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Zbyněk Čeřovský (1931) - Biography

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We expected that after the revolution there would be the rule of law and that people who had made compromises with the previous political regime would not be in power.

Zbyněk Čeřovský was born July 13, 1931 in Hořice v Podkrkonoší. His family was leftist-oriented. His grandfather, who worked in a textile factory, was originally an anarchist who later became a social democrat and eventually a representative of the Communist Party in Hořice. Zbyněk's mother was a dressmaker and his father worked for the company Elektrolux. When Zbyněk was eight years old, he experienced the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by Germany. In autumn 1945 his father received an offer to become a state-appointed administrator of an agricultural machinery trading company in Litoměřice, and Zbyněk thus attended Josef Jungmann's Grammar School there. After graduation, he began studying at a school for officer cadets but in August 1950 he was involuntarily transferred from there to the Army Artillery Academy in Hranice na Moravě. On August 3, 1952 he graduated holding the lieutenant's rank and he was assigned to the 32nd heavy artillery brigade in Kostelec nad Orlicí. In 1953 he was selected for study at the Military Academy of Klement Gottwald. In autumn 1958 he started his duty in the 45th artillery reconnaissance air regiment at the airport in Plzeň-Bory. In 1961 he was transferred to the airport in Mimoň in the position of a staff chief of the Analysis and Photography Centre and in 1965 he became its commander. In the following year he began serving as the staff chief in the 18th fighter bomber air regiment in Pardubice, and after its disbandment in1967 he received an order to report to the staff of the 30th fighter bomber air regiment in Hradec Králové. That was where he experienced the intervention of the Warsaw Pact armies to Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Together with other several pilots, Zbyněk Čeřovský decidedly opposed the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies. For this reason he was expelled from the Communist Party in 1969 and in 1970 he was dismissed from the army. In autumn 1976 he was arrested by the State Security StB for alleged anti-state activity and held in detention pending trial until February 1977. After his release he signed Charter 77 and he began to be involved more intensely in activities against the political regime. Among others, he established contact with the embassies of the USA and of Germany. At the same time he was under surveillance by the StB as part of the operation Soused (‘Neighbour'). In the evening of November 9, 1981 he was arrested by the StB again, and after several months of interrogations he was put on trial and sentenced to two years of imprisonment. While in prison in Pilsen-Bory he met many of those who opposed the communist regime, such as Jiří Dienstbier Sr., Dominik Duka and Václav Havel. After his release he was evicted to West Germany together with his wife and son as part of the operation Asanace. The Čeřovský family returned to Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution. In September 1991 he accepted a job offer to become a director of the prison facility in Prague-Pankrác.

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