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Rudolf Bereza (1942 - 2014) - Biography

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What we were preparing was a little snowball, which then starts rolling down from the hill and gathers more and more snow, and eventually crushes the regime

Rudolf Bereza, former dissident and signatory of Charter 77, was born in 1942 in Tovačov. His mother Evženie Popovičová came from the town of Poltava in Ukraine, his father Rudolf Bereza Sr. came from Moravia. Rudolf Jr. didn't actively oppose the communist regime until 1968. After the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies he was travelling to Moravian towns and actively participating in demonstrations. After he had signed Charter 77 he became fully committed to the resistance against the situation in the country. At first he served as a messenger for sending information and samizdat documents. Later, together with Tomáš Hradilek they carried out several bold actions against the political regime in power. They wrote an open letter to President Gustáv Husák, titled "A letter by five workers," in which they requested his abdication.

On May 1, 1987, they displayed a banner in Olomouc in front of the tribunes, reading "Charter 77 calls for civic courage". Both also filed a complaint against Vasil Biľak, one of the leaders of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. Rudolf Bereza wrote another open letter to Gustáv Husák, urging him to release political prisoners. Its text was broadcast by Radio Free Europe. For these activities, he was arrested several times and detained for 48 hours, and his house was monitored by the Secret Police. After the student demonstration on November 17, 1989 on the Národní Street in Prague he became involved in the transition from communism to democracy. In 1990 he became a deputy in the Czech National Council for the Civic Forum. After this he worked as a municipal police chief for a short time, and later as a bus driver.

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