Jiří Brabec

* 1954  

  • "That Saturday, I found an old Czechoslovak flag at home, that used to be in a first-republic house we had bought. Old, faded. So I took her with me and the flag was maybe a meter fifty, maybe two meters long, it used to hang on the house. So I took it to the square expecting something to happen. A freezing westerly wind was blowing, so I could carry the flag and it flew beautifully. I've seen a few people go there too. The time that was there was 6pm, I believe, on that flyer. I came to the lower part of the square, I went alone, of course I didn't take anyone from the family with me. There were one, two acquaintances I arranged to meet with, so they came there too. And we were moving through the lower square, and I think fifty to a hundred people started to gather there, it's hard to estimate. We were still waiting for what would happen, and nothing happened. Rather, the people gathered around the two of us because I had the flag. And that was a centerpiece for those people, because no one else had the flag there. So they thought it was us who called it. But we came up with something that someone announced. "

  • "As for the military part, there was a military garrison of about a hundred people who were stationed there, so they guarded everything there. And they guarded both the civilian part and the secret part. The secret part was on the side where there is nothing today, only one building, there are fields. It is to the right of you as you drive away from Litomyšl. There was a forest of antennas and it was really a jammer for the international broadcasting of Free Europe. Few people know that it was a jammer for countries other than Czechia. The Czech Republic was jammed, as I learned, from Hungary and the Soviet Union, somewhere in Ukraine. This was given by the physical properties of the propagation of those waves. So the transmitter for Czechoslovakia of Free Europe was in Spain, and those waves propagated in some leaps by reflection from the ionosphere. That wave from us joined that wave for the Soviet Union. to have a certain impact. The interference is not immediately strongest in the place of the transmitter, but it continues to act. This is also due to the direction of the antennas. For it to be most effective, it must be elsewhere than where [the radio] is to operate.”

  • "I know, of course, the telephone lines were monitored, under surveillance. In retrospect, I learned that they immediately had all the information about us in Svitavy at the StB department, all the cards from us and all the data. So they were watching us, but I don't think there was an order from anywhere to take any action. If there were, they would execute it. They knew everything about us, but the order did not come. And we more or less felt a little fearless by the fact that we were already publicly known and that we were already rescuable if something were to happen. But it could, of course, turn into repressions, as we can see in various other countries, but probably none of us have thought about it. Personally, I cannot say I was afraid. "

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    Polička, 01.10.2020

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The flag fluttered beautifully in the wind

Witness in 2nd or 3rd grade, Polička, around1962-63
Witness in 2nd or 3rd grade, Polička, around1962-63
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Jiří Brabec was born on September 12, 1954 in Polička, but he spent a large part of his childhood with his grandparents in nearby Široký Důl. The mother’s family farmed here successfully for generations, but in 1958 both grandparents were forced by the authorities to join the agricultural cooperative (JZD). The time spent with his grandparents greatly influenced the witness and he remembers them with love. Unfortunately, their background and life experience negatively affected his cadre profile, and after completing compulsory schooling, he was only allowed to start apprenticeship as an auxiliary worker in heavy industry. However, for health reasons, he was given an exception and was eventually able to study at the Vocational School of Communications in Brno. He applied and expanded on the knowledge gained there throughout his life. During the war, he served at the exchange and later worked on the construction of missile firing positions in Prague also as a signalman. After the war, he worked briefly at Tesla Jihlava on the installation of security systems and subsequently moved to the position of communications maintenance manager at a strictly guarded foreign radio transmitter in Pohodlí u Litomyšle. Just before the revolution, the manager offered Jiří Brabec a job at a local collective farm. The task of the newly launched operation was to perform service activities for the West German company Weber, and thanks to this, the witness visited West Germany before the Velvet Revolution. On November 25, 1989, he took part in the first demonstration in Polička, where, by coincidence, he also became a spokesman and a day later one of the founding members of the local Civic Forum. He oversaw the removal of political leaders from local business leadership and the municipal office. Immediately after the revolution, he started a business and opened a shop with new and used electronics.