Jan Beránek

* 1943

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  • “One more item of interest from the time of my military service. Here in Holešov was a special forces unit who refused to let the Russians into their barracks. They were the only unit in the country to do so. It is an interesting fact and details of the incident recently surfaced in media coverage on the 50th anniversary (of the Warsaw Pact invasion). The unit was disbanded because they swore loyalty to (President) Dubček. The soldiers were from all over the country and some of their officers ended up working with me doing construction work.“

  • “One more story from 1968. When the Russians arrived, we were so disillusioned that we piled into an old US Army Jeep and drove to meet them with flags. When I now think about what could have happened if they took offense that would have been bad news.” “Can you provide more details? Where did you get a US Army Jeep? What kind of an idea was that?” “Having a Jeep was a trend at the time. My friend Honza Batík, whose opinions are also well known in Zlín, had one that he fixed up very nicely. Eventually other people, including me, also got old military Jeeps. On this particular ride we drove in Honza’s Jeep. There were maybe ten of us sitting all over the vehicle as we drove towards Vizovice. We expected the Russians to approach from this direction. Later, I used to drive this particular Jeep, but it frequently backfired. When I used to drive it through Dobrotice where there were soldiers stationed in the forest I was bit concerned about the backfiring.“

  • “When the planes flew overhead and it was a highly unpleasant experience, because my mom woke me up during the night and she was crying. My father was also shaken up by the fact that we were under attack. This had a profound effect on me. For example, one of the consequences was that when the ballroom dance season began – the girls from our dance club were involved in organizing events – and we were asked by the Communists to perform an opening act for the ballroom dance, we refused to do it as a group. The revolt probably began with me stating that I am not going to do it because I am starting my military service. So my dance partner also refused to go and everyone else followed. Ms Mědílková (dance instructor) later said that she thought this would have been the case and that she had already cancelled our club’s participation. Our dance troupe was lot less active after this point.“

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    Zlín, 23.10.2018

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Political officers accused me of being a counter-revolutionary during my military service

Jan Beránek
Jan Beránek
photo: archiv pamětníka

Jan Beránek was born in Zlín on September 19, 1943. His father Jan was a member of Sokol and spent his life with sport and pedagogy. During the in-between-the-wars period Jan Sr. was involved with the founding and management of Bata schools. For his partaking in the 500 and R3 resistance groups during WWII Beránek was awarded a 1st Grade Medal of Merit by the President. In the 1960s Jan Sr. laid down the foundations for a leather making school. Jan Jr. was a competitive swimmer and later played water polo. He also took up dance under the guidance of Annemarie Mědílková. In 1968, he graduated as a civil engineer. Professor Vilibald Bezdíček, who later signed Charta 77, handed Jan Beránek Jr. his diploma during the ceremony. Beránek began working as an engineer in the state company Centroprojekt. Shortly after he was called upon and started his military service. Later on in life, Beránek partook in a coop housing construction project on Obeciny XVIII Street in Zlín where he lives until this day. Beránek is an active dancer and enjoys sports and mountain hiking. He also spends his leisure time in the village of Rusava at a log house dating to the 1700s. The house is a registered historical building.