Mgr. Lydia Baštecká

* 1948  

  • "He came to Náchod for the first time in exile in 1990, I hadn't been there yet. I didn't come until 1993. At the beginning, he was coming quite often. When it was the high school anniversary, when it was one of his life anniversaries. He had a step sister here, buried parents. Or when Prima sezona, the series or the film was filmed, the preview was in Náchod. I had a chance, thanks to Dr. Suchý, who is no longer alive and who gave me the baton of those walks, to meet him in person. Sometimes we even corresponded by e-mail. Maybe he wanted me to find something for him about his family tree, the Škvoreč family from Švorec and so on. I also interacted with the others: Jaroslav Celba "Jaryk" or Vladimír Šilhánek "Joyda". Everyone welcomed me, we were on the first name terms. None of them is alive anymore, not even Boris Mědílek. And Škvorecký even gave me the nickname 'Bašta'. It's not that original, but it is. So, I was among them. Or I mentioned his Bassaxophone, the musical, so he wrote me something about it. And he was always very helpful, willing."

  • "When he went to the first year in Přelouč [son], he suddenly came home and had some paper that he was something like “jiskřička”. He was proud, 'I'm jiskřička, I'll be a pioneer!' So my husband and I were both terrified and said, 'We don't want that.' And then it turned out that we had to ... automatically all the children who went to school were enrolled there, and we had to write an extra paper that we didn't want our child to be a member of this organization. That's how it was."

  • "But they came to me. That's what I mean. They came to me and I will say it openly here, I don't talk much about it. They came to see me once, and I was already sitting down in the archive, then it changed a little there. There were two of them, as it used to be. They say the good one and the bad one. I would say a dumb one and the one who can speak. One did not speak at all, the other one spoke. Of course, they asked about my husband and other things. I knew I wouldn't say anything against my husband. This meeting ended with them putting a sheet of paper and a pencil in front of me, and they needed me to write for them a receipt that they were here; to have a document. I was scared, of course. So, I took it and the one started dictating to me something, but it was something that I promised to inform them. So, I put the pencil down, it was a presence of mind. I said, 'No, I won't write anything for you, I won't write this for you.' - 'All right, just write that we were here.' And I probably made a mistake, I don't know; that I wrote that they visited me and I signed it. But I admit I was a chicken. I was very scared. A lot. Then I was also scared when I was commuting. It's ridiculous. I had long hair, so I quickly cut it very short. I was wondering at the train station who was watching me. Sometimes they came again."

  • "When it was the first anniversary, I attended such a protest gathering in Wenceslas Square in Prague, and there I really experienced water cannons on my own. I remember running away, that's when Savarin Cafe ... we were looking for shelter there. It is not pleasant, and I actually experienced in this way how the state enforced the obedience of the citizens by driving them out. I didn't get hit with the baton, but I experienced the onslaught of a water cannon."

  • "I started going to the first grade and I remember that as children get only one big mark at the end of the first half of the year, I was given B. And I remember, such moments are written in the child's mind that I asked my mother why do I have B, because I can do everything, I know everything. And she told me that the teacher had explained it to her - because my father was in prison, that he couldn't give me A. So, it was my first conscious contact with the fact that the state machinery and the totalitarian dictatorship intervened in the lives of such small six-year-old children."

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    Hradec Králové, 28.11.2019

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The problems are here to be solved

Lydia Baštecká, 1966
Lydia Baštecká, 1966
photo: A photo of the witness

Lydia Baštecká, née Bašusová, was born on August 8, 1948 in Prague. Her father, Bedřich Bašus, an evangelical pastor, was arrested by the State Security in the 1950s and charged with high treason for aiding hostile activity. Her mother, Libuše Bašusová, graduated from a conservatory and taught at the folk-art school. As a daughter of a pastor and a political prisoner, the system was not in the slightest in favor to Lydia, yet she studied archiving at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. She experienced several demonstrations during the turbulent period of the second half of the 1960s and the funeral of Jan Palach. Lydia’s husband became a pastor in Přelouč, where he worked with young people. Her family thus found itself in the search for State Security. After the Velvet Revolution in Pardubice, she was the director of the Náchod State District Archive for twenty years. She was accepted among the so-called cowardly generation and personally interacted with Josef Škvorecký.