Milan Čejka

* 1948

  • "When we wanted to perform some hilarious plays or titles that didn't quite fit the times or ideology, we had to compensate for it. We were asked to express ourselves in some active way. So we recited at various meetings and local national committee meetings. These were the so-called cultural interludes, when children sang - and of course they (the local national committee) wanted the people from theatre to recite there. So we had to recite poems from authors who wrote the way the party wanted. It was kind of a libation to the times and to the power. If we wanted something, we had to step back a little bit and go in there and recite things we didn't like."

  • "Of course, they wouldn't let us out of the military centre. It was all closed. We spent days lying on beds and the officers would walk between the beds and say, 'Guys, don't be stupid, it will blow over.' Suddenly we were not comrades and soldiers... [they said]: 'Guys, look, we have to sort this out, hopefully it will blow over. But make sure you don't go shooting anywhere and don't do anything stupid.' They tried to calm us down. Suddenly they were friendly. Suddenly we were friends with these lieutenants and captains that were supposed to be in charge. It was weird. But that lasted about a week or ten days - and then we were comrades again."

  • "So we were taught to greet each other 'Honour work!' It was a new way of greeting. We put the school desks to one side, the class was divided into two groups. One group was standing among one wall and the other group was among the other wall, and we walked passing each other and the teacher said, 'We won't say 'Hello' anymore, that's the old greeting. Now we greet each other with 'Honour work'."

  • Full recordings
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    Pardubice, 27.05.2021

    duration: 02:07:03
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We were asked to recite poems by pro-regime authors

Milan Čejka
Milan Čejka
photo: archiv pamětníka

Milan Čejka was born on 31 October 1948 in Kolín. He grew up in Svojšice, near Kouřim, where his father Emil got a school apartment in addition to his teaching position. Emil met his wife Milada through an advertisement in an evangelical newspaper. However, soon after their marriage (1947), their differing natures began to show and they divorced. Emil’s father became a member of the Communist Party in 1948. Milada, who came from a farming family from Libice nad Cidlinou, was the opposite. Milan and his younger brother moved to Libice nad Cidlinou in the late 1950s. This happened after their mother injured her cervical spine after an unfortunate accident and became paralysed. She underwent several surgeries in the following years and died from the effects of the medical procedure in 1966. The father refused to take custody of the children so the grandmother took them in to raise them. Milan continued his schooling in Libice nad Cidlinou and later he studied at the Secondary Industrial Engineering School in Čáslav. In the spring of 1968 he graduated and enlisted in the army. After a few weeks at a military reception centre in the border area, he experienced the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. From the 1960s he admired the Semafor theatre and after returning from the army he became a member of the Vojan theatre group, where he still performs today. He also keeps the chronicle about the modern history of the amateur theatre group. After the Velvet Revolution he worked in the cultural centre in Poděbrady, and regularly contributed to the regional Mladá Fronta newspaper and other weekly newspapers. At the time of the filming (2021), he lived in Libice nad Cidlinou.