"That was in 1988 and it was quite an interesting experience. We arrived there and we were incredibly treated, we were treated like royalty. We were looked after unbelievably. The very first buffet they prepared for us - sandwiches with caviar and things like that. We were surprised by it, but we enjoyed it. But then when we looked around Kiev and saw an empty butcher shop, a huge line of people, and a completely different standard of living than what we were experiencing there, how we were taken care of, we couldn't help but wonder. And the people who took care of us, when we were drinking somewhere afterwards, they would talk a little bit and we would learn how they got their private deliveries of fruit and vegetables and everything from Yalta. You could see that at that time the country was completely two-faced, we got a little glimpse behind that curtain and there was quite a poverty and misery. But we were taken care of, so we felt embarrassed."
"We had one cheerless experience there, when we went to see Cardinal Špidlík opposite Santa Maria Maggiore, we talked with him, it was in the early evening. We had not been announced, we couldn't go in, we were a whole big group of people. We had a bag full of sheet music and somebody put the bag there on the ground, leaned it against a street lamp. So we were standing there, we were talking to the Cardinal, he gave us all medallions, I still keep one until now. And in the meantime somebody took the bag of sheet music from us. So that was a huge blow to us. After that, we searched all the containers in quite a large area around the Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral and found a lot of interesting things. Lots of Czech literature, and even identity documents of some fellow Czech citizens. It seems we were so ingenuous and unprepared for the Italian society. So we handed in the documents somewhere, and the literature - for example about Cardinal Beran, I have one book at home - we just sort of handed it out among us and took it home. So it was such a different experience of the canonization of Agnes."
"I still remember such interesting moments from my childhood. We had a very [politically] convinced Czech teacher at that primary school. She was such a nice teacher, we liked her, but she was quite politically involved. And I remember one memorable moment when we were walking to the school canteen for lunch and the school public adress system started to make an announcement. We got to the staircase, and the teacher went up the staircase a little bit higher, and we could all see her beautifully. And now the sad news came over the school PA that Mr. Brezhnev had died. And the teacher began to cry so sincerely! She was so unhappy and broken down, and we were staring at her and didn't understand it at all as children. It was such an interesting moment. But as I said, otherwise she was a very nice, kind lady. But ideologically she really lived it."
My family taught me how to live my life. Whether in a free country or in totalitarianism
Jana Bártková, née Kašpaříková, was born on 17 July 1969 in Brno. She grew up in Blažovice in the Brno region. Her mother Marta worked as a tailor, her father Jan, a mechanical engineer, first worked as a repairer of agricultural machinery, later he worked at the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Brno. Jana was led to faith from a young age, and during her childhood she regularly participated in illegal Salesian holiday camps, the so-called Salesian Cottages. Because of her faith, she was not later allowed to study pedagogy at university, her father was not allowed to teach and her grandfather ended up being interrogated several times. In 1986, she became part of the Community of St. Gorazd, with whom she traveled repeatedly to the West. As part of the Community, she participated in the canonization of Agnes of Bohemia in Rome in 1989. From the second half of the 1980s she was also active in the historical instruments ensemble Tibia. During the same period she helped to organize camps for children affected by the Chernobyl accident in the Brno region. After the Velvet Revolution she studied pedagogy and Conservatory in Brno. At the time of the interview (2021) she was living in Blažovice.