Růžena Černá

* 1931  

  • “We lived in Vinohrady and we were overjoyed to see the bombers overhead, they were flying to Dresden it was said. We had a good view of the sky as we lived at the end of the block by the park and we also always heard the noise, the tremendous noise. We rushed to the window and watched with dad how high the planes were. They looked like small silver stars, but the noise was very loud. We said: ‘They’re flying to Dresden again, that’s great.’ One time we looked away because my two-year-old sister was there. Mom wasn’t at home and dad looked after her. All of a sudden we heard the bombs hit and dad said: ‘Jesus Christ, we’re being bombed, take mom’s fur coat and we will run to the cellar.’ Her coat was in the entrance hall. I was thirteen or fourteen at the time and really upset. So instead of the coat I grabbed dad’s sweat pants he wore to haul coal.”

  • “Karel taught at FAMU. So they told him: ‘Since you did not teach your daughter proper values – you will not teach students.’ So they took that away from him.”

  • “My dad worked for the Czechomoravian Association for Hops, Malt and Beer. He worked there for about thirty years. He was in several management positions. Today one would say director, but at the time it was a supervisor or something like that. Well, and after 1948 they demoted him to production.” Dad had tried to refuse the job - it was completely out of the question. So they had him sweep the grounds at the Smichov brewery. Dad was fifty-three at the time and an asthmatic since childhood so he visited a doctor – in those days you had to visit the company doctor in case of need – who said ‘What? They’re having you do this type of work? Ok, you will be retiring due to medical reasons. The doctor covered for him for a year or two until Dad received his early retirement due to medical reasons.”

  • “When Karel brought home a screenplay, he had to read it to find out what sets he will be building. Interiors and exteriors and so on… He had to think a lot about it before sitting down at the drawing board. Today, it’s all done on a computer, but back in the day it was all done on paper. What’s going to be where, what furniture and all that… So every time he was in the thinking process he cleaned up my food pantry. Every time. I told him: ‘Oh Jesus, you have a screenplay, you’re going to clean up my pantry again.’ So he reorganized everything while he thought about his project and later sat down to draw everything and that was it.”

  • “At the time he would have accepted the Artist of Merit title. He was constantly saying: ‘Everyone else got one…’ He never got one and, later, he was glad that he did not get one so he would not have to explain why.”

  • Since I had access to Austrian and German TV channels I theoretically could have watched the Oscars ceremony live, but the TV wasn’t working just then. No matter. With the time difference it was 4am in Prague and someone, I forget who, called me that Miloš Forman‘s Amadeus won eight Oscars. I was very excited and ran around and repeated over and over that we won an Oscar. Of course I didn’t know if Karel won, but since there were 8 Oscars for the film, I expected that we did. Six thirty in the morning Karel called and confirmed by saying ‘Yes, I won the Oscar, I won.’”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Tábor, 04.04.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 54:38
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Tábor, 31.07.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:33:01
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

You’re bringing a new screenplay? You will be cleaning the food closet again.

Růžena Černá
Růžena Černá
photo: Růžena Černá

Růžena Černá was born on October 21, 1931 at the U Apolináře hospital in Prague. When she was thirteen she witnessed the bombardment of Prague. Her family survived the ordeal unharmed. She studied at a gymnasium but left her studies unfinished to marry. She married Karel Černý who was to become a successful art director winning an Oscar for the film Amadeus as well as a Czech Lion award. A large part of the interview is about her husband’s work. She had two strange encounters with an armed patrol on the border with East Germany. Ms Černá also talks about family friend Václav Roziňák, one of the ice hockey players from the Czechoslovak national squad who were on a political trial in the 1950s. In 2009, she and her husband moved to Čekanice near the center of Tábor where one of their daughters lives.