Vladimír Ptaszek

* 1953

  • „Then there was the matter of the 1981 elections. At that time, I and Alča still lived in Poruba. Some Public Security [i. e. police] helper came and brought some papers for the elections. I told him that we wwere not going. My wife stood behind me and he asked her: ‘You don’t go either?’ She replied: ‘Excuse me, sir?’ He claimed that we have to go to the elections. I told him that in the Constitution, there is an article on the right to vote, that the right to vote does exist but there’s no duty to vote. And that we intend to use our right to vote by not voting. This was the only way how to waste the ballot. That was what we all knew. The régime wanted a public refusal to vote. If someone came and crumpled and tossed the ballot, that would not be enough, it would still count as a valid vote. We thus did not vote in 1981 nor in 1986, at which time we already lived in Petřvald. We refused to accept the ballots from the guy who distributed them, it was a way of protesting against the Communist régime.“

  • „Six weeks before the end of my service, a letter came to the barracks. The State Security wanted to make the army aware that I am not a trustworthy person because there are Charter 77 signatories staying in my flat. It was [a guy nicknamed] Londýn [=London] and his wife who were staying in my place. We had agreed on it, someone had to pay rent and the bills even though I was in the army. The flat would otherwise be left alone and empty. So, they assigned a guy to follow me around. It was a fellow serviceman so from time to time, we had a cig and chatted a bit. He said: ‘Sorry, pal, I have to guard you so that you wouldn’t do anything naughty, the counter-espionage ordered me.’ Then I left service and I found out that something was happening with me for the last year and I couldn’t really grasp it. My values changed. Everything was upside down. The important matters were cast aside, seemingly meaningless matters rose to the surface. For example, money stopped being an important goal. I discovered that freedom is more than money and that some other freedom is even more.”

  • „At about halfway through my army service, the commander of the counter-intelligence, major Fiala, summoned me. Nowadays I only have fond memories of him but then, he requested me to cooperate, he wanted me to snitch on the soldiers. I told him that maybe it would not be a bad idea if he talked to the soldiers himself, that they would tell him what they thought. He told me: “You, Ptaszek, are as sly as a fox, aren’t you.” And I wore glasses, gold rimmed glasses, which he hated. I had a friend who wore a beard, that’s what he hated as well. And that friend had told me some sort of politicla joke. I did not remember what it was but I had laughed. And he [the officer] confronted me about it. Someone had snitched on me. I told him I had no idea about that. It was true. Then he dictated the joke to me and I repeated it after him. He put it in the witness statement and then told me: “Now you sign it.” So I signed it and asked whether oens hould tell the truth. He said that yes. And I told him: ‘In case this ended up at the court, I would have to say that you dictated it to me, that I only repeated after you because I had not remembered it all.’ And he told me again: ‘Ptaszek, you sly fox.’”

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    Ostrava, 07.01.2022

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The counter-intelligence officer who tried to make me cooperate brought me to resistance

Vladimír Ptaszek in the early 1980's
Vladimír Ptaszek in the early 1980's
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Vladimír Ptaszek was born on the 24th of June in 1953 in Ostrava. He spent his childhood in the neighbourhood of Poruba. He grew up only with his single mother who worked at the Zárubek mine. He apprenticed as a photographer and then he worked for the Ostrava municipal maintenance and service company. During his compulsory army service, he was pressed by the counter-intelligence to snitch on the other soldiers. His acquaintances were the Charter 77 signatories, Zdeněk Vokatý and Dáša Vokatá, and due to this connection, the State Security started checking him. He would unload wagons of furniture or work as a boilerman. Since his youth, he would do wood carving and at the end of the 1980’s, he started earning his living as a wood carver. He signed the Augustin Navrátil’s petition for religious freedom. He participated in decoration and furnishing of tens of churches. In 2022, he lived and worked in Petřvald in the Karviná region.