“I was in the same class as Ivan Klíma and Miroslav Červenko. I was so scared of them. They were both members of the Communist party and they were very serious on keeping an eye on the black swans. My husband saw the GEN documentary dealing with Klíma and he told me: ‘you’re treating him unjustly, look, he was in Theresienstadt’. I told him: ‘Majko, the point is, that in that documentary, they left out five years of his life, the period of his university studies’. Today, the situation is different. Let’s forgive each other. He said that he’s sorry about what he did. He said that he was misguided. I can only thank God for not being misguided.”
“I had to go to a screening and director Novák from Týn, who was a member of the Communist party, was an unostentatiously brave man. When I walked to that screening I was trembling with fear. I said to myself that I’d defy them in any case: ‘I won’t betray my religion, my mom would get a stroke. I lead Scouts and I live my life in accord with the rules of scouting’. But that director, he was simply great. When I entered the room, he told his secretary to make the members of the commission some coffee, that they’re tired. He said that he’d take care of me himself in the meantime. Then he looked at me and said: ‘your husband works in the forest, you have to commute from Bechyně. Would you like to have an apartment?’ I nodded in response but I was still waiting for that blow. He allegedly said to those Communists: ‘that poor fellow Čechová, her husband works like a dog in the forest, she has three kids to look after and that woman is supposed to be a scout leader on top of all of that? I don’t believe that’. He’s no longer alive but he was the sort of an unostentatiously brave man that God would put into my path at grave times.”
Our study group was guided by the rule: free your mind of many things, focus on the spiritual and work on yourself
Jiřina Čechová was born in 1932 in České Budějovice. After the war, she joined a Boy Scout troop and through it she got involved in the activities of the group “Kruh” (The Circle) around Dr. Pavel Křivský, who organized seminars and lectures in the field of scout education, psychology and philosophy for young people. After she began studying at Charles University in Prague (she was in the same class as Ivan Klima, whom she remembers), she came into closer contact with the members of the Kruh. The experience from the Kruh became one of the most important chapters in her life. During her time in the Kruh, she was able to absorb the principles of humanity, friendship and brotherhood and this formative experience enabled her to survive the next forty years of socialism. In the course of the trumped-up process with Pavel Křivský, she was interrogated several times by the StB1. She became a lifelong high-school teacher and as such, she was subjected to many injustices and humiliations by the regime. But she has never bowed to the regime. Together with her husband and others she founded a scout troop in Bechyně in 1968. In 1989, she signed the declaration “A Few Sentences” without hesitation and she became an instructor at the first tests of scout leaders after the Velvet Revolution. Jiřina Čechová died in 2014.