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PhDr., PhD. Pavel Žáček (1969) - Biography


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Even if they were to kill me, I will keep going there!

Pavel Žáček was born on May 18, 1969 in Prague as the older one of two brothers in the family of a tool maker and a worker in computer research. After elementary school in Prague-Košíře he began studying at the grammar school in Prague-Petřiny, from which he graduated in 1987. In the same year Pavel enrolled at the Faculty of Journalism of Charles University. While he was a university student, he initiated publication of a faculty magazine and he was contributing to its content. Pavel became involved in the activities of the so-called STIS (Student Press and Information centre), which existed under the patronage of the Socialist Youth Union. He was assisting in the preparation of university discussion forums where various politicians participated, and he was helping to distribute petitions for the release of Václav Havel and journalists Ruml and Zeman, as well as the petition A Few Sentences. In summer 1989 he took part in the protests in Wenceslas Square and he was subsequently interrogated by the StB. He was one of the organizers of the student rally in Albertov on November 17, 1989, and afterwards he also took part in the march through Prague all the way to Národní Street where he witnessed the massacre by the police forces. On November 18 he publicly spoke on Wenceslas Square, and together with Martin Mejstřík they declared a student strike. He was present at the beginning of the occupation strike and the establishment of the strike committee at the Faculty of Journalism of Charles university. Pavel served as the faculty representative in the Student Parliament and during the revolutionary period he was involved in the students' activities, helping mainly with printing and distribution of information. In December 1989 he established the Student Papers, an independent bimonthly magazine of the university students' movement and he subsequently worked as its editor-in-chief until the end of its publication in 1991. He completed his university studies in 1992 at the Faculty of Social Sciences (the new name for the former Faculty of Journalism of Charles University). From 1993 Pavel worked in the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Activity of the State Security, which was later renamed the Office of the Documentation and the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism (ÚDV). In 1995-1996 he studied at Stanford University in the USA with support from the Fulbright program. In 1998 he worked in the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences. From 2004 he worked as an editor-in-chief of the quarterly Pamät národa (‘Memory of Nation') in the National Memory Institute in Slovakia. In 2007 and 2008 he became the founder and the first director of the memory institutes of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Security Services Archive. After Daniel Herman became the director in 2010, Pavel worked in the Office of the Institute. In November 2017 he became a deputy in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic for Civic Democratic Party (ODS). He lives in Prague with his wife and three children.

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