Olga Bezděková

* 1946  

  • “Dad was still in Slovakia, he came to Prague on 15 May, he went to the national committee, to the housing department or what. In his RAF uniform. He said: ‘I’d like, I’d need a flat, I have a wife and son in England, I haven’t seen them for a year and a half.’ And the Bolshevik retorted: ‘How come you returned? The good soldiers died.’”

  • “My parents were assigned a flat in Vinohrady, where other pilots lived as well. One of our neighbours in the house was Novotný, one Prchal, who later legged it - I used to play with his daughter Kejka. Later, I found their door sealed off. I was going home one day, and I said: ‘Dad, there’s formalin on the door where Kejka lives.’ And Dad just said hm. They’d escaped, successfully, and Dad was just wondering when his turn would come. One Fajtl lived next door, they arrested him there, didn’t tell his wife, she looked for him in prisons all over the place, dreadful. And round the corner was Mr Šimon’s flat, another pilot, and his wife later told me in 1990 that his husband had received warning that State Security was after him, so he fled from his house. He ran from Vinohrady all the way to Celetná Street, they shot him there, took the keys to his flat, went there, opened it - his wife was there with a baby in a cot, and they aimed a pistol at the baby. She asked: ‘Where’s my husband?’ She didn’t know that she was already a widow.”

  • “I have one more memory from Vinohrady. Dad used to go to the Evangelical church in Korunní Street, and always when he came out, he’d go for a walk with his friend Jura, and they’d also talk about politics. And back in that year fifty-something, Dad had an agent trailing him. Dad said ‘Jura, whenever he comes close, we’ll talk about herbs. Well, but Dad was a great story-teller, so one time he’d had enough, so he turned round and said: ‘Jura, look.’ And he smacked [the agent] from one side and the other and said: ‘Now go and report what we did.’ He didn’t report it, because the subject had smacked him. I didn’t found out about that until 1990.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 15.12.2015

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    duration: 02:09:47
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    Praha, 11.03.2016

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    duration: 02:06:59
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Even as a baby, I threatened the Communists

Bezděková Olga, 2016
Bezděková Olga, 2016
photo: Eye Direct

Olga Bezděková was born on 14 September 1946. Her father, Stanislav Rejthar, fought in the RAF during World War II. In 1944 he redeployed to help the Slovak National Uprising. The post-1948 Communist regime in Czechoslovakia persecuted him like it did other resistance fighters from the western front. The persecution left a permanent mark on him. Olga grew up in an environment where open discussion was held regarding the crimes perpetrated by Communists. She was used to having her family followed by State Security. They were bullied in various ways, from being forcibly evicted from their house in 1953 to being insulted at government offices, where they addressed her “Miss Reactionary”. Even so, she managed to earn a degree at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague and obtain employment at the National Library. Her hobby was the history of cartoon series, and this led her to become acquainted with the famous Czech boys’ books writer Jaroslav Foglar. In 1986 she participated in the samizdat publication of Píseň úplňku (Song of the Full Moon), which focused on the person of Jaroslav Foglar. She later worked at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and at the National Audit Office. She prepared her father’s memoirs, published as Dobří vojáci padli (The Good Died), and she helped publish other books about people who fought against totalitarianism their whole life.