“I have a rather peculiar memory of selecting the reading books at school. There was a really harmless story by Ludvík Aškenazy and it was because of it that the beautiful reading books had to be discarded. Moreover, they made us, the children ,to do it. We put the books in cases and then they were sent to the paper mill. I stole one for myself. What was odd was that we were given this task by teachers who had taught us literature and history quite openly just a year before, not they completely changed their opinions. This was very unpleasant and humiliating for me as a child. Later, when I worked in the paper mill, I felt that some of my former classmates behaved coldly towards me. Perhaps they were afraid or considered contacts with me as improper. I could feel tension at home too, since there was this incessant talk of politics. My memory of that time is really ugly.”
“Four cars arrived, we suddenly saw the lights and heard slamming of doors. I ran to lock the door. There was already one of the police officers standing there. Another tried to get in through the window and I shouted, ‘Show me the arrest warrant!’ He said, ‘I don’t have one.’ ‘Show me the search warrant’. He said, ‘I don’t have one.’ And I shouted, ‘So get out.’ I was surprised to see him crawling back out of the window. They surrounded our house and waited till the morning, when they eventually left. Then, however, we found out that they arrested eight young people, held them by the wall and threatened them. They seized Komenský’s writings that some of them was reading and took them to the police in Kolín. Later they returned the writings.”
“On November 17 I was in town and met a crowd of people in Smetanovy sady. It didn’t feel like a demonstration, rather a simple gathering of people. Then someone came and said something was happening in Prague. We didn’t take heed as at that time something kept happening in Prague, events such as Palach’s week. We took it with reserve and left home. It was only two three days later that we learned what had happened in Prague. There were many demonstrations at that time and it didn’t occur to anybody that the one from Friday, November 17, will be the decisive one.”
Věra Tydlitátová (née Šmídová) was born on May 17, 1959, in Rokycany. Both of her parents were persecuted by the communist regime, which had a significant impact on Věra’s life. Due to the history of her parents she was not accepted to a secondary school and worked for two years in a paper mill. Then, thanks to personal contacts, she was accepted to Secondary Graphic Industrial School in Prague, Hellichova street. She could not go to university due to her profile and, therefore, started working in a library and meeting dissidents. She helped to distribute Charter 77, copied documents and visited flat seminars. She married the protestant parson Jan Tydlitát, moved with him to the parsonage in Libenice, where they organised meetings and lectures. Several times she got in conflict with the Secret Police. She signed Charter 77, the manifesto A Few Sentences and Movement for Civic Freedom. She was a co-founder of the Civic Forum in Pilsen and established the League Against Antisemitism. Currently she works as a teacher at the University of Western Bohemia Pilsen, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Anthropology and History. She publishes texts on her blog site and in other media and is active in a fight against right-wing extremism and xenophobia.