Vladimír Brabec

* 1924  

  • “After the situation began to normalize, then when Husak was elected secretary, he invited us, the leadership of CTK, Jindra Suk and me, to the lounge of the Autoclub in Politickych veznu street. We were not alone, there were other journalists, chief editors. He persuaded us to join his policy. By joining him and supporting his policy, he guaranteed that we would maintain the positions of senior officials of our institutions. It was a tempting offer by Husák that he wanted to gain an important background among journalists: he succeeded in part, some of them accepted the policy of normalization, but Jindra Suk and I said clearly: not Husak, but Dubček. Although it was already clear that the leadership of the party fell into the hands of Husak. I believed at least - when we talked whether or not to run abroad - I shared my hopes with Provazník that Husak would not repeat the persecution that occurred in the 1950s, that he would learn from it and that we would stop working, or they fire us from our jobs at most. But some of us, especially Luboš Fišer, when we talked to him, made it clear that he was leaving Czechoslovakia, because he believed there would be some arresting.”

  • “And that autumn there was mud, cold rain, it was terribly difficult, people were pretty sick. And then we decided to strike. So the whole Czech bunch - and not only the twenty-fourth year, but also the boys, the twenty-first year, all joined in and we started the day of strike. Everything was upside down. Czechs, they can afford to strike! But we hesitated in the quarters. We discussed it: will we strike, will we stay here in those quarters? Some said, no, they would easily get us here, we would scatter into the forest. I said, that was stupid. They had dogs, and they would let them go. It was best if we lined up and met them. And that's what happened. We create three lines and went towards the factory. We were caught by the Werkšusáci, who went for us again. They took us under guns and dogs, the dogs around us, and we went to the factory. In the factory we were placed in front of the boss's house, the SS officers, not the SA, but the SS, and a senior SS officer. They stood us there, we stopped for a while. Then came the whole patrol, then the boss came and started yelling at us, as we dare striking in the middle of the war, their youth that must be on the front, that many people are dying on the front, and we have such a calm and secure job here. Our life is not endangered and we dare to strike. He scolded and said, 'As a warning, I will hang one of you up in front of the factory.' There was, of course, a deep silence. 'Choose one of you.' Shall we choose? Even deeper silence. 'If you do not choose I will: there,' he pointed to Pepíček. He was the kid from the groupu we used to go to a pub in Magdeburg. He hosted us with the bacon he got from home, from the countryside. And now they wanted to hang him. When he pointed to Pepík I got revolted and started yelling at Colonel SS: 'No need to hang anyone, people need to get better shoes! Are people supposed to walk barefoot in this mud? If we had at least clogs! ' There were no clogs. But we knew the clogs were in the warehouse, even big boots.”

  • “The first thing we did was building barricades. I was in the group of František Juhan. He had the task of ensuring defence, making the troops inaccessible to the Nazi, Hitler tanks, the way from Štěchovice, where they had a center in Hradisko, to prevent this southern access to Prague. We secured that, but it was very inadequate until the Vlasov army members arrived. The commander of František Juhan was General Bartoš, who lived at the freight station in Smíchov. And he started using me to get in touch with the Vlasovs. I was given the task of bringing the Vlasovs to somewhere to shoot from the guns. They had lighter movable cannons. We went to stand them at the Chuchle church, there to take a position for the possible arrival of tanks from Štěchovice, which really happened, the tanks really went there. But they had arrived at the Chuchle intersection and Vlasovs had opened fire. There was a fire, fortunately it ended so that the Germans, the tanks did not return fire back to the Vlasovs and the church, but turned around and headed back to Štěchovice. So, the task of preventing the arrival of tanks was accomplished. At the same time, we built a barricade with a group of František Juhan and the volunteers who applied for it, mainly from paving stones.”

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    Praha, 06.09.2018

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I do not believe in God, but in kind relationships between people

Vladimír Brabec in 1950s
Vladimír Brabec in 1950s
photo: Vladimír Brabec v 50. letech

Journalist, long-time editor of the Czech News Agency and founder of Hospodářské noviny, Vladimír Brabec, was born on May 1, 1924 in Netvořice. He grew up in Prague in an intellectually and spiritually inspiring environment: he studied at the prestigious Edvard Beneš Grammar School, his father worked with the National Socialists. Vladimir was a member of the congregation of the Czechoslovak Church. Inspired by the Masaryk´s religious philosophy, he decided to study theology. Studies were soon interrupted by total commitment to work in a German factory. In May 1945 he participated in the Prague uprising and liberation of Prague. After the war he worked as an assistant professor at the Hus Faculty of Theology, and in 1949 he began working as an editor of the Czech News Agency (ČTK). As a member of the Social Democratic Party, after its merger with the Communist Party, was transferred to the Communist Party. In 1949 he stayed in Paris as a scholarship holder for the French government. At the end of the 1950s he was involved in the construction of an extensive foreign economy editorial office for the ČTK, and published a number of newsletters informing about Western markets. In the 1960s he was close to the reform group of Ota ŠIk; after the August occupation of 1968 he organized an improvised broadcast of ČTK abroad. In 1969, Vladimir was dismissed from ČTK and worked in a municipal services company. In 1990 he stood at the birth of Hospodářské noviny.