Vladimír Buček

* 1952  

  • "I remember when we bought the TV in 1961, when my grandmother died and my dad inherited some money. So, he thought we would buy a TV, but where? At that time, my father and I went around the old theater and in front of the shop opposite to it there was a queue. My father saw it and he went there too. And some guy said they would bring TVs. So, he lined up. A queue of about sixty people formed. The shop manager came out in a white coat and said, 'People, you fools, don't stand here!' They said, 'We've found out, the TVs are coming, don't make a fool of us!' He said that he did not deny it, but that only nineteen pieces would come. My father was about twenty second. He told me to go home and tell my mother that he was standing in line for the TVs. So, to bring him a sweater, a coat, a fishing chair, coffee in a vacuum bottle, and a snack that he will be waiting there all night for the television. So, I brought it all to him. He said, 'Tell your mother to come and replace me at half past four, because I have to get to work from here. There I will somehow make it and come back here again. ‘My mother set up an alarm clock. My father sat there all night. In the end, he was seventeenth, because some people gave up. However, they brought the TVs, and as they brought them in, people started getting there, people who hadn't been standing there all night. But he defended it. The way he got it, he paid for it. They took it out, and now he was surprised, the TV heavy. They brought a clothesline, it was untied, handkerchiefs were taken so that it wouldn't cut, and that's how they dragged it all the way home."

  • "Normal Partisans operated in forest areas and raid trains or soldiers, simply harming the enemy, as they say. My mother was to be deployed to Germany, during World War II. But somehow it didn't work out for her, she wasn't eighteen yet, so they put her to forced labor here. She had to work, she went to engineering works in Adamov. She took the train every day to work in Adamov and back. There was arms production in Adamov. There were some prisoners inside the factory, they slept there and didn't get out. She was assigned there and her boss was a city Partisan. City Partisans - these were the people who sabotaged the production there, trying to bring the news out in some way, just to harm the Germans. They found my mother, she was a young, stupid girl, she knew nothing. She said she must have been at the production track, for example, and the leader said to her, 'Here it goes, and slam into every fifth like that.' But he watched her from a distance if the Gestapo happened to go around, so he would stop her. She shouted something that it didn't explode then, and she didn't even know it. When her boss found out that she went to Brno every day, he came up with a plan. He told her he couldn't get out of here and that he had an uncle in Komárov, and he wanted him to know he was okay here. 'Such a piece of paper, if you would give it to him. Just to his mailbox.‘ My mother didn't understand, it was written in secret codes anyway. Because she commuted, she was young and behaved naturally, she didn't know anything, so the soldiers at the gate, when they saw a young girl, smiling. So, my mother carried out the news, there were all sorts of secret codes about what was being made there, how much was being produced there, a message that a train would leave that day. She was just reporting, she didn't know it. She only found out after the war that she was working for the resistance movement without knowing it."

  • "They chased us out of the State Security department in such a line. There was already a bus ready. RTO, the older type. From the main door to the bus, an alley was made of cops and every one of them had a baton. And as everyone ran into the bus, they hit everyone. When someone fell down in that alley, they smashed him, kicked him. When it was my turn, I ran. I was such a nimble boy back then. I got two punches. I stopped before being hit again, so I ran into that bus and I got there almost on all four, on those stairs. They didn't hit me much. Maybe they didn't hit a young man like me that much. The bus then set off. I know Brno, so I know that we drove through Opuštěná street, under the viaducts, to the left Heršpická street, as there is the Bauhaus today, and we drove around the cemetery wall. Bohunice Prison. It was not possible to escape from the bus. They guarded it from inside. It was not possible to kick the window. There were such… not bars, but nets. The prison opened, the bus went in there, and the door closed behind us. We drove into the yard. They hit some batons off the bus again."

  • "When I returned with the camera, I went through the Masaryk street and immediately to the left, where the Tři kohouti are, to that street towards Zelný trh. At that time, it was not Zelný trh, it was called the Square of February 25th. So, I got there and I wondered, what the hell was going on here. Armored personnel carrier and people around it. They banged on it. They tried to rip off the antenna. A guy had a brick in his hand and was trying to break the taillights. Those people were angry, then. So, I took the picture. A beautiful close-up photo of someone beating up the light, the transporter. I went a little higher, I was already at Zelný trh. And upstairs, where the musical instruments are, there was a barricade built. So, I photographed it too. Then, I was looking at the soldiers across Radnická Street. It was impossible to know who they were, whether they were soldiers or militiamen. I was at a disadvantage then. I went to the city to take photos, capture the events, I didn't know it would be like that. I thought that I would take a picture of the soldiers walking through Radnická street, so I wanted to go closer. With that camera, with that Flexareta, if you want to have a good photo, you have to be close, and you're still looking through the top down. So, I went closer. And behind us, there was a crowd, if anyone started throwing rocks or what I don´t know. And they set off again with those batons. And as they set off, they ran past me, trying to catch those who were throwing the stones. I didn't see behind myself, I tried to make photos. Suddenly, they hit me, hit me on the camera. It fell to the ground. I tried to run, but there was nowhere to go. I was surrounded. So, they caught me. They took my camera. On Radnická Street at the side entrance, there I stood, there I was guarded by a militiaman, a soldier, or whatever he was. And in a moment there was another boy. Then some others came and took us and took us to the Public Security Department on Běhounská street."

  • "At the station, when I went out through the tunnel, I saw the chaos. The Russian soldiers on the tanks. So, I started taking pictures as much as possible. I went as close as possible to make the photos look like something. When I was moving in the area in front of the Brno 2 post office, which of course was also occupied by Soviet soldiers, I wasn't afraid at the time, I couldn't imagine it. Suddenly, like out of nowhere I was looking, or I maybe got scared as the window on the post office spilled out. And in the direction of Bašty, where the houses are, the upper floors somewhere, someone probably started throwing, some eggs, tomatoes or something on those tanks, at the soldiers on the cars as they were. A Russian soldier saw it. He probably smashed the window with his butt and did a ra-ta-ta-ta-ta, I saw the bullets... Well, it was a bad feeling. There was a shooting, but I kept taking pictures. I moved around the city to other places, to the theater on Malinovského náměstí, to the old one, and there were many people too, shops empty in a while. People had our flags and the flags that were always given to decorate May 1. People were running around with them. Then, I saw a crowd chasing a Soviet officer. As the soldiers wore the caps in a shape of boats, and the officer had a service cap like that, so it was an officer, they chased him somewhere, the crowd. I do not know where. It looked like they would hang him on a lamppost, I thought. These were all sorts of shots. The people were upset, you see."

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    Brno, 04.12.2019

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Shopping first, then taking pictures of the tanks

Vladimír Buček, 1969
Vladimír Buček, 1969
photo: archive of the witness

Vladimír Buček comes from Brno, where he was born on December 18, 1952. From an early age, he devoted himself to photography. He lived with his parents and a sister near the city center, where he also documented the occupation of Warsaw Pact troops with a camera in August 1968. Brněnská Rovnost printed two of his photos taken in front of the Central Station building. In August 1969, he went to the center again to photograph the ongoing protests of citizens against the occupation. It resulted in an arrest and a three-week stay in the Bohunice custodial prison. His parents obtained his release on the basis of a commitment that the defendant would be present at the trial. The court withdrew the accusation of disobeying the public official’s call and obstructing the performance of the public official’s service. Vladimír Buček trained to be a chef and remained faithful to this profession for 25 years. He spent six years with his family in the Krkonoše Mountains, where he cooked in the recreation center of the Ministry of the Interior. From there he went as a chef to the canteen of the Regional Administration of the National Security Corps in Brno. After 1989, he worked as a driver of a bus for the Brno City Transport Company. He is currently retired and is actively involved in many interests. Let’s name the track commissioner at motorcycle races and membership in the Police Historical Society for all of them.