Colonel (ret.) Václav Bednář

* 1938  

  • „My friend was then a member of the communist party so when the communists learnt about the Chruščov´s report in 1956, when he marked Stalin and named him a personality cult, so I was the first one he told about it. I was very much touched then, because at that time Stalin was a kind of God substitute for me and mummy gave me a catholic education and daddy was the opposite way, so for me he was a kind of a mythical personality. He let me read some of the materials just around holidays. So when I came back home for holidays, instantly I tuned to the Free Europe. We lived in Znojmo and there was a relatively good audibility, as the jammers didn’t function very well yet...“

  • „Zátopek came there... as was the habit those days, we were fifty percent polite, as I called him comrade lieutenant and he called me by my first name, Vašek. He came there and needed a large pot for his wife... I got it for him and we went to pick it up... and there was a kind of regulation in the army those days regarding what you can carry as a soldier, and the pot was not on the list... even that big... Zátopek took it in both his hands... I took the other handle. So we went out with the pot and Zátopek said we would not go that slow, so let´s run a bit... so we ran all through Martin and the comedy eclipsed near the barracks... he saw the soldiers lined up and said: ‚Let´s show them how Zátopek can sprint...‘ So in front of all lined up lieutenants he began sprinting... of course I had to run along with him... for the first time in my life I was famous – no one else before me had ever sprinted with a pot and a quadruple Olympic winner.“

  • „In 1968 Izvestije and Ogoňk were writing very differently than us. For a short time I was a member of the communist party, I joined in 1962 or 1963, and really, today it seems like an excuse, truly I believed even before 1968, when I read the Plamen or Literary papers, there were completely new opinions. I took it a part of an improvement of socialism. Then the reviews came and everything counted against me. A letter reported about me, that apparently I wanted to take the Soviet students´ excursion to Austria on 22 August, 1968, amongst other things I was very active in all meetings that took place then and when the time came to sign I agree with the entrance of the Soviet army I replied I cannot do that, otherwise I´d feel like a fool. Because the whole time I was explaining it to my students, of course I didn’t tell them about occupation and I took it a tragedy they came here because the socialism will be harmed.“

  • „The circumstances at the army collage were shocking... when we came there, we were not allowed to let our parents know, where we were, they just didn’t know, where we were going. We set off on a train from Brno, where there was a kind of a yard, we said goodbye to our parents and they were promised to get informed on our whereabouts. Then we were not allowed to inform them, which is unthinkable from today’s perspective, we had no free time for half a year, we were just locked inside the barracks and all info we were sending to our parents had to be handed over to the commander in an open envelope. So actually until the first holidays in December 1953 my parents didn’t know, where we were so that they would not visit us. The overall circumstances were terrible from today´s perspective.“

  • „The girls stayed on a bus and the chief of the Soviet expedition and I went to visit an officer of the Soviet consulate in Bratislava, and he told me not to bother, that those are friendly armies, so we can continue traveling across Slovakia. I said something wrong, he threw me out and kept him inside. I have to say also how we went from Trenčín to Bratislava, we had a transistor radio still on, those days the Prague radio was broadcasting the new on event, and most girls were sitting close to me and I was translating for them. Then their boss came and told me to shut it immediately as it was apparently a counterrevolutionary radio. I told the chauffeur: ‚Stop!‘ He stopped the engine and I opened the doors and said: ‚You get off! You can walk the rest on foot. I am here on the Czechoslovak territory and you give me no orders! You can go to Bratislava on foot...‘ so I risked it then, because had he done that, I´d likely have problems. But in all that anger! It ended up so that the excursion was divided into two groups, the orthodox ones sat with him and the smaller part and most girls with me.“

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    Hranice na Moravě, 16.07.2015

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    duration: 03:51:55
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Accept everything with humility and joy

contemporary photo
contemporary photo

Václav Bednář was born in a working class family in 1938 in Třebíč. His dad, Josef Bednář, belonged to the founding members of the social democratic party in Třebíč. The whole family was left-wing oriented; two brothers were members of the communist party already before the war. After 1945 the father was a functionary of the local national committee and a party organisation in Nesachleby. In 1953 Václav Bednář started in the School of Lieutenant Youth in Olomouc and a year later he came to Kremnice. After graduation in 1956 he was accepted to the Colleges Air Defense in Kosice. Since 1959 he worked as a lieutenant at the anti-aircraft units in Mladá. In 1962 he joined the communist party and since 1966 he studied the social science at the Military Academy. In August 1968 he took care of a group of Soviet students, but his reckless commentaries of contemporary events changed his life completely. He got expelled from the communist party, from the high school as well as the army and until 1990 he had to work in the East Slovakian Steelworks in Kosice. Following his rehabilitation he returned to the army as a lieutenant colonel and in 2000 he was promoted to colonel. In 1995 - 2005 he worked at the company Pozemní stavby and at the company Skanska. During the last fifteen years he devoted himself to amateur history and wrote a number of publications in the field. He lives in Hranice na Moravě.