Otta Bednářová

* 1927  

  • "I learned at the time that people who had been convicted would be rehabilitated. So I went there and heard all the horrors with my own ears. So I said to myself, 'So I have to do this whenever possible, so I have to broadcast this and stand up for those people.'"

  • "Once it happened that I was attacked by the police and the told me - the green ones came there, they were not secret police, but normal police officers, so they had the opportunity to address us all and tell us what to do. So he said to me, 'Get in that car here.' I said, 'And for what reason?' - 'Well, you know that.' I just had to get in there. I had a lot of things in my bag that were written down and that I wanted to give to Jiřina Šiklová and other people for whom I wrote it down. Now I was scared of it, because I was afraid of what would happen until… I asked where they were taking me, of course no one answered me. I said to myself that I had to prevent this, and I promptly said: 'But I have to go to the Institute for Mother and Child in Podolí first, otherwise I would be sick and I would collapse. I have to get an injection in. 'I made that up, it wasn't true. But so he took me there when I insisted like that, so he finally took me there. He walked up the stairs with me, and he didn't go any further to the surgery. I knocked and he rushed in with me and I said, 'Aren't you coming here ?!' So I bounced him off and closed the door. I was inside and there was a nurse, the doctor was not there. I said to my sister, 'Nurse, please, there's a cop here and they'll pick me up. I have a bag full of things and I can't go on with it, they would pick me up and I would still be in a lot of inconvenience.' She gave me an injection and glued a plaster on."

  • "It was at the time after the revolution, at the moment when the regime changed here, that it seemed to me that my family was rich and that the people were poor next to us. So I started to tend to work and I was embarrassed to have studied. So I signed up for CKD and I wanted to work there to have access to the working class and to take this somehow in order to adapt to those people."

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    Praha 1, 22.01.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 50:43
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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I have to broadcast that and stand up for those people

Otta Bednářová in 1978
Otta Bednářová in 1978
photo: archiv pamětníka

Otta Bednářová was born on June 18, 1927 in Prague. After graduating from high school, she became a member of the Communist Party and found a job at CKD. In 1950 she started working for the Czechoslovak Radio. Since 1963, she has worked at Czechoslovak Television, where she became a co-author of the program Curious Camera. In a report, Testimony for Warning, she revealed behind the scenes of the fabricated process of the 1950s. She also documented other topics that were sensitive at the time. Already during the 1950s, she reconsidered her view of communist ideology. After 1968, she was forced to leave Czechoslovak television and was expelled from the Communist Party. Since 1974, Otto has been involved in the reproduction and dissemination of samizdat literature, putting herself in the monitoring of the State Security (StB). At the end of 1976, she was one of the first signatories of Charter 77, and the document was signed by both her sons. A year later, she established the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS) with a group of Charter 77 signatories. A year later, she was arrested and sentenced to a three-year unconditional sentence with the entire group. She spent sixteen months in prison. After her release, she became involved in dissent again. She participated in the dissemination of samizdat literature and other texts. After the Velvet Revolution, she worked in Olga Havel’s Committee of Good Will.