helped her across the border. And I went to Stříbro. First, somewhere in Děčín for three Sundays, some kind of unarmed training. There we were declassified by some high-ranking official from the ministry, that we were outcasts of human society, that they would sort us out and so on. Stříbro, I was actually there the whole military service. I mostly worked on the piles, because they remembered that there must be some sewage system from the dairies going through the mined piles. And there was a shooting, a blast. Because Stříbro is on rock, uranium and other metals were mined there. So, we worked on it. For example, I drilled five holes for that hole, the gunner came, loaded it and maybe, I don't know, four of the five came out, the fifth didn't and we had to do it with jackhammers. It was a struggle; it was for life.'

  • "Then we stood with the Petrák family in front of the walk-through house from Krajinská street to Česká street, and the Germans were returning from the front towards Mariánské náměstí, trying to run away from the Soviet army so that they could be caught by the American army. Of course, we stood there, understandably, sometimes one of us threatened somebody. Both my parents were there, me and the Petrák family, who lived in the walk-through house. He had a wholesale seed business. Then a shot was fired from one of the cars and it killed Mrs. Petráková. It happened right next to me. And it also shot through Mr. Petrák's shoulder, then he suffered from it for a long time. Unfortunately, Mrs. Petráková died on the spot. That was such a sad dot after the happy event that we are actually freed.''

  • Celé nahrávky
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    České Budějovice, 16.08.2020

    délka: 01:49:02
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Democracy is the only way

Jiří Pešek in the uniform of the Auxiliary Engineering Corps (1954)
Jiří Pešek in the uniform of the Auxiliary Engineering Corps (1954)
zdroj: archive of the witness

Jiří Pešek was born on August 3, 1930 in České Budějovice. He learned to be an assistant to a shop owner and he joined the municipal services in 1947. His father Josef Pešek founded a small company for the production of medical instruments at the end of the war. He had to close it after the communist coup. The witness was actively involved in football, already at the age of fifteen he was a goalkeeper of the AC Stadion České Budějovice senior team. He received the recommendation of the coaches and believed that he would continue to play football during his military service. The son of a tradesman who condemned the conditions established by the Bolsheviks was considered politically unreliable during the military recruitment and was assigned to the Auxiliary Engineering Corps in West Bohemian Stříbro. The witness spent twenty-eight months there working hard in difficult conditions. After returning from the military service, Jiří joined the Igla factory in České Budějovice as a machine adjuster, where he spent six years before moving to the ZNAK production cooperative as a dispatcher. In 1968, he completed his high school diploma remotely at the business school. After the reorganization of the cooperatives, he worked as the head of service operations in the company Jihokov. In 1988, he took early retirement due to health reasons. After the Velvet Revolution, he was involved in the Union of the Auxiliary Engineering Corps. In 2020, Jiří Pešek lived in České Budějovice.