Ing. Zbyněk Šorm

* 1953

  • “At that time, I personally had nothing to deal with, and as soon as I heard about it, I said we had to sign it. I went to my acquaintances in Prague to sign it. And to encourage others, the names were immediately reported to Free Radio Europe or the Voice of America. Within two days I was summoned to my boss and he told me that he had received a note that I had been read as a signatory to the ‘Několik vět’ petition and that I should be aware that even though I was in a settled marriage and everything, I would bear the consequences. It wasn’t a pleasant time because we didn’t know what they were going to do. However, since I had good interpersonal relations with the people in the JZD [Unified agricultural cooperative – trans.], including the communists, I quickly found out about how this issue was discussed at the KSČ [Czechoslovak Communist Party – trans.] committee of the entire JZD. Some suggested that I should be fired immediately. But then a staunch communist came forward and declared that they couldn’t fire such a young person who takes such good care of his family. So they let it be for the time being. Then it vanished into the events of November 1989, and it ended well.”

  • “Based on my respect for my father, who also acted properly, I thought it was right not to enter the Czechoslovak Soviet Youth Union (SSM). Thanks to this, my first problems emerged because I originally wanted to do systematic zoology alone. So I went to apply to Charles University, and they didn’t ask for a report card, but their first question was if I was in SSM. When I said that I wasn’t a member of SSM, they told me that I could apply, but I shouldn’t in no way count on getting there. That’s what they told me at the Student Affairs Office. I submitted my second application to the University of Agriculture. They also rejected me because I didn’t place well, so my dad and I wrote an appeal. I still remember that: if at the end of the appeal, we should write: ‘Honor work’, or greetings: ‘Be there peace!’ They accepted the appeal. We mentioned my dad’s work on the farm during World War II with my uncle and that I have various relations to it and the kind of talk that is needed. Well, thanks to that, I graduated from the University of Agriculture.”

  • “Then probably in 1972, at the last ringing of our previous classmates, older by about two years, I hope I roughly remember it. They were so excited and they were wearing different costumes as they walked through the school. They were led by a boy who carried something like a street sign on a stick saying ‘Stalin’s class’. And they walked around the school with it, and because they liked it very much and encouraged each other, they went out with this procession to Modřany and walked along the main street and back again. They were immediately in trouble. At first, allegedly, the citizens complained, and then they wanted to fail all of them; they didn’t want to give anyone their high school diploma. Well, then, somehow, it was hushed up or resolved, and they eventually graduated. But I know it was a big problem back then.”

  • "My dad, his father was coincidentally also a teacher and later a school principal. And he wanted to follow his father to become a professor of Czech and history. Unfortunately, in 1949, he was expelled from university in the last year as part of the purges. Before he could finish his studies. It was mainly because he never received any paper statement, why it was, but mainly because he was involved in the Czech National Socialist Party. And for that reason - we could now see some archival material with my brothers, which said that it was not appropriate for the applicant to finish his studies and teach the children."

  • "Then after high school I wanted to go to college. At first I thought, thanks to my grandfather's upbringing, that I could go to do systematic zoology at Charles University. But there, when I applied, they said, 'You're not in the social youth association, don't even try putting it here, because we won't take you.' I know that my dad and I argued at the time about how we would call for an appeal, whether we stated 'Honor to Work' there at the end, or 'Peace to the World.' I said, 'Honor work, I don't want that there.' I don't know what we put there in the end, but luckily the appeal was successful, because for me it was also that one didn't want to serve in the military for two years."

  • "Listening to foreign radio was important, at least for us. First, the Voice of America, which aired every day at nine o'clock in the evening. Then the Free Europe. But Free Europe was terribly disrupted; there was such a bubbling, and when it went through the broadcast, you didn't hear anything at all. But there was one way to get around it. It was the legendary, at least among our friends, the Soviet receiver Vef 206, as it was named. It was such a big transistor for flashlights. And it had six shortwave ranges, using which Free Europe broadcasted. We always managed to find a range, which was less disturbed. So you could also listen to Free Europe broadcasts there, which was very important for us."

  • "I think that the roots of every person are important; that is, what a person has experienced, who raised him, who and what knowledge and skills were passed on to him. For me, it was both my grandfather and my dad. Their lives are also important there, because Grandpa went through the First World War as a Russian legionnaire. This means that he completed the entire journey via the Siberian route from Ukraine to Vladivostok on the other side of Russia at that time. And he also knew Russia at the time of the Bolshevik coup, where it was happening, at least as he told us when we were old enough, so he told us this. It means that the Red Army actually terrorized not only the legionnaires, but also its own people, because they looted and all that. He even said that in some cities they begged them to stay longer to protect them."

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I did not consider membership in the Soviet Youth Union or the party to be a formality

Zbyněk Šorm in 1974
Zbyněk Šorm in 1974
zdroj: Archiv Zbyňka Šorma

Zbyněk Šorm was born on 8 June 8, 1953, in Prague, and his upbringing was mainly influenced by his grandfather František Hloušek, who was a legionnaire, and his social-democratic father, Zdar Šorm. In 1968, he and his brothers became members of Junák. The witness was also an active member of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. During 1968–1972, he studied at the grammar school in Modřany in Prague, and after graduating, he wanted to study systematic zoology at Charles University. However, he was not a member of the Socialist Youth Union, so they did not accept his application. On appeal, he finally got accepted into the University of Agriculture and graduated as a zootechnician in 1977. He then completed two years of basic military service and joined the JZD [Unified agricultural cooperative – trans.] Rozvoj Posázaví in Jílové u Prahy. They offered him to join the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia three times, but he always refused. In 1989, he signed the “Několik vět” petition and was threatened with dismissal from the JZD. During the Velvet Revolution, he was at the birth of the local Civic Forum in Jílové u Prahy, and after the first free elections in 1990, he became mayor. He held this office for eight years. In 2022, he lived in Jílové near Prague and enjoyed a well-deserved rest.