“And on the border the wires had been removed on a certain section of about 200 or 300 meters. And the Austrians had been waiting on the line, with a cauldron full of mulled wine prepared. And they had been waiting exactly on the borderline. And as we were standing there, we shouted: ‘Come here to us!’ – ‘We cannot! The borderline is here!’ – ‘Come anyway, it’s nothing…’ – ‘No, no, we’ll stay here.’ So, they stood there all lined up one next to each other, abiding by the law. Well, then our people came and there were some speeches. And when the speeches were over, then it became probably the most mass illegal border crossing that had ever happened because around three thousand people shot out to Austria and started mingling with the Austrians. There was a brass band of course, flags were flying, the Austrian TV was there. I can’t recall whether our TV was there as well or not. But the Austrian surely was because they later aired it on ORF. Well and people scattered into the cellars there where they had fun… It was actually quite moving because people who had not seen each other for a long time met there and I don’t mean just relatives but also old codgers who had not seen each other since 1948 when the wires… when the Iron Curtain had been built. So, it was pretty tense with the locals. They all hugged. Because these old Austrians could still speak Czech and ours, the old ‘Poštorani’ could speak German. Because it had simply been so close to each other and they remembered.”
“As was usual for the long-haired ‘Máničky’, we sat around in pubs and discussed important things while drinking bear. Besides other things, they also came there with the ‘Několik vět’ petition, so we read it and were talking about it and signing it. And so, this was already a time when people were laughing – this period preceding November. When the fear had begun to fade away. That’s what preceded November.”
“In the factory in Hodonín, in Sigma, there was one class of Koreans. Apprentices. Basically, they were engineers from Korea who were completing a vocational school in Czechoslovakia and I taught them. I taught them civics because they spoke Czech pretty well and they were like really curious. And when November 17 came, they asked about it, what was counter-revolution or war, what it meant and so on. So, I explained to them that it was not a counter-revolution and that no one was being executed, that there’s no shooting. In the back they of course had this political supervision – surveillance. And their supervisor just sat there and looked really mad. Because they really were curious, like small children. And they were inquiring about democracy and freedom. We spent a couple of hours talking about that but it ended when I came to class one day – and I think it was after that week, so let’s say November 20–25 – and the class was empty. That’s how I learned from the headmaster that the Koreans had left to go home for Christmas. Which is… well, they don’t celebrate Christmas. I also learned that they would come back after New Year’s but of course they never came back.”
Those who were decent before the revolution are decent now and the bastards have remained bastards
Milan Blažek was born June 12, 1962 in Hodonín into a family that was not engaged in politics. He spent part of his childhood in Vysočina, later they moved to Břeclav. He began to get politically involved on his own because he craved freedom of speech and loved literature that had been hard to get at that time. He signed the ‘Několik vět’ petition in the summer of 1989. He was working as a teacher at the Vocational School in Hodonín at the time. Seeing the shots from November 17, 1989 at the Národní avenue in Prague encouraged him to join the revolution actively. He was one of the first participants of the first demonstration in Břeclav on Wednesday November 22. What followed was a meeting in photographer Milan Bruchter’s apartment where the Civic Forum was formed, and which Milan then represented as its spokesperson. On Saturday November 25, the demonstrations in Břeclav were joined by three thousand people. He took part in “exporting the revolution” to small towns and villages where they explained people what had been going on in the big cities. He remembers that despite the initial fear he eventually got involved in the activities with full commitment, regardless of the potential consequences. He co-organized the happening ‘Hands of Europe’ in December 1989 – a human chain stretching to the Austrian border. As of 2019, he lived in Břeclav-Poštorná.