“So my dad’s friend took me, and this is the most probable version I’d say, he then handed me over to the nurses at the Red Cross, I was eight months old, I was a little thing... So they passed me on to Thomayer Hospital, where they had a children’s home, and that’s where my future parents heard of me. There was another version, that I’d been sleeping under the ironing board on the courtyard balcony, because you know, those are courtyard houses... Well, and I even heard tell that my mum was to throw me under a bed, which I don’t think very likely because I don’t know who’d find me so quickly under a bed like that.”
“I’d like to mention President Antonín Novotný. That was a person, I’d say simply a product of the times, he was basically an apparatchik [Communist functionary] who’d come from the apparat of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He was not endowed with any special education, but there is one thing that is not mentioned and for which I have a deep respect for him, if for nothing else. He was called on repeatedly to allow the deployment of the Soviet army here, but he always refused it. He was very tough in this issue, and I think that, aside from other things, that that was the moment of the invasion of 21 August 1968, because they just needed to have them deployed... with regard to the Cold War - because we won’t start on about what went on back in the sixties, right, Cuba, Berlin, and so on. So that was the moment which we have to give him credit for.”
“I have to tell you, the feeling of togetherness in the team, when you pass through the Athletes’ Gate, you’re not denied that even when training at the Spartakiad... That was the big stadium, I don’t even know where it is any more, it was eleven football fields, which were full, the atmosphere was just breathtaking, the people... Of course, bread and games is the saying, right, so of course there was a certain underlying ideological motive, but don’t forget that Spartakiads had been around since 1920 or 1921, 22... The Communists organised them; of course, they couldn’t compare to the [All-Sokol] Rallies, right. Because the Rallies had begun in 1882 and they were with enormous nationwide support, so the Spartakiads... Put it like this, I’d say, I didn’t see it as ideological as a child at the time.”
My whole life came crashing down when I was twelve
Květoslava Volková (née Vurmová) was born on 12 September 1944. When she was twelve, she found out she had been adopted as a baby. At the same time she discovered that her actual parents and siblings had been killed during the so-called massacre in Úsobí Street in Prague in May 1945, when members of the SS murdered a large number of civilians. She graduated from history, at first specialising in archival work, later in Czech history. After leaving university she was employed at a research institute and later lectured at university for some time. At the time of the Warsaw Pact occupation in 1968 she was in France, and she experienced the protests in Paris. She married Jindřich Volk, a biographer with an interest in the Kennedys. After 1989 she worked in a government committee for the analysis of the years 1967-1970, she now heads the Department of the Edification Section of the Czech Sokol Community.