Jana Arbanová

* 1962  

  • "He lived to see it, yes. Closely. And I think he died because of it too. That it had a big effect. Big. Because I know that my mother used to say, I don't remember it myself, but I know that she said that our stove was blazing, he had written, he had clearly written down everything that was going on in the prison, he wanted to publish something about it in the future, but he burned it all. He left only the poems and the essential part which he would complain about, it flew up the chimney. He was terrified. "

  • "But people should come around really quickly. Very fast. Because it's so dangerous, the situation has never been such since the change of regime. Calling for the old orders and voting for what used to be, just because someone promises me to have more money or that migrants won't come here or I don't know what, that's bollocks and such easy promises ... But firstly, when something happens, no one will protect us at all. It will be: save yourself if you can. And the people, they were used to it, and I'd like to say this idea: when forty years a nation is actually being led in belief that lying, stealing and cheating are normal, it must naturally show itself several generations later, because half of the nation did it. They stole, lied, cheated, and these people are, as I say, their posthumous children, I'm not ashamed to say. And the other half of the nation, which was afraid or needed to survive, they kept their mouth shut and were brought up in it and raised their children the same way. Be quiet, hold your tongue to survive, to be admitted to school, so that you don't have trouble doing this or that. The one who didn´t hold their tongue went to serve time."

  • "When my father was involved in this, they [uncle and aunt] had little Bohušek just born. And my uncle told me: 'We were so afraid of my brother when he came [and said]: Kill the pig! We are leading people across the border, we need meat, food. We shut the door in his face.' He posed a threat to his family. He thought he would change the world head first. He was quite active and fighting, brave."

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    Otrokovice, 18.03.2021

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    duration: 01:00:46
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Daughter of political prisoners

Jana Arbanová, née Zlámalová, was born on 13 May 1962 in Otrokovice. By then her parents Josef Zlámal and Žofie Zlámalová, née Slováčková, had already lived through a long-term jail sentence, to which they were condemned by the communist regime in the early 1950s. Josef Zlámal joined the anti-communist resistance organization Světlana in 1948. He led the people who were fleeing the new regime across the border and he helped spread anti-communist leaflets. He was spared the capital punishment for high treason only due to the fact that his wife knew very little about everything and did not reveal even that little in pre-trial detention. Nevertheless, the regime sentenced her to seven years in prison. Josef was then sentenced to fifteen years in prison instead of being hanged and was released after ten years on amnesty. As a result of imprisonment and hard work in the mines, he died when Jana was less than seven years old. Mother and daughter then struggled through life only by force of will. At primary school, Jana refused to join the pioneer organization out of her own conviction. She expected not to have a chance to be admitted to secondary school, so she trained as a saleswoman. She and her husband Jan raised two children, Jan and Žaneta.