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Ing., Arch. Jiří Munk (1932) - Biography


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Do at least one good deed a day, even if it were just a smile

Jiří Munk was born on November 2, 1932 in Brandýs nad Labem. Jiří's father Adolf worked in his private lawyer's office. Jiří, who was the youngest of three children, was raised by a nurse-maid. Just like the whole Jewish community in Brandýs, the Munk family was secularized. In 1938, Jiří's father was banned from performing his services as a lawyer, and he took upon himself the thankless task of leading the Jewish community. The subsequent anti-Jewish regulations which were put into place brought the family into isolation and made them loose nearly all their property. People laughed at the family as they were riding the train to join the transport from Mladá Boleslav. When they arrived to Terezín, Jiří was not placed into the kinderheim but he remained with his mother. They stayed in the Hamburg barracks. What he remembers above all was the constant hunger and cold. His father was the only one from the family who has not survived the war; he died in Auschwitz. Jiří and his mother left Terezín in an empty bus which had been dispatched by Boy Scouts from Brandýs to bring back the town's fellow citizens. A new landlord chased them away from the door of their former house. They found asylum in the home of Jiří's uncle in Prague. When he returned to school, Jiří realized how much he was lagging behind after five years of no schooling. With luck and considerable effort he managed to graduate from architecture at the Czech Technical University. He refused his job placement to start working as a propaganda worker to help establish agricultural cooperatives (JZD) for the company Agroprojekt in Liberec. As a consequence of his decision, he was tried at court and sentenced to imprisonment with a suspended sentence. This negatively affected his personal profile, and for two years he was thus unable to find a permanent job. Later he worked in the company Jednota-Západ, at first as a bricklayer and maintenance worker, and later in the cooperative's project department. In the 1960s he participated on restoration of retail facilities in Prague - working on renewal of shops along the Royal Mile. In 1968 Jiří established the Club of Committed Non-Party Members (KAN) in the Union of Architects. With his wife Alena Munková (née Synková), who was a sister of exile writer František Listopad, they wrote screenplays for the popular children's television bedtime stories "Večerníček" for the company Krátký Film Praha. Among other, they authored the series like Štaflík a Špagetka, they wrote screenplays to the stories of Edudant and Francimor or screenplays based on the book Anička Skřítek a Slaměný Hubert. In the 1990s he worked as a freelancer, and one of his assignments included cooperation with the Prague Jewish Community on a study on utilization of property which had been returned to them in restitutions.

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