Petr Bratský

* 1955  

  • "But as I say, we had small children, it was getting dark and already quite late. So my wife and I said we had to go. They have to eat at home and go to bed. It was already starting to thicken, we still slipped on the sidewalk and we got to Spálená on the metro and thanks to that we avoided the threshers, the horrible thing that happened there. I have no idea what would have happened if we had stayed there with those children and could hardly move. The poor students in front, we weren't that far behind them. We were actually very lucky that we had small children and had to leave with them. Of course the next day we heard the news, we all got mad angry. It was obvious to us that we got involved right away. I went to offer to be a scout if they needed anything. That's how I met those people - Vojta Sedláček was there, Ivan Havel. We met those people right away and were in touch from the beginning. Then the scouts opened such a window in Spálená, and we already knew that… Then on December 2, we resumed scouting again. There I played guitar in Klementinum, I wore shorts and a scout shirt. There was a terrible cold, and I said to myself, 'If we weren't afraid of the communists, we're not afraid of the frost either.' And those people who didn't get in, all those brothers and sisters, we sang scout songs in choir and we were really nice. There was a loud sound every time there was a break, because we listened to what was going on in the hall."

  • "We multiplied books banned at the time or books they didn't like. And when we copied the Black Barons, we wanted to have nice pictures. And one boy who went to the military service redrawned them there. But he couldn't think of anything better than doing it on the copier's membranes. Then he got a penny for it, went to a pub and cheerfully began to tell everyone, how he was drawing on membranes. And someone told on him. So then the police searched me, the State Security got confused, as everyone said: ´Bráca, Bráca.' And they were looking for the Bráca, who was in fact a student. And they couldn't find her anywhere, so they grew angrier. And then I undergone their interrogation. It was such a classic sort, I already knew that from scouting. One is always good and one is bad. The bad guy always starts and shouts at you, bangs on the table. Then come nice, offer a cigarette or a coffee. You don't accept anything, just reply: 'I don't smoke and don't drink coffee.' You deliberately speak very formally and act a bit stupid. That was the only time. They never caught me. Then we copied beautiful forbidden books, the real samizdats. In such a printer at the Federal Ministry of Finance. We went there from our company for lunch and I had a friend there, who worked as a bookbinder. He bound their five-year-olds, various business plans, they had perfect people there, and most importantly they already had copiers there, which already printed in color. I always brought a book or someone else did, and they printed twelve or fifteen pieces for example, and we were already handing them out. We had a large circle of readers, and the books were all used.“

  • "We came to Klatovy and there I met my mother, because my father was working in Prague at that time and our sister was in Slovakia. At night of August 21st to the 22nd, when my father came from Prague, we drove off also quite dramatically, because we had to cross a certain bridge in Prague in our Wartburg car, where the paving stones had already been torn out. And the car was quite low, but somehow he managed. We then went to Slovakia for my sister. So I went through all the convoys of tanks and armored vehicles that marched into our republic. We went against the line; many times Russian machine gunners stood there and we were not allowed to go any further, and we still had the Czechoslovak flag over the windshield, so my mother held it. And how many times did they pretend that if Dad drove through, they´d start firing at us. But they saw a child, so maybe it saved us a bit then. I was rocking my brains about it as a little boy; you know, I was only thirteen then. At the same time, gas stations put only ten liters of gasoline into cars, and we drove at night, and they were already closed. So we always begged someone and good people poured us gasoline our of their motorbike, for example. Because the Wartburg ran on gasoline with oil, we only had to have a two-stroke fluid. So most of the time they helped us in such a dramatic way, so we got to Nitra to Jelenka to see our sister. And then the next day they went back again."

  • Full recordings
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    Praha 13, 07.12.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 01:09:40
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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The settlement was an island of freedom

Petr Bratský as a child at a carousel in Klatovy
Petr Bratský as a child at a carousel in Klatovy
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Petr Bratský was born on April 8, 1955 in Klatovy, where he also grew up along with his parents and sister. He played basketball. In 1968 he joined the scout unit. He graduated from high school and industrial transport. Illegally under the banner of the youth tourist section and the tramp settlement, he remained faithful to the idea of scouting, and at university he later helped to spread samizdat literature and the text of Charter 77. He worked as an assistant professor at the Transport Development Center in Prague. After the Velvet Revolution, he co-founded the Civic Forum in Prague’s Lužiny and later became a member of the Civic Democratic Party. He worked in its ranks as a long-term mayor of the City District of Prague 13 and as a representative of the capital city of Prague. He held the mandate of a deputy for two terms, later he was a senator for one term. He and his wife Lída have two adult sons. In 2021 he is still involved in the organization and management of scout activities, he is the head of the scout unit of Velen Fanderlik.