Jan Zima

* 1946  

  • “How did Mr. Kemr take you to Prague for a demonstration?” - “Well, Mr. Kemr, that was one of those last meetings in Prague. That is, it was obviously in 1989, quite certainly. I don't know if it was spring, what anniversary it was, if it was October, towards the end. Anyway, Prague was banned for me. And when I needed to go to Prague, I had to disappear the day before, either I left the day before so that they would not just pick me up at home, not take me to some interrogation to prevent me from going there. And it was known that I was going to Prague, too, and Kemr said to me, 'How do you get there, you can't get there, they'll pick you up, don't they?' Because even before that they arrested me in Prague and interrogated too. And I said, 'Well, I'll try to risk it, I must try it, of course.' He said: 'Well wait, we'll do it.' He had a trabant with just free space in the front of the car. He was such a desperate gardener. He bought the rakes, broke four of them immediately, destroyed them. Before he learned it. Then he was good. So, he always carried some pipes there. We drove the car normally and somewhere behind Benešov he stopped: 'Get back there, lie down.' He threw an old rag over me and some rakes and brooms all lver. They stopped us at Průhonice. It was actually at the canonization of Agnes of Bohemia. It was an event where trains went and they looked at everything. So of course I would be discovered. But they saw Kemr and replied: 'Hello, Mr. Kemr, go on, go on.'” - “So you got through in his car. Did you worry about those interrogations? What were you most afraid of?” - “I wasn't afraid, then it was the kind of adrenaline that I miss it now. Or not today, but back then when everything was over, I missed it.” - “You didn't believe them to take your children?” - “I knew they couldn't. I didn't believe it much, maybe they could have tried it, but they had no legal right to it at all, and they knew it would immediately spread out publicly.”

  • “After the Revolution, I am now probably the first, how the civic commissions were formed. Thus, review committees and civic commissions were established. Honza Ruml was already the Minister of the Interior. So they initiated it. These committees were tasked with verifying the work of individual State Security member, only them, not the normal police. And assess whether they are able to provide additional services to the Public Security, or to leave without any claims, without anything. It was assumed that the other union, that was the so-called inner enemy, was acting as the inner enemy here, so they all had to leave. Or they should have gone, practically. I became some unelected or self-elected chairman of the district civic commission in Tabor. With the fact that it was recognized by those other members of the commission; there were representatives of the Communist Party, the People's Party, represented by Jarda Janovský of Planá, for the Communist Party there was a male, a cop from Tábor, from a traffic police department. Then there was Mr. Růžička behind the auxiliary technical troops, even there was one for the Republicans for a while, and then we kicked him out because it wasn't possible, it was a freak like Sládek, who attended about two of those negotiations, but that was not the case. There were more parts, not just the opposition party. So this second department... they all had to leave at the Tabor district without claiming any compensation and service. The only problem there actually was with Mr. Losos, it was the chief of passports and visas, who appealed many times. He appealed, perhaps not in court, then, but I read them all, it came to me, I dismissed them all. He claimed he didn't hurt anyone. I knew he had taken the passports of Šormová, that he had hurt a lot of people by preventing them from traveling. And as chief of passports and visas, he was responsible to all that.”

  • “Always, with every interrogation, even with the others, those interrogations were many back then. So there was a paper on their table saying that, given the international and internal political situation, I was of the opinion that my signature under the Charter was a mistake, so I am withdrawing it.' And you sign this, Mr. Winter, and we leave you in peace and you will be well off. You will appreciate it, we will appreciate this kind of gesture of yours. Wife, daughter, everyone will be fine. Otherwise, of course, vice versa, you will have problems, your wife will have problems. It is your fault and you pay for it too. ' And the assurance, like it was before: ' Don't think that an emigration could save you, you got to pay for what you have done here too. 'It was necessary during a single interrogation, and at the next one Captain Vošta told me before retiring: 'Apply for emigration, and I will personally handle it.' Of course I did not believe him.´

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    České Budějovice, 04.11.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 01:16:52
  • 2

    České Budějovice, 21.11.2019

    (audio)
    délka: 47:36
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I did it because I had to

Jan Zima in a forestry uniform while studying at a forestry school (1960s)
Jan Zima in a forestry uniform while studying at a forestry school (1960s)
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Jan Zima, his maiden name Vlk, was born on May 13, 1946 in Prague. His own mother, Anna Vlková, differed him and at the age of four he was adopted by the Zima husbands. He grew up in Plana nad Luznici. In Prachatice he trained as a forester. From 1964 he worked at the Forestry Plant. Between 1965 and 1967 he completed compulsory two-year military service. In September 1968 he joined the Prague Zoo. In 1971 he married Jitka Nedorostova and a year later their daughter Sarka was born. He did not get a flat for his family in Prague and therefore returned to Planá nad Lužnicí, where he worked briefly at the sawmill. In 1974 he joined the Zoo Hluboká nad Vltavou. In the spring of 1978, he signed Charter 77. After the forced departure from the zoo in Hluboká he worked as an operator at the Forest Plant in Planá nad Lužnicí. In 1983 his son Martin was born. The witness took part in dissident life; reproduced forbidden publications, commuted to Prague demonstrations, joined the Movement for Civil Freedom, signed Several Sentences, and became a member of the Democratic Initiative. During the revolution in November 1989, he founded the Civic Forum in Planá nad Lužnicí and for two periods he was the local representative. He chaired the District Civic Commission in Tábor. Since April 1990 until his retirement he worked for the company Elk. In 2019 Jan Zima lived in Planá nad Lužnicí.