PhDr. Eva Ryšavá

* 1937

  • "Unfortunately, I spent my whole active life during the communist era, which meant for me that I was a so-called second-class citizen and my whole life was influenced by the word cadre. It was such a word, fortunately it doesn't say much to today's young generation anymore, but it was very important for us, because we had a cadre profile, we had cadre reviews, our existence was decided by a cadre officer. And just the word cadre went with us badly all our lives. And unfortunately, it lost its power at a time when it didn't mean much to us anymore.”

  • "Totalitarianism has been a great disaster. It affected not only my life, but our entire family. And I would say totalitarianism was killing people. It really killed our father. He would have lived to a much older age, because our grandfather died in his 95 years. Our dad didn't even live until seventy. It was a murderous time, really. And I regret when it's being forgotten. Now only the material aspects of what cost what then and how cheap it was are being remembered, but at the same time, is being forgotten how terribly difficult some goods were to be found and how our mothers stood in line for meat and oranges. Life was very difficult, but not only materially, but mainly spiritually. And also, that constant fear. Because we still lived in fear and we never got rid of that fear. You never knew what they could create against you. At the time of the Charter [77] and the protests, it was a witch hunt. It was a really awful time. I wouldn't wish to anyone that this time would come back again. And there is a great danger that the young generation in particular could succumb to what is being said today. The communists expect people to forget very quickly.”

  • ["And from elementary school, do you remember any interesting moments when the communist regime came about, did anything change?"] "Sure, it has changed. We had classes of civic behaviour, where the school’s director, comrade Němec – big fish at the Party, gave us classes. And I remember when the big trials like the one with Slánský started, comrade Němec came and we had to take out civic textbooks and rip out from the textbooks the pages where Slánský's name was and those convicted as the biggest traitors, all these had to leave the textbooks. And on that occasion, the comrade director also told us about them, what kind of villains they are. And then when Stalin died and Gottwald died, it was a very pleasant time for me. I've loved classical music since I was a kid. And the radio, which still played communist songs and Russian songs, was suddenly playing just beautiful classical music. The mourning marches were played. Chopin and Beethoven, mourning marches, beautiful mourning music. It was a really beautiful time. Stalin died, then Gottwald died after him, so there was nothing else on the radio for a month like that, and I enjoyed it.”

  • "Our father was arrested like many others of the intelligence. More or less, all the reasons that have been given have been forced from him, we do not even want to search how that happened. Of course, one of the accusations, was the anti-state activity. He was employed by the Ministry of Posts, so he was accused of stealing state secrets and similar things, which was a complete absurdity, but it was part of a deliberate liquidation of Czech intelligence, which did not subscribe to communism and which was potentially dangerous to the regime, so they were destroyed following the Soviet model. My father was accused, along with others, as the leader of an anti-state group from which he did not know any of them, but this did not matter at all.”

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    Praha, 09.02.2016

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The word cadre has influenced my whole life

Eva Ryšavá was born in 1937 in Olomouc, at the age of two her family had to move to Prague. The war was beginning and Eva‘s father was a lawyer and also the mayor of the Olomouc Sokol, and it was precisely the Sokol members that the Germans began to focus on. However, it was not the war that caused the most pain to the family. In 1952, four years after the communists came to power, Eva‘s father was arrested and imprisoned for 12 years for fabricated charges. He served 8 of them in the Kladno mines, in Mírov and finally in Leopoldov, before he was released during an amnesty in 1960 and died after another four years in 1964 due to a bad health condition caused by the imprisonment. During his imprisonment, Eva‘s family experienced a great financial distress, which Eva and her sister tried to solve with jobs, from which they were being continuously fired due to personnel assessments. In the same way, Eva was expelled from her studies at the university, and she did not get her second university opportunity until 10 years later, when she studied librarianship by distance learning. In 1968, she joined the library of the National Museum, where she remained until her retirement in 2000. There, she experienced key moments in the history of the late mid-20th century.