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Bachelor Josef Bernard (1965) - Biography

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Freedom is by no means a done deal

Josef Bernard was born on 30 May 1965 in Planá near Mariánské Lázně. As a child, he liked to read forbidden authors. He recalls the arrival of the Soviet tanks in 1968, despite being just three years old. As a fourteen-year-old, he enrolled to a vocational training in the Škoda factory. There, he was surrounded by colleagues who like him were inclined towards scouting. In 1988, he organized a debate with the scout chief and author Jaroslav Foglar, which was nearly prohibited by the authorities. Along with his colleagues, he printed and distributed forbidden authors among the Škoda employees. Due to another debate, this time about the Shroud of Turin, he was questioned by the secret police. He took part in the 1988 anti-regime protest in Pilsen. Immediately after 17 November 1989, he founded Civic Forum Škoda and presented its manifesto at a public event. He and his colleagues declared a general strike, after which his office was raided by the secret police. After 1990, he gave up on politics and made a career in the Škoda factory, serving as director general from 2010 until 2014. He then returned to politics, joining the Social Democrats in 2015 and being elected President of the Pilsen Region. He has two sons from his first marriage. He lives with his second wife Gabriela Grünová in the village of Nebílovský Borek.

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