Eduard Vacek

* 1947

  • “Firstly, I needed to come to terms with the history of my ancestors who were all communists. Unfortunately I cannot meet them, because all of them died, so I am not able to tell them that they were all wrong. And so at least I tried to rectify what they have unknowingly caused by having started it. Not that they have actively participated in something evil, but due to ignorance, out of faith and illusions they started that process. The worst people eventually got to power, people who were never supposed to be there. Those original idealists would have never agreed with their assuming power. Throughout my entire life, I was personally experiencing the discrediting of the idea of socialism and communism. Basically, this happens to every idealistic thought which appears. It happened to Christianity as well. This process constantly repeats itself. It is a composition of frustration: an element of expectations, disappointment and being pissed off. This cutting edge still keeps going forward, nothing is fulfilled, nothing is put into practice, because it is replaced by something else, something new. I needed to come to terms with this wave. The fact that my great-grandfather who was a senator for Social Democratic Party, had accepted the idea of communism, had devaluated the idea of social democracy to me. My other relatives were already the bearers of ideas, the elements of it. It came to me and I have finished with it. I had difficult discussions, at first with my father, later with my other relatives as well, and I found out that those people would not let have themselves get persuaded. I needed to tackle the problem actively. To diminish the strength and space of this evil which assumed an ideological role. That was my inner motivation.”

  • “I established a magazine called Czech Prison Service and I needed a good editorial committee. Where else could I get it than to invite the former committee of the Czech National Council for the Penal Service? I started publishing a magazine which had an amazing level of quality. After seven years, the Institute for Criminology and Social Prevention conducted an assessment of European magazines for prison service and my magazine was evaluated as the best one. I had a special method. I brought up some topic important to prisons to the group of people who were then to discuss it and I was recording the whole debate. It was like a game of cards, with all of them playing trumps. I recorded it, I wrote it down and I sent it to them again. I always told them: ‘It does not mater at all what is said here, but what the final effect will be.’ This process was repeated there times. Eventually they all started reacting to what the others have said, and a problem cleared up, and only the distilled core of the issue remained and we published it in the Czech Prison Service. All prison directors and the main staff all received a copy of the magazine, and they began following it. At the time when I was still a deputy to the Czech National Council, a wave of resistance against me ensued from the former Stalinists, proponents of the Soviet model. The greatest resistance was in Pilsen-Bory. We conducted a session of the prison committee in the prison in Pilsen-Bory. I invited the whole management and the opponents who were against us. They were all sitting there, gloomy, with stubborn faces, and I asked them to raise their objections and I said that we would try to deal with them. Nobody said a word, and they basically did not have any ground. I knew what those issues were and so I addressed them myself in the second round and the whole prison committee discussed it with them. Then some of them joined in the discussion and we basically broke their resistance. Four or five of the worst places where the director general was not able to put our ideas into practice. Eventually our magazine began to be important for them.”

  • “When I got to know Jehovah Witnesses, I was obviously interested in it. I thought that all have turned away from me, but these people were selflessly helping me and they did not want anything in return. I thus started talking about it with them and they drew me into their organization. Suddenly, within five months, I was an elder of the congregation. But the literature which they were giving me was more and more weird. I saw things which were almost pataphysic there. In 1969 I fortunately learnt about the series of Albert Marenčin Anals of Pataphysics and this has stuck in my mind. At first I didn’t understand it, but it was immensely attractive to me. And so I came to it again, for the first time, for the second time, and suddenly I was enlightened and I began to understand what pataphysics was. Without a tutor! Suddenly I was a conscious pataphysic, before that I had been and unconscious one, and now I was a conscious one. To be a Jehovah Witness and a conscious pataphysic at the same time is a very strange situation. Alfred Harry, when he explains pataphysics, says: ‘Pataphysics surpass metaphysics, just like metaphysics surpass physics.’ And I was in there. It was a different level of knowing. I was receiving this nonsense for the Jehovah Witnesses and I was supposed to discuss it there as the leader of the group. I read it, and I was tearing up the papers for a while because I was angry at how demagogic it was. I cannot teach it here! But then I thought that I needed to approach it from the opposite side. I started from a position of pataphysics, and so when the group met again - fortunately they were only students from the grammar school and from the music school – I started pointing out the absurdities and I was emphasising them. I saw how they eyes got on fire. They started reacting, because they understood, too, that it was nonsense. What a concert. When somebody from the outside came there for inspection, he would not notice. We seemed to be very diligent students. We got to a state when we cancelled the group of Jehovah Witnesses, and we started Pataphysic Collegium Teplice. It was a kind of strange, but absolutely normal and natural transformation.”

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Diminishing the space of universal evil which changes its form, this is what I consider my lifelong task

Eduard, Teplice, 1st half of the 1980s
Eduard, Teplice, 1st half of the 1980s
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Eduard Vacek was born on April 20, 1947 in Hradec Králové to Taťána and Eduard Vacek in the family where the father‘s side of the family had strong Communist inclinations. He had conflicts with this ideology already since his childhood. Eduard completed studies at the secondary technical vocational school in Hradec Králové, specializing as an electrician. He intensely watched the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies during his military service in the border region in defence units where the soldiers had differing opinions about the invasion. He was deeply shaken by the events of the ensuing normalization period. Eduard at first moved to Prague, but he was not able to find a suitable place to live there, and subsequently he moved with his wife Ludmila to Teplice, where they started a family. He worked as an electrotechnician and as a technical development specialist in a number of companies. He was active in the congregation of Jehovah Witnesses, and he later transformed their group into a Pataphysical Collegium Teplice, which was later joined by some other artists. He was publishing magazine PAKO, he was one of the cofounders of the art group Terč („Target“) and he participated in many unique cultural events, which were bordering the extreme from the viewpoint of the political regime at that time. Eduard spent one year in prison for his activities. During the Velvet Revolution he emphasized the importance of morals in the Civic Forum Teplice, and in 1990-1992 he was a deputy in the Parliament of the Czech Republic, serving as a vice-chairman of the Committee for Legal Protection and Security, and as the chairman of the Committee for Prison Service of the Czech National Council. After the end of his term as a deputy in 1993 he began working in the public relations department of the General Directorate of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic. He established magazines Czech Prison Service and Historic Penology, and he wrote and published a number of expert articles and historic studies. He is the author of many books which reflect on social problems. He collaborates with the edition Libri prohibiti. He considers himself a conscious adherent of pataphysics.