Jana Pfeifferová

* 1931  

  • "The law is basicaly God's commandment. The law is based on Bible, you know. It was an ethical code, which ... I was always bothered with that I knew the Woodcraft code of law - based on these four forces - which is based more on budhism. So I was bothered that we promised that scout is something. I was saying: 'It's not true. Scout is trying to be. But he isn't.' He doesn't have all these feats, which are listed there. How many mistakes he makes. How many times he lies. How often he just does something naughty. I just couldn't... When I was playing a bigger part in the organisation, I was saying: 'Lets take a look at it.' But no. It is once stated and so it will stay this way. Scout just is. But he is not perfect. He is as imperect as all the other people in the world."

  • "It was really hard decision and 'till now I don't know if we decided for the best. Even all of those kids and their parents say that there was no other way. My husband got a year scholarship to France when it was still possible. So I was left there alone with our group. And there was a dilemma about what to do because scouting was officialy banned and they said that the only option was to enter the Pioneer organisation. I was saying: 'God, now what?' I managed to get together the parents and because we were all good friends, we talked and they were telling me: 'You can't do that to children. It gives them so much and we want it to continue. Now they will be afflicted for being scouts.' And so finaly me and my husband decidet to enter the Pioneer in Prague 2."

  • "Just as the end of war was declared, young men with 'RG' on their sleeves appeared. Those were so called Revolutionary guards. I don't know from where they came. From the way they acted we assumed that no harm was made to them during the war. Those were these bawlers that even now walk around the world and make violence and they have free space to do it. Then, they went around those German families. There was probably an order to move out all of the German families. There were three or four of these families in our house, so they envicted them and put them into the movie teathre Oko. German men had disappeared - probably'd gotten some order to do it. The women with children were left here. These Revoluční gardy cut all the women's hair off and set them right under our window. We lived on the first floor so we could see right on their heads. And they cried and were thirsty, so they begged for water. And the guards took wattering cans and pour the water right on their heads. This was the attitude towards enemy. I know it was the enemy, but I was also fourteen and I was saying to myself: 'What is this again?'"

  • “Well at the beginning we were afraid of course, so we just called and didn’t meet in flats as we used to do, we had an agreement that anyone with a larger flat to enough people to meet up, we continued making the prints, which Pavel was copying, the weekly and monthly programs. So that´s what we kept doing. We read the poets and had passwords related to the meetings, and... what we shall prepare for the next time, what we should read. But when Pavel got locked up, I think for about half a year we simply didn’t meet at all. Because I gave birth in March, and was pretty busy back then.., and so we tried to orient yourselves also... mm, we said to ourselves: Well we have to do it somewhere, not still live just for ourselves. So we used to attend Kozák´s lectures, he taught at the philosophical faculty so we were talking about such stuff, where something exists, where we could listen to each other, to other thoughts. So we as non-students could come too, so we used to switch and I even left my child alone at home... My need to go and listen to some thoughts, to something that will last, was so strong. So we tried to get as much as possible, we gleaned, so that we didn’t meet and cause no hassle... we simply wanted to be somewhere like... where they could catch us simply, so we only messaged amongst each other, what is where, about concerts or about readings and so on. We simply stopped meeting up for some time totally.”

  • “It was amazing, of course, although I had quite a dramatic experience, as my six years older brother disappeared somewhere at the barricades and so on. And my sister and I got, as we lived nearby the cinema “Oko” in the new houses, where we moved… We connected two flats for our mother, so that she could have her office there too. And all men somehow disappeared, as they were from German families, originally Jewish, which we accompanied to the fair gathering place, there was a number of Germans, some of them quite decent, but there was a family living below s with a young boy, who was at the Hitlerjugend. So we saw that he has guns and that… and he stayed there during revolution. And the whole house was moved to the cellar so we lived down there for three days, even over nights, all together, all right, but here was there too... But then he disappeared of course, new ones came, the tanks were just a little bit up the road in Troja and some men were organising it. We knew nothing about our brother, we had an old granny there too, and who we took care of. And now some of those... organisers came, we were building barricades, of course, out of old wardrobes and cobble stones, of both sides of Heřmanova street. Well and then the gentlemen came and said: ‚Well you are the only almost grown-ups‘, aren´t you, I was fifteen and my sister two years older. ‚So you will be guarding the house.´And we got a couple of revolvers for example. So that´s how it was organised (laughing), the revolution. That´s how it was, these experience I got, I remember that all of the sudden I was responsible for the house, I had a gun, which I could not use and sat behind the closed doors waiting, what is going to happen and whether we will have to act upon it.”

  • “Well at the beginning we were afraid of course, so we just called and didn’t meet in flats as we used to do, we had an agreement that anyone with a larger flat to enough people to meet up, we continued making the prints, which Pavel was copying, the weekly and monthly programs. So that´s what we kept doing. We read the poets and had passwords related to the meetings, and... what we shall prepare for the next time, what we should read. But when Pavel got locked up, I think for about half a year we simply didn’t meet at all. Because I gave birth in March, and was pretty busy back then.., and so we tried to orient yourselves also... mm, we said to ourselves: Well we have to do it somewhere, not still live just for ourselves. So we used to attend Kozák´s lectures, he taught at the philosophical faculty so we were talking about such stuff, where something exists, where we could listen to each other, to other thoughts. So we as non-students could come too, so we used to switch and I even left my child alone at home... My need to go and listen to some thoughts, to something that will last, was so strong. So we tried to get as much as possible, we gleaned, so that we didn’t meet and cause no hassle... we simply wanted to be somewhere like... where they could catch us simply, so we only messaged amongst each other, what is where, about concerts or about readings and so on. We simply stopped meeting up for some time totally.” “But they always came with the same argument: ‚You know, what shame it will be? When you have a baby after nine months there?‘ ‚Well, in the club?‘ ‚Well, amongst those people the course ones.‘ And they were strongly against us. So I reckon we didn’t played the role or we didn’t have any, it was quite spontaneous, as Miloš Zapletal caused it (laughing), Miloš Zapletal is a kind of a nudger, you know, he always comes: How comes you are not doing this? Why didn’t you write... But when I invite him, he never comes as he has simply... he´s a free spirit. He did a lot of work, that´s wonderful, I respect him a lot but myself I could not cooperate with him. He is a completely different type. Well back then he came, but that was only in 1990... But he led the group well and ours was on good terms with theirs, also Nevrlý did that, if you know anything about him, he wrote lovely stuff about Jizerské mountains, he is a wonderful man, and you should also interview him. He is not much of a scout, but a very innermost person, but also very ill not and not willing to travel anywhere anymore... But you could visit him and you would see Miloš, he is quite... He will be hesitant, and not willing to talk, saying he is not famous, I will not tell you anything and so on... Well back then he came and we lived together intensely at the time all of us in the course and we used to go to our cottage in Smržov, and he came and said: ‚Here you have quite a large estate, waiting for something, should you not run a course here?‘ I replied? ‚Come on, I don’t think of a course, I don’t need any of that, I got children here and grandchildren too.‘ ‚Well you just got to do something‘, and he wanted to promote there will be a course in Smržov no. 3. I said: ‚ Ok that is no problem to give them a bed to sleep in and feed them, I see no problem there, but I don’t know what role I should play, as I got no ambitions to tell anyone anything or just preach. I live as a private person... Well and he announced the date he set up everything and we all waited put on our scouts shirts: ‚I am curious, who comes here.‘ And they were given instructions to come on bike, so they gathered gradually, and each wore a different colour of a shirt and different kinds of pants and I was terribly scared, thinking: Jesusmaria, there will be fifteen or twenty people here... and how shall they survive in such conditions, with only one bathroom, a single toilet, a family here too, all together. So I reckoned, I managed a lot already, a large camp also, so we´ll just figure it out. And then they began to look like quite a sympathetic folks, so we sat down and began normally talking. They were expecting a drill or something, so of course there was none of that. (Which year was it?) The first year of those Fons, the first grade just after the revolution, so it was not just the first year but the second following the revolution, in summer, in 1990… maybe even 1991. I really cant say for sure and have to look it up. We didn’t expect anything of it any said: Let’s try it, when Miloš has an idea, so let’s do it. He also he invited someone, as it was a large organization, which lasted all through the regime, the man from Lipnice! (Holiday school in Lipnice.) From Lipnice he invited people, who would work, as we could not make a program of interesting games, and we have never done that, so he said, I will also invite two couples from Lipnice... Now I had to get the bed to sleep on and resolve everything. So finally it was really a wonderful week, I got to say. Mostly they were boys, but also girls, they accept the conditions, and when it was about to end, they asked a question, we made a fire, where the local scouts had a club room, we made a fire to say goodbye and we were glad we spent the week together and they came with an idea: Well and how about a continuation? Yeah, just as simple as that. Next time we will definitely meet up again, in a year, right... This just can´t end, it was wonderful, that it could not finish. So we got a task to think, what will be next.”

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Janka
Janka
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Jana Pfeifferová (Janka) was born on 2 March, 1931 in Prague. She spent the end of war intensely worrying about her older brother, who later emigrated. She was an enthusiastic scout, visiting the Prague Thirteen. During political processes in 1950s and effort for emigration she lost many close ones. She actively participated in the second scout renewal during the Prague Spring and also in the third after 1989.