Mgr. Libuše Černá

* 1953  

  • “I was at home when the phone rang in the middle of the night. There was the boyfriend of my sister on the line, saying, ‘We are occupied’. I didn’t understand it at all. And then I heard the thunder of the planes. For years later I couldn’t bear the sound of planes. Of course it was a huge shock. And then the situation after August 21 when we awoke and tanks were everywhere in the streets. There were tanks even in front of the memorial tank at Újezd. All main points in the city were occupied. And we lived it. With everything that was a part of it.”

  • “By a coincidence I got to a man who worked at the Ministry of Education. I think he was a member of the Party but we never spoke about it. His name was Krpata. An interview was arranged with him and this interview was, in fact, an alternative entrance exam. He tested me indeed. And when we finished, he said, ‘I think as far as your knowledge is concerned, there is no problem for you to study. As far as your cadre assessment is concerned, it is out of question. I can arrange an extramural study for your, but daily study, that is not in my power really.”

  • “After the 1968 holiday we all went hop picking. It was already before the first year at the university. Soviet troops were stationed in the area and we were naturally confronted with them during our jobs. Once it happened that the troops suddenly arrived and arrested all of us. They said we had cut some wires and that we were saboteurs. The situation became very dangerous for us. Eventually, we were saved by our Russian teacher who spoke to them and persuaded them to release us.”

  • “Two girls from a higher grade suddenly disappeared. There was a terrible panic what had happened to them. They did not arrive until evening and they arrived in a Russian Jeep with soldiers. This was the other side, those who were friendly with the Russian troops. The night they returned, their fellow students cut their hair. They had to leave and there was a scandal about it, as these were, naturally, girls from prominent communist families.”

  • “We spent the whole day in Bartolomějská street. It was like from Franz Kafka. We were sitting at a station, no one took note of us the whole day. Then we were interrogated, each of us separately, and they asked us absurd questions. The whole Kafkasque day ended by someone sending us to a tobacconist’s to buy a CZK 300 fee stamp and that was it.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Černá Libuše

    (audio)
    duration: 47:31
  • 2

    Praha, 09.04.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 02:05:36
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Faith strengthens your back

Libuše in 1957
Libuše in 1957

Libuše Černá was born on September 2, 1953, in Prague. From the age of fourteen she was actively engaged in the Church of Czech Brethren and the evangelic youth. Just before her school leaving exam she managed to travel abroad, for a month to France and for two months to London. After her graduation, she was not allowed to study, because of her background, so she started to work in the Academy of Sciences, department of western literatures. In the Academy’s library she got access to a typewriter, on which she copied the illegal samizdats by the end of the 1970s. In 1975 she was accepted for the evening study at the Faculty of Arts, however, the head of the department made it plain to her that he would not let her pass the final exam. It was at that time that she started pondering emigration. In April 1977 she married a man from the West Germany and a few months later she emigrated to Bremen. She completed her university education in Germany and already during her study she started working on the radio, where she spent the next twenty years. She thinks that her major programmes included interviews with Holocaust survivors. She and her husband try to deepen the relations between the Czech and German cultures by organising exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances and an international literary festival. Currently she is the chair of the Bremen Board for Integration.