"I've been to those demonstrations before. When the groundbreaking demonstration took place on 17 November, my wife and I were at the theatre in Žižkov Na Chmelnici, and we took the tram number nine. As we were passing through Národní třída, the tram stopped, and people were rocking the tram and calling out for us to come with them. There were already a lot of people there, so we got off too, and the tram left. Then the transporters came and shut it down. So we found ourselves at the closed National Avenue, which people still talk about. It was rough, but in terms of violence, it wasn't as rough as the previous demonstrations where these people got beaten really brutally. My wife and I managed to get out of there at about the last minute. There was so much pressure, and people were so squeezed they couldn't breathe. So somebody tried to get under the car to breathe. People were pushed against the shop window, which was already bent under the pressure. I thought this huge glass was about to crack and collapse on people... so I arranged with some guys, and we held it up so there wouldn't be so much pressure on the glass. Someone was letting people into their apartment in some house..."
"There was a (police) cordon. I remember seeing a photograph of a transporter driving and a boy sitting on the ground in front of it. He grabbed the plow with the grill, and the vehicle dragged him under. Then they closed the National Avenue. A girl and a boy were left there. The girl stayed behind the cordon, and the boy was on the closed side with us. The boy called out to her that when it was over to wait for him on the bridge, he would come there to see her. But the cops said, `You'll never see each other again.' We stood there, and it kept getting tighter. Then there was a crack, and I grabbed my wife... We had a little daughter at home who was born in April. My mother was watching her so we could go to the theatre. So I was worried. When the crack appeared, I squeezed through with my wife... and then when we got home, I put on Free Europe and Voice of America and listened to what was going on."
"They were evicting kulaks, and my grandfather knew about it. But everyone hoped it wouldn't happen. They were at home there. There was a regional committee in Hlinsko that organized the eviction, and that committee was in charge. But they helped certain people to get some property. The committee was in charge of making inventories of the property and determining what people were allowed to keep. But even in the inventory, they didn't list everything they took from people, and they just kept those things. They probably did it on a large scale because somebody turned them in. While this was happening, the director of the Hlinsko Savings Bank came to my grandfather and let him know that the money had arrived for his eviction. It was, therefore, a matter of days and weeks before Grandpa and Grandma would get evicted. In the meantime, all the people on the committee got arrested for stealing. So Grandpa wasn't evicted anymore... When people get the chance to get to the top, and they say the things that they assume are right to say, and they have no morals, it's easy for them to get somewhere. They'll take advantage of that and get to the top. They were hurting Grandpa, and these bums from the village got the highest. They would get into high places, but they would drop back because they were helping themselves to property. For example, the one who was shaking to get our pub so he could run it. But then he made that big deficit..."
I was from a kulak family and I felt wronged for what my ancestors had gone through
Aleš Blahý Oplíštil was born on 25 May 1965 in Moravská Třebová into the family of Ing. Aleš Oplíštil and his wife Marie, who was a teacher. Grandfather František Oplíštil was a rural businessman in Dolní Holetín near Hlinsko, where he owned stone quarries, a pub, and a farm. During the war, the Oplíštil family kept sketches of the burnt-down Ležáky, which were hidden by the painter Jaroslav Hudec. After the communist takeover in 1948, the Oplíštil family were labeled as kulaks (Communist label for wealthy farmers) and were to be evicted, which did not happen. The Unity cooperative ran their pub, and they were allowed to work there. The witness’s father got expelled from the secondary agricultural school in the 1950s, and his older brother enlisted in the Auxiliary Engineering Corps in the uranium mines. His father worked as a dredger and later graduated from college while working. Aleš Blahý Oplíštil trained as a mechanic of electronic equipment. In 1984-1986, he was in military service in Náměšt’ nad Oslavou. At the end of the 1980s, he participated in anti-communist demonstrations and spent 17 November 1989 on Národní třída. In 2023, he lived in Prague.