Ludmila Seefried-Matějková

* 1938

  • “Then the undercover [State Security] started to take interest in me, and it was such an inconvenience because of course I had to go there when they called me. They said I was attractive, that I should work at the golf course, that it would pay well, that I would be able to go to Cuba, and so on. And that I should approach foreign visitors when they arrive. Mainly West Germans and so on. I told them I'm not a whore - that's how I said it straight out. What do they think of me, I won't do anything like that. I won't approach strangers and I won't do anything like that, that I’m not like that by nature. I refused it. And he still made offers to me, how wonderful it would be. But I refused. When he locked the door behind me, he had to open it for me again, and I left.”

  • “The head of Pioneer came to me. Unfortunately, I was the mayor of the class until that time. The girls elected me. It was a girls' school. The girls liked me, we had a good relationship, they knew I could speak for the class. So the head of Pioneer came to me - I did not join the Pioneer, that was absolutely unimaginable for us, it would have been a betrayal of my father and mother, so we [my sister and I] were not part of Pioneer. But I was still the mayor. She said, 'You have to sign this and that's it.' I read it and found out that it was about the execution of Mrs. [Milada] Horáková. I didn't understand exactly the political situation, they were defaming her, saying she was a terrorist and so on. But I knew there was a connection to Jan Masaryk. It was talked about at home. I said, 'But I can't sign this, I won't take the death of a person upon myself.' But the head of the Pioneer said, 'But you have to sign it.' She stood still and waited. ,Look, everyone has signed it. You have to sign it.' I signed it under her pressure and went home with such heaviness on my heart. I told my mom. She knew what it was about. At first she didn't react like a mother, she said, 'You’re crazy!' And I broke down internally. I said, 'I will take my own life.' Mom - at that moment she got scared, she was overcome with terror, she took me in her arms and we all cried, including my sister who was standing by. I felt like I had to kill myself. It haunted me, I blamed myself for almost my whole life. I was worried about my dad and everything so at last I signed it. I felt like I was responsible for a death of a person. I had terrible dreams, it lasted for years, I would scream in my sleep. That was the worst thing in my life. That was the most terrible experience of my life.”

  • "Then there was a meeting about what to do with the boss. I eavesdropped on that meeting because our living room served as the office for the meeting. The workers who used to celebrate his birthday with him [with her father] and carried him on their shoulders suddenly all fell silent when the politruk came and said that he was a capitalist, that he had to go, that they had to get rid of him. Now they will have everything, they will take part in it, and they will be fine. One spoke up and said, 'But he was good to us.' Then another spoke up, defended him and said, 'We always had money on time, we couldn't complain, we always made an agreement. So what do you have against him?' He was probably the only one who made a great effort. All of the others were silent. Something in me just snapped. Suddenly, I had no trust in people. I said to myself, 'How you behaved before, and now you behave like this.'"

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When they forced me to sign a petition for the death penalty for Milada Horáková, I wanted to take my own life

Ludmila Seefried-Matějková in 1960s
Ludmila Seefried-Matějková in 1960s
zdroj: witness archive

Sculptor Ludmila Seefried-Matějková was born on November 13, 1938 in Heřmanův Městec. Her father, František Matějka, operated a sawmill here. After 1948, the sawmill was nationalized and the family was persecuted. Eventually, in 1952, they moved to Mariánské Lázně. Ludmila graduated from the Secondary School of Fine Arts in Prague and tried several times to be admitted to AVU, UMPRUM and VŠVU in Bratislava - but her application was consistently rejected for political reasons. She worked with stonemasons in Prague’s Zlíchov and for a porcelain factory in Duchcov. She later taught art in Mariánské Lázně and Cheb. She participated in the activities of the amateur theatre called Kruh in Mariánské Lázně. She got married and had a daughter, Markéta. She refused to cooperate with State Security, which forced her, as an attractive woman, to establish contacts with spa guests from the West. In 1964, she was admitted to the Union of Artists and could apply to study abroad. In 1967, she was accepted to study in the studio of Joe Henry Lonas in West Berlin, where she met her second husband, Rainer Maria Seefried. After the Warsaw Pact invasion on August 21, 1968, she left for West Berlin permanently. Her parents raised her daughter Markéta in Mariánské Lázně. She completed her studies in Berlin and began a successful sculpting career; she is the author of three significant Berlin sculptures: Justice (1984), Admiral (1985) and Dance on the Volcano (1988). Since she emigrated from Czechoslovakia legally, she used to receive permission to visit her parents, but sometimes she was also denied. This happened, for example, in 1983, when her father suddenly died and her mother fell ill with cancer. After 1989, she started exhibiting again in Bohemia and in 2015, after her husband‘s death, she permanently moved back to Drmoul near Mariánské Lázně. In 2022, she is still artistically active.