“The problem was that it was an incredible degree of bullying in that I wasn’t allowed to lecture or head seminars, but I could teach foreigners, to begin with. Even at summer school. Because it was during the holidays and the others found it suitable that they could have the time off - working over the holidays was actually punishment. That’s how the heads of the department saw it. And various assessments were written, I was ill at the time, it was complicated. I was fired, but I was given notice when I was ill, so it was invalid; then I was fired a second time, and I took that to court, I had an excellent lawyer, so the faculty had to rescind it, even though they appealed all the way to the municipal court - [the court] decided that the dismissal was invalid.”
“Going back to the Seventies we met in the so-called Sclerocircle [Sklerokruh in Czech, trans.]. It was this loose seminar headed mainly by Miroslav Červenka and organised by Jaroslav Kolár, who also published the list of topics we dealt with there. It was a seminar that took place once a month, in flats, various flats. It was always decided who would host the next session, it was an interdisciplinary thing.”
“The normalisation process started quite late at the faculty. The situation there was quite tense after all, and it defied being normalised. So what they did was they dissolved the Party organisation, and it was said they’d establish a new one, and whoever wanted to could sign up. Of course, the situation was pretty serious, and we in the philology departments felt that about half of the people refused to apply again. We made fun of it a bit, that it’ll be super democratic now, when it’s solved in this way, but the organisation was established in the end and the comrades took matters into their own hands. And they began distinguishing between those who could stay at the faculty and build their career, who could stay but wouldn’t have a career, that is, they wouldn’t be able to defend their candidate works or complete their habilitation; and then there were the rest, who had to leave.”
I don’t like that words have less weight now than in the past
Květuše Sgallová was born on 10 August 1929 into the family of a lawyer and a teacher of handiwork in Kolín. In 1952 he completed studies of Czech literature and literary science at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. She then worked as an assistant lecturer at the faculty, specialising on versology, the science of verse analysis. During the normalisation experts were fired from the faculty and replaced with people who were members and functionaries of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia; the witness was one of those hit by the purge. First, she was banned from lecturing and working with students, then she was given notice three times, but each time she defended her job through legal means. However, she was forced to leave the faculty in the end anyway. She worked as a librarian at the University of Chemistry and Technology from 1975. She was in touch with people who voiced their opposition to the Communist regime. She participated in secret seminars for young people who were barred from studying at university for political reasons. She lectured at secret workshops and evening courses of Czech studies, which were co-organised by Václav Havel.