JUDr. Milan Brunclík

* 1952  

  • "Now we will jump thirteen years further back into 1981. I was not allowed to enter the Czechoslovak Radio and Television, but here in Turnov, when some events took place and there was no sound engineer, they asked me to do it. That's how I participated in the working group of Turnov Summer Cinema Film Festival. As in other cinemas in the country, foreign films were screened in the summer, about which the one-eyed Jan Kliment wrote in Rudé právo that we would not be able to watch this film. However, it was necessary to cover the attendance of the cinema, because no one came to watch the Soviet films, maybe only five or six spectators. Top French and American films were screened, and some day in June 1981 a film was screened in Turnov. It was an adventurous film with Alain Delon, and suddenly during the screening, while the cinema was full, there were about three thousand people, it was crowded, people were sitting on the baulks... So, during the screening, a bunch of strange comrades came there. I say that those State Security officers and KGB officers that they had such a face. The group came there and ordered to stop the film and turn on the microphone. I had to do that. They began to read the names of people they somehow knew were in the cinema as spectators and told them to get on the ' Praga V3S trucks' which were in front of the cinema. They read the names and the men, as confused as sheep, entered the ' Praga V3S trucks'. They just left. They took them from their families, from their wives and children who were with them, they took them somewhere far away. It was June 1981. We found out that they had been in the woods in Poland for ten days. They were just worried, I got it from a colleague from Kadaň, he said: 'Look, they gave us sharp bullets. I wondered what I would do if I had to shoot. I didn't know what I would do if I shoot myself or someone else.' None of the people I knew were there, nobody wanted to talk to me in Turnov. I was known as a dissident, so people were afraid to talk to me when I asked them. So, I couldn't take anyone in Turnov for direct testimony of what was going on there, but none of them had to fight, they were just waiting. They didn't have to shoot, they were hungry, they were lice infested, there was no hygiene at all. They only gave them some uniforms. That's the memory. The worst part is that their special military service was over and only a minimum of their wives and their so-called survivors had left the cinema. They were stumbled and watched the movie. It was directly related to the Solidarity movement, a state of emergency. They were to be deployed for some fights, because the situation in Poland was aggravated. But our army was not used, it was just ready. Do you know what is interesting? There is very little material on that. I was looking for something, but I found almost nothing about this. Only a few of my acquaintances, when I reminded them, said, 'There was something like that.' But people have passed, this event has passed. It was horrible for me the fact that they take away thirty husbands, lovers, parents."

  • "These Poles, the commanders of those Poles, were meeting with the Czech commanders in Turnov at night and were saying that the way they behaved chivalrously towards us, our people should behave similarly, when we would go there in three years to occupy Poland. It should be noted that the specific and pleasant behavior towards the Czechs towards the Czechoslovaks, it was within the group that occupied Turnov. For example, next to Jičín, that is twenty kilometers away, a group of Poles got drunk and shot four or five Czech people at one crossroads. Somewhere they acted like complete beasts. We had a very positive experience in Turnov in this sense. I recorded these facts, as they were meeting in Turnov, for a sound film. At that time, it was rare enough for someone outside Czechoslovak television to make a synchronous sound film. I had the equipment to do it.”

  • "But most importantly, Turnov was not occupied for three days. Thousands of tanks and armored personnel carriers rode on the outskirts of Turnov. They even demolished the Pyram pylon, but none of them got into Turnov. There was a rumor among the people that they would not come here because Turnov would be exemplary bombed. There was a large Czechoslovak military garrison in Turnov. Honza and I calmed people down a little cautiously, but not so much, we didn't want to be morally responsible. There was no information, one source, another, third. So, we were doing it somehow. It happened that only on August 23, 1968, around ten o'clock, a convoy of Polish armor arrived in front of the barracks. The Turnov soldiers rolled up the gate, they had rocket launchers there. Colonel Jareš went to some Polish colonel and says: 'Look, my friends, if you don't go away over the city within two hours, we'll shatter you, even with a half of Turnov.' And the Poles went away over Turnov to the forest on Hruštice and never even showed up in the city. Until the occupation at the beginning of November, the Turnov barracks were occupied by the Russians and the Soviets."

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I’ll make you heroes. - Wait until we die, we don’t want to end up in Siberia

Milan Brunclík as a student, 1970
Milan Brunclík as a student, 1970
photo: archive of Milan Brunclík

The lawyer, cinematographer, television and radio creator Milan Brunclík was born on January 28, 1952 in Turnov. At the age of six he got his first camera, and at the age of twelve he was already making reports for the show Vlaštovka on Czechoslovak television. As a student, he invented a unique radio microphone, the so-called artificial head, which recorded sound from all directions. He was the only person with a camera and a radio microphone who, during the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, recorded the dramatic events around the arrival of Polish occupation troops in Turnov. The Poles arrived in the city two days later than the Soviet troops in Liberec or Prague, on August 23, 1968. They mistaken Turnov for Trutnov. The Czech soldiers in the Turnov barracks therefore managed to prepare rocket launchers and they did not let the Polish troops inside. Russian troops then occupied Turnov in November. Milan Brunclík participated in the anti-occupation broadcast with Václav Havel and Jan Tříska in the Czechoslovak Radio studio in Liberec. In 1969 he collaborated with Václav Havel on his famous show Čechy krásné, Čechy mé. From 1976 until the Velvet Revolution, the regime banned him from working as a journalist, but he still filmed underground stream and earned his living mostly as a corporate lawyer. In 1989, he founded a regional television in Turnov, which he still operates. He taught television journalism at Charles University for fourteen years.