MUDr. Jana Veselá

* 1951  

  • “Once I was a doctor in Vystrkov. It was a center isolated from the outside world, where villas and beautiful palaces were owned by communist potentates, members of the government or a politburo. Beautiful land, over the river, forests, but a normal mortal was not allowed there. And once I was supposed to serve the night in the hospital, there was a deputy head physician with me, and suddenly at three in the afternoon they said from the headquarters that they need a pediatrician at Vystrkov. And the doctor, who was still there with me because there was a patient in urgent need in the ward, told me to take my ID and go. I argued that I haven't got a certificate yet, but she said she won't go there so I should get my ID and go. I asked why I needed it, and she just waved her hand and said I would see. So they got me into an ambulance, back then they were the number twelve hundred, it had a space between the driver and the passenger, and in the back there was a patient area separated by a window with a sliding glass. We drove on, it was three quarters of an hour's journey to Vystrkov, it was quite far out. The doctor, who was supposed to go home, was watching the ward for me and I went to Vystrkov. We reached the latch, to such a gate in the woods, where a man with a submachine gun came up, pushed the window, leaned on that submachine gun, and I had it behind me, it wasn't pleasant. I experienced the first time that someone was pointing a machine gun at me, so it wasn't good. We drove through the forest for a few minutes to such a modern building. We got out and he said to me, 'Choose the medication you need.' I didn´t know what medications I needed, because I haven't seen the patient yet. But we went in and there were all kinds of medicines I knew that had existed, but they were not available to normal people. For example, so called Brufen, which we needed for children with rheumatic fever. There it was. I was really tempted to put something in my pocket. But I didn't. Looking back at it, I can no longer say whether I did it for fear or because I thought stealing was wrong, but I did not take anything there. We drove on again with an ambulance with a submachine gun behind my head, then we got out and I came through a forest path to such a villa. I felt a bit like in a dream. There was a Persian carpet on the ground, leather sofa, fireplace, fountain, huge space, about four or five adults were sitting there. "Sit down, doctor." In an attitude of a small private revolution, I said I would keep standing. They offered me coffee or tea or Scotch: 'What are you drinking, Doctor?' I said I didn't drink anything and I wanted to see a patient. So there was an awkward silence, after about four to five minutes they brought about a four-year-old boy who had diarrhea. I looked at him, touched his tummy, told them he wasn't supposed to eat anything, I instructed them that he needed no medication except for paralene or acylpyrine, and I left with the machine gun in my back. On one side I felt like a cleaning woman, like a piece of cloth. I should have been in the ward. There was my job, I was supposed to be there, not here. They could have loaded him in a car and brought him to the hospital. They behaved in such a way that they could do everything. They could, too. But it was not pleasant. And again, I felt a bit like a hero that I didn't take anything from them. It's ridiculous, I know, a little ridiculous rebellion… They returned my ID card at the gatehouse, the man with the machine gun got out, and I was breathing more freely, but I spent about three hours. The doctor could have been home long ago. This is a pretty strong memory, I think. Then I realized it was the minister of Industry.”

  • “I was finally admitted to the school and by the time I graduated in 1976, normalization was already tough. I got to work when the cards were already dealt. Of course, they approached me with an application for the communist party, so I said I didn't want it. Then they came with an application for the Czechoslovak-Soviet Friendship Union, so I said I wouldn't sign it, that I'm just not a friend. And they said: 'But you have to, we all joined.' I said: Well be, but I am not, I just will not sign it.'

  • "It was horrible. I couldn't imagine how anyone could do that. I felt great admiration, compassion and love for this man because he died for all of us to recover. I would very much wish that the sacrifice was not wasted, because what he sacrificed and how he sacrificed it was the highest price, nothing else; there is nothing more a man has than his own life. It was terrible... It was like a dream, it was as dramatic as a trans. The only thing I have to remember is that I spoke to Mr. Pachman, a chess grandmaster, who was trying to trace another 'live torches' to talk to them to help them somehow. But I didn't know of anyone. I don't even remember how he got to me, where we established any contact. And then I remember the funeral of Jan Palach very vividly and dramatically. There was a huge gathering of people who walked through Mezibranska and Wenceslas square, and there was an absolute silence. You could hear only the step of the crowd after the cobble stones, and an occasional sobbing. And it took a long time, really there was silence all along and it was ... it was one of the most dramatic events of the time.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Praha, 19.09.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 01:21:15
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

We were supposed to defend ourselves more, maybe they just scared us

Jana Veselá (still as Bejblová) in graduation photography, 1970
Jana Veselá (still as Bejblová) in graduation photography, 1970
zdroj: archiv pamětnice

Jana Veselá was born on December 16, 1951 in Prague. Her mother Olga Bejbl was a physician-radiologist, and she does not know her father František Bejbl much, because he left the family soon. Together with his grandfather from his mother‘s side, Masaryk´s fan and a former owner of a small textile factory, they lived in Karlín, Prague. None of the family was a member of the communist party. She originally wanted to study journalism, but after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968, which took place just a year before her graduation at a high school, she decided to apply to medical school. She was not admitted there first for cadre reasons as it turned out that her father had emigrated to the West, while they were actually not in contact. After graduating in the field of medicine, she joined the hospital in Příbram as a pediatrician and then moved to the hospital in Dobříš. During the normalization, she focused primarily on work and family. She listened to foreign radio broadcasts and occasionally read the forbidden literature brought by her husband. After an intervention against demonstrators at Prague‘s Národní třída on 17 November 1989, she wrote an open protest letter. She co-founded the Civic Forum at the Dobříš health center and after the election in 1990 she became a town councilor. She was the councilor of the Dobříš council. After an eight-year break, she returned to the council once more. She is currently retired and still practices medicine once a week.