From a bohemian life to an office job
Ivan Vilím was born in Litoměřice on 28th November 1946. From a young age he loved sports, especially football and basketball. After graduating from high school he wanted to study at the Faculty of Arts in Brno. However, because of the large number of applicants, he was not accepted and he spent the following year as a manual worker in a company called Lovochemie located in Lovosice. He did not give up and tried to enroll at a university again, this time it was Charles University in Prague. He was accepted to a sociology and philosophy programme, and he also became a member of the students‘ academic council. On 28th October 1970 he was arrested for removing a Soviet flag in Horní Habartice. He spent a month and a half in detention and ended up being conditionally sentenced to 18 months in prison. Because of the time he spent in detention, Ivan Vilím had to abandon his studies, even though the official reason was not achieving the necessary academic results. After the Velvet Revolution he was awarded the doctoral philosophy title (PhDr.) because of the political background of the affair but Ivan Vilím does not use it. Shortly after he was released from detention he married his girlfriend Zdeňka and the following summer their daughter was born. In autumn 1971 he had to join the military service. As a politically unreliable person he was assigned to a road army unit in Liberec. The poor situation in his family led him to the decision to sign a contract in uranium research, which resulted in having his military service shortened to nineteen months. After that he started working as a programmer in the information technology state company (PVT), and later held the same position in Agrostav. He spent many years coaching adolescent basketball teams and played basketball himself in the senior division. In 1988 he signed Charter 77 and the following November he actively participated in the Velvet Revolution in his home town, Litoměřice. Following the revolution he published a daily newspaper called TAK. From summer 1990 he was the director of the Litoměřice labour office for twenty-six years and retired on 31st December 2016. Ivan Vilím is married, he met his wife Květa at the student housing Větrník. He is a father of three daughters and has eight grand-children.