MUDr. Jiří Soukup

* 1953  

  • “Around 1992 or 1993, Petr Pithart took quite a strange step. Someone would attempt to bribe him at the ministry and he would report it immediately and he would write about it in newspaper. He stated that this is the way for the politicians to behave, and that the society would learn to be moral and virtuous. There was no big success since then in the public sphere. As our mandate in the parliament ended, I was convinced that it wasn´t possible to stay in politics without severe personal losses, so I decided not to run for a second time. And, maybe thanks to Pithart´s influence, I believed that the best way to help was to do something you knew well and just behave. 'Do not fear, and do not steal,' as Masaryk would put it. That´s still valid, and maybe it is more important today than before.”

  • “I still remember how difficult it was as the Lustration Law had been passed. I didn´t sleep for several days, I was visiting friends and just couldn´t get it out of my head. Back then, I considered it a quite a progressive idea – to sanction all the collaborators and helpers. Since the beginning, since November 17th, they were shredding documents everywhere they could. And I wondered that the list of the lowest ranking informers, which had been contested as not being complete, as the Secret Police men were rewarded for every soul they managed to get... So maybe it wasn´t massive, but it is possible that people could get there without their involvement. I wasn´t completely clear, so to speak. And wasn´t it weird that they were able to shred everything else but these lists which got in our hands? And if it had happened, what was the reason? Didn´t someone try to put the society of balance, to destabilise it, to meet his political goals? And were we doing the right thing while passing such a law? I still have my doubts about it.”

  • “Together with Dr. Šolc from Liberec, in the first place, and with several more people, we were in a commission which had to re-certificate the Military Counterintelligence Service. It was the StB (Secret Police) II. Directorate. And we did our best. We would go from unit to unit, trying to sort out these politruks and decide what should have been done with them. And to our surprise we found out that after all they weren´t all such bastards as it initially seemed to be the case. Back then, every cleaning lady at all the Ministry of Interior´ Directorates had to have a gun. And as we went through the employee files, firstly, it was evident that the Counterintelligence Service wasn´t very active by itself – that everything was directed by the Russian secret services, KGB and so on. And most importantly, it showed up that there were not so many true bastards who were guilty of destroying people´s lives.”

  • “After November 17th we knew they were recording us, filming us and watching over us. From the dormers and from the distance, so we wouldn´t come in contact with that. There was no resistance to what was happening as far as the former regime was concerned. Probably, they would just record us and wait to deal with us later in case it would fail by accident and the thing would not succeed. But it had never came to that. The only act of aggression I have encountered was when a former colleague of mine in Jilemice would come to me and he would say: 'Jirka, you will get me a post in Občanské fórum'. And I said: 'Are you crazy? What do you mean?' And he said that I might just as well fall off the balcony, for example. So it had been solved quite quickly. As on that evening there was a gathering in front of the Sokol Organisation gym, and I would speak up and I would tell them what happened to me. That this man came to me and he would threaten me that he would throw me from the balcony if I wouldn´t get him a post in the Občanské fórum. And that was the end of it and there wouldn´t be anything like that ever after. The masses already had too much power.”

  • “So in the beginning people would go and complain about the regime, about the Národní třída, the leaflets would be posted... but what should be done next? We began to look for some centre, for someone who would tell us what to do next, what to do in such situation, as it was nice that we stopped being afraid of the Bolsheviks and would tell them that straight in the eyes, but how should we proceed after that? So in the beginning, people would go from Jilemnice to Semily. Probably there were more of us from the surrounding villages. So the district centre of the Občanské fórum (civic Forum) had been established. Then it came to the Hradec region and so on. And I remember quite clearly that as one came to Praha, to Špalíček, you would find that there is no one like that, that it all went on spontaneously. That things were happening and no onehad been in charge, that it was just one big, massive, spontaneous improvisation. And as I came back home, I was afraid to tell my friends so they won´t lose momentum and courage. That there was no one to fall back on, that it all depended on us. That no one would help us."

  • “The day after, the Jilemnice hospital staff gathered to discuss what was happening. For me, it was the beginning of the revolution in the Jilemnice region. Maybe I am wrong, maybe it had happened at several places at the time, as the revolution and the resistance had begun. There was our chairman, like the hospital director, sitting in the main hall of the cinema, and next to him there was the chairman of the local Communist party organisation. And she would step up and she began to speak about the terrible things that were happening – the Imperialists, the Reaction and so on. And at one moment, the senior doctor Kupková would stand up. She was a great woman, just wonderful, smart, she was an internist. She was such a lady – so refined, so calm and patient. And she would spring up, stating that this was the end of it. That our children wouldn´t be beaten by the Secret Police, and that nobody should talk nonsense that something like that has to be supressed. And I was watching our chairman, who always had been able to get on excellent terms with the regime. He had made a great career. And I saw his face as it would turn red, and I could see he was thinking, he was just trying to get it straight. And after few seconds, he would stand up a say: 'The senior doctor is right. It is impossible to tolerate that and we should do something about it.' And so, it all begun. There would be protests in the squares, leaflets would be posted which we would bring from Praha and so on.”

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If you won´t get me a post in the Občanské fórum (Civic Forum) you might as well fall off the balcony

Jiří Soukup M.D. was born on September 9th of 1953 in Praha – Podolí, but he had been living in Horní Bukovina near Mnichovo Hradiště since he was six years old with his grandparent Josef and Jarmila Drahoňovský. His parents Jiří and Jarmila Soukup lived in Praha´ district of Vinohrady and worked in the educational system. His father was a physical education teacher and was involved in the theory of skiing; his mother worked as an educator. After the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968, his father left the Communist Party and since the purges at the beginning of the 70s he wasn´t allowed to teach and publish. Jiří had not been affected by the persecution against his father so in 1978 he graduated from the Prague´ Faculty of Medicine, specialising in paediatrics. After that, together with his wife, he started to work at the Jilemnice hospital children´s ward. In November 1989, he joined the revolution. He was one of the founders of Občanské Fórum (Civic Forum) in Jilemnice. In 1990, he was he was elected the Federal Assembly member representing the Občanské Fórum, after its break-up he joined the Občanské Hnutí (Civic Movement). In 1991, he was deputy chief of the OÚNZ Semily. He was the Federal Assembly member till the 1992 elections. Thereafter, he worked as a physician. He started a private child emergency care with his wife, and in 2004, they took over general private emergency care in Harrachov. Now, they both have retired, but still they have been working at three healthcare facilities – in Harrachov, Kořenov and Roytnice nad Jizerou. Jiří also has been a council member of the Konto Bariéry Foundation.