Jan Bartoš

* 1944

  • "Then in the 69th, there were checks, and all the workers were, as if to say ... They just wanted us to sign that we agreed to the troops and so on. I writhed about it until they gave me a break, and when I read it, they wrote that I didn't have a clear opinion yet, even though I had a clear opinion, and that they needed to work with me, and so on. . That's what I read after the ninety-eight of my personnel materials. But I know I said one thing there, because then it was discussed that I said the intervention was inadequate. And there was such a cadre, her name was Novakova, and I said, 'It's like there's a fly over the window, I took a hammer and I killed that fly.' And she asked me "comrade, what are you trying to say with that? And I remember it as if it was today. "

  • “The time of my youth was nice, and I remember that my dad, when he came here after the war, he bought a gun, and he then sold it in accordance with the law. As a child, I remember that until 1953, a policeman was coming to check my dad if he still had the gun. Dad became a bit nervous as a result of it. If you remember the terrible 1950s, one did not know when something would happen.”

  • “Meanwhile, I also learned that another friend of mine, Zdeněk, with whom I had been in the Kasino restaurant in the Liberec Exhibition Grounds the day before, was shot down from the scaffolding which was erected at the Town Hall while he was taking pictures from there. What was strange was that the metal pipes had been shot through as well. On one side there was a clear bullet entry hole and the pipe was smashed terribly from the other side, so they had to use bullets that caused some really devastating wounds.”

  • “In the 1969, I was surprised because I just got back (from Austria, ed.), that the police, the military and other forces were against protesters. I participated in the demonstration quite actively, I will not go into detail, but there were cobblestones flying on both sides, and so on. I was there when someone smashed the Baťa shop window and the policemen were taking shoes from the shop for themselves. In the evening we were still in the city, the city center then became surrounded by the military, the police, the militia and so on. In Fügnerova Street, I managed to run between soldiers who let me go home. Later I found out that some of my friends got caught, and some of them spent two months in Pastýřská Street. I even found out that my friend's brother was on his way to home from his work, he worked on the railway, and they arrested him, too, and investigated him.”

  • “In the evening I felt that something was happening - you did not learn much from the radio - in the morning I woke up and my dad told me: ´The Russians are occupying us.´ I said that it was not possible. At that time, democracy began to show up a bit - I say a bit, because it was not so "bad" - I could not believe it. So I went to work, clocked in my arrival time, and after a few minutes I went away with some colleagues. To be specific, I went with Jindra Kubiš. We walked towards Beneš Square. There we split up, I got hungry and went home to get my camera. When I returned, I went up Ludmila Street, present-day Palach Street, and people were running down and they were all saying: ´There is shooting at the town hall, do not go there!´ Thus I did not go there, but when the shooting stopped, I did, and there was blood at the spot where Jindra had been standing at the time of the shooting, and someone has already brought flowers there. Then I learnt that Jindra had been shot through with bullets so that he died in the hospital due to the injury sustained to his lungs, perhaps heart, and so on. The wounds were not compatible with life. His identity card was displayed there and it was marked with bullet shots; it touched me a lot.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Liberec, 24.06.2014

    duration: 22:25
    media recorded in project Memory of Nations on the road
  • 2

    Liberec, 01.07.2021

    duration: 01:52:02
    media recorded in project Memory of Nations on the road
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We have not dealt with the past and the way it looks now is the consequence of it

Jan Bartoš on graduation photography in 1962
Jan Bartoš on graduation photography in 1962
photo: archiv Jana Bartoše

  Jan Bartoš was born on May 2, 1944 in Pardubice. His father was appointed as a state administrator to take over the management of the power station and the Transport Company in Liberec where the family moved. Jan Bartoš enlisted at the airport in České Budějovice, later he was sent to a school for specialists in Poprad for one year. In 1965, he returned from the military service to the factory which manufactured air-conditioning systems in Liberec, (later renamed LVZ). In 1967 he was admitted to a construction company as a designer of lightning conductors. In the morning of the August 21, 1968 he left with Jindřich Kuliš and other co-workers for the Mírové (Peace) Square (present-day Beneš Square). While he returned home to pick up his camera, Kuliš sustained gunshots in his lungs and heart, and died in the hospital shortly after. In late June 1969, Jan Bartoš was granted a visa for Yugoslavia. He eventually changed his mind about his emigration to Austria and he returned back a bit later. He actively participated in demonstrations on August 21, 1969, which resulted in a forced change of employment. Until 1989 he worked in the Funeral Services of the City of Liberec.