Miroslav Tomek

* 1946

  • "At the time I went to see Bohumil Hrabal, whom I had been visiting for years, and we learned there that Landovský [actor, trans.] had been arrested in Prague with Charter [77]. So we read it there. When I was leaving in the evening, I went to wait for the bus and suddenly there was one car in front of me, one next to me, one behind me. And it started: 'You're under arrest, hands on the car, body search.' I didn't know it was because of the Charter, but they acted immediately. They were looking to see if I had its text, because they knew where I was going from from. I didn't have the text, I had left it there [at Hrabal] because I thought, 'Next time I'm here I'll take it.' Which saved me. I was quite brash to them because I undid my pants when they were writing the person´s description so that they could see what my briefs were. But the bus driver didn't even stop at the bus stop when he saw that. So I said, 'Well, that's nice, comrades, in fact you arrested me for no reason, now you're letting me go, and how am I going to get home? Am I going to walk? I will place a complaint.' And one of them says, 'But we are not allowed to take you into the police car. But here is the Public Security Auxiliary Guard, they can take you.' So they took me to Sadská to the crossroads, but there they were guarding again. A car was passing by, so they stopped it. The driver, all shaken up, asked what was going on. 'You will take this comrade and drive him to Poděbrady.'"

  • "And it culminated on the last day of October 1967, when [we], spontaneously and completely unorganized, set off to Prague [centre]. We went to Prague around the back, through Pohořelec to Nerudova Street, shouting 'We want light!' But the problem was that at the time the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was meeting in the Spanish Hall [at the Prague Castle, trans.] and they understood it in their own way, that we wanted light into politics. At the bottom at Malostranské Square, the police were already waiting, because someone had reported it on the way. Reprimanding started and not only with truncheons, but we were also pushed out by cars. This kind of driving into feet is not pleasant matter. So we retreated to Strahov, few boys were arrested and thrown into the cars. And that's where Public Security emergency regiment came in. They were a bunch of people who thrived on other people's pain. They were beating people up - young, old, student, it didn't matter. Beating, hitting, battering, kicking. They even went to the girls' rooms and were beating them with batons while they were lying in bed. Lots of people injured. Lots of people battered."

  • "For me, that time is linked to one thing. I was in Prague with my wife, walking along Wenceslas Square, and we were just passing the passage of the house where Zajíc burned himself. Even now, it makes my hair stand on end because I recall the inhuman roar of that man. I get chills down my spine every time I think of it. It was horrible. The worst memory I have after 1968 is this one. It was such a terrifying thing when I heard that sound from that passageway, it was something insane."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Poděbrady, 11.07.2019

    délka: 01:41:38
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Poděbrady, 15.07.2019

    délka: 41:17
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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Tell the truth at any circumstances, however cruel it would be. A merciful lie gets nowhere

Miroslav Tomek before graduating from secondary school, 1964
Miroslav Tomek before graduating from secondary school, 1964
zdroj: Witness´s archive

Miroslav Tomek was born on 28 March 1946 in Hradec Králové. He spent his childhood at his grandfather Augustin, who owned a farm in Batňovice. Miroslav witnessed the provocations that were intended to force Augustin to join a cooperative farm. In 1964 he graduated from the electro-engineering secondary school in Pardubice and then was admitted to the Technical University in Prague. As there were constant power cuts at the halls of residence in Strahov, in the autumn of 1967 he took part in a student protest at the Strahov halls under the slogan We Want Light! This protest was harshly suppressed by Public Security emergency regiment. On 25 February 1969 he witnessed Jan Zajic setting himself on fire. After graduation from university he briefly worked in the Czechoslovak People‘s Army, later he was a teacher at the vocational school in Nymburk and also director of the cultural centre in Poděbrady. During the 1970s, he regularly met with writer Bohumil Hrabal. During the Velvet Revolution he founded Civic Forum in Poděbrady and became the first mayor of the town after the November events. Until recently he taught at the local agricultural secondary school, but at the time of recording (2019) he was already retired.