Mgr. Květa Běhalová

* 1923  

  • "As we approached the overpass above the track, a man came up to us and told us not to go any further, that we were not armed and that we were not of any use there. He said he would need something. He pointed to the track where the German ambulance train stood. He needed sanitary supplies and especially bandages. He asked if we dared to get there somehow. I agreed because I knew the way well from Riegerovy sady down the slope back to the track. As girls, we went there by shortcut to the train station, when we were going on trips. It was overgrown there and I knew the paths. I knew how to get directly to that train, and I also knew German. So, he took us, three boys and two girls. They said that they did not see any movement and we should try to get there. He went a little further with us and then we went alone. We went down the steep slope to the track, got on the train, climbed two wagons, no one anywhere, and in the third car we found two completely frightened Wehrmacht soldiers. Young boys, they might have been sixteen years old and they were completely frightened. They didn't know what was going on, they left them there. I told them what we wanted, and the boys willingly took us to the warehouse and pulled out two huge bags. They gave us everything we chose. They were heavy bags that we could only drag on the ground."

  • "My mother had a lot of tricolors, whole ribbons, she cut them and took out a lot of pins. We went home with it before noon, it was Saturday, to Vojtěšská street. She took it in boxes and in about two minutes all the tricolors were taken by people. It still looked like it would be a glory that the Americans would be here. We came home, my grandmother didn't want to let me go, I had to have lunch, but then I took my coat, it wasn't very warm outside, and I went to St. Wenceslas Square. In Jindřišská Street, I saw people loading weapons into a truck from the cellars. We reached St. Wenceslas Square, where groups of mainly young people had been already formed. I went to the radio with one of the groups. We thought it was nothing, but then we heard that it was. We heard shooting."

  • "Then I stayed at home, I lay down for a while, but then I found out that barricades were being built, so I got dressed again and went to Jirásek Bridge, where a barricade was also being built. By the way, Hana Vítová, an actress, was also building it there. I was there a little over midnight when some people came there calling for a blood donor to the general hospital. They also needed someone to Ostrovní Street for the Red Cross. I raised my hand and went to the general hospital. They enrolled us there and took our blood to find out what type we had and if we were okay. But not much, just superficially, because they really needed it. There were about five of us there and we were waiting in the waiting room and that they would call us gradually when they had someone on the table. I don't know how long I'd been there because I fell asleep there for a while. They came for me in the morning, it was still dark. They took me to the hall where the wounded man was and he was unconscious. They put me next to him. It was straight from the hand with a tube straight to the surgeon. The doctors were completely exhausted. One was holding a tube for me and lying almost on me, already terribly tired. He also managed to get too much blood, and I had a black hand from the top to the bottom." "And how did the operation turn out?" - "I don't know. When we finished, they let me go, I had to sit there for a while, and then they let me go home. So, I went to Vojtěšská street, home, in the morning."

  • "The Institute of History immediately began to develop great activity - the Black Book. The put together all the materials from the entire Prague Spring and August events. There is also an appendix - there was, for example, an appendix of re-photographed inscriptions that were around Prague, and various such things. The texts were prepared by the Institute of History and I was in charge of arranging the production. At that time, a Soviet note concerning the Black Book came to Prague, saying that all those who had something to do with it were to be punished. A number of us were summoned to Ruzyně for interrogation. Of course, we all agreed in advance what we would say. That yes, it was the constitutional press, it is a scientific work, the printer did it for free, no one paid, just that we would all keep this."

  • "It was such a grey area. Such a gray, dead time, I didn't like the job, but what I could do ... Then there was the Charter, then there was still something to do, I rewrote a lot of things on the typewriter. It was just not bad outside of work. We were meeting, I was going to Klement Lukeš regularly, he was my blind friend, he lived in Celetná Street and a lot of people were meeting at his place. There, when one arrived, the hall was full of shoes and coats, and there were many people inside. I went there, every time I had an afternoon shift, always every other Friday morning. There were fewer people going there at that time, and Klement needed me to read the mail that came to him to view his books. He received books from the publishing house. So, I could introduce those books to him."

  • "During the morning, the door opened, and Jarda Mach, looking surprised, came in, followed by a Russian man with a submachine gun. Jarda said, 'You have to talk to him somehow, he wants something.' I spoke good Russian then, so I started talking to him. He told me that he occupied the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and that the whole building needed to be vacated. He apparently had the impression that the presidium building was an entire academy. Then no more, then he knew it well. And that we have to vacate it all. I explained to him that, of course, we would consider it, but that I had to talk to the president of the Academy of Sciences. At that time, this addressing was no longer used, but it seemed better to me. And he agreed. He stood there with Jarda and the submachine gun. I went into Sorm's room and called. I explained to the president what was going on, and he told me that we had to listen to the Russian man, we must not defend ourselves, and let Jarda arrange the vacating."

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    Praha, 11.09.2020

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    Praha, 01.11.2020

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I did not sign the charter so as not to burden the daughter who was returning from emigration

Květa Běhalová
Květa Běhalová
photo: archive of the witness

Květa Běhalová, née Šebková, was born on May 11, 1923 in Prague. Her father was a teacher of Czech and history, her mother a seamstress. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Vršovice. During the Second World War, she often showed bravery, during the Prague Uprising she got on a German train to get bags of bandages from it, then went directly from the barricade to donate blood. After the war, she graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University and signed an application to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). In 1948, she married Rostislav Běhal, the future program director of Czechoslovak Radio, and gave birth to two daughters. In the 1960s, she worked at the Presidium of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and witnessed its occupation by the Soviet army. After August 1968, she participated in the publication of the so-called Black Book, which documented the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops and provoked a negative reaction of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. She was interrogated in Ruzyně and in 1969 she had to leave the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Subsequently, she did not pass the political checks and was expelled from the Communist Party. Her husband then lost his job in the Czechoslovak Radio. They were both struggling to find work. Květa eventually found a job in a printing house on St. Wenceslas Square, where she remained until the revolution in 1989. In 1969, her older daughter emigrated to Australia. Květa cooperated with Charter 77, which she did not sign in order not to endanger her daughter Dana, who had returned from emigration to Czechoslovakia after ten years. After the Velvet Revolution in December 1989, she continued her work in the secretariat of the Presidium of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.