Ondřej Černý

* 1966  †︎ 2023

  • "17. August, that’s when you were born. We got pissed like dogs with David. I tried to climb across a telephone booth to some roof at night and I was yelling that Eliška was born. Two policemen in civil dress tried to arrest me. So I told them that I am going nowhere, because my daughter was born. They told me to stop climbing and yelling, and that I should go celebrate my daughter's birth somewhere else. I concluded that they were really nice and I offered them to sign the petition Několik vět (Several sentences). So, after they freed us in the morning, we went to sleep, woke up, and they arrested us right away. They took me to the Pankrác (prison) and my brother was transported somewhere out of Prague... Of course, I took note of them at the Pankrác. Despite the fact that it was just 4 days of imprisonment, it wasn’t pleasant at all. I knew that you had been born, I did not know what was happening. I had a separated cell for 2 out of those 4 days. I was scared. During the time they took me out somewhere, they told me what... that they will take care of you – “Don’t be afraid, we will take care of her and of your wife as well. After you leave the jail, you will see what a bastard your son will become. I will take care of him personally.” And so on..."

  • "It was such an action, it was an experiment to see how it will end up. We called a meeting of NMS (IPA) and it was 100% public. So we ordered a bus, we were leaving form Prague. We published that it will happen. There was some forest camp and there was also some room. We should have met there to talk, stayed overnight, and went home the next day. I thought that we should have gone home the next day. We arrived there by bus. People form other regions arrived too and we made fire...Some girl went out, I know it was a fog or a mist outside, she dashed back wide-eyed into room and she said – The forest is full of policemen. I know that I took a look outside and it looked demonic there, because there was a valley and in it a neverending line of uniformed men. So much for a forum..."

  • "It was like a dream in 1990, at the beginning. There were concerts everywhere, which people actually wanted to take place. Allen Ginsberg came to Prague and also Rolling Stones played here. I felt like in a dream. Clubs were opening everywhere. Instead of a stoker I became a novice journalist and then an editor. I was doing work which I enjoyed. There was something happening everywhere all the time, it was so nice. One friend of mine, a Polish girl, told me – “Look, I’m giving it maximally one year, and it will turn to be the same as with us: everything will turn into a mess, people will start talking rubbish, everything will get fought about and this nationwide happening will end. Of course I didn’t trust her. I don't remember how long it took, but the good things did end. And the real politics started."

  • "At the time I had prearranged meetings for the next week. We rode with Honza Chudomel to Brno and Bratislava. We left for Brna where we found out that there would be another demonstration in Prague. The next day, we found out about another demonstration at the same time and we were thinking - What the hell? So we left for Bratislava... When we came back, it was Thursday of Palach‘s week, which was the worst day, we heard that it was really bad but how bad we found out only at the moment we came to Prague, because we had all information from second hand or from Svobodná Evropa, which we didn't listen much ourselves. So somebody told us that on Svobodná Evropa they told them. So when we came back, the mood there was absolutely different, it was like absolutely different city. It was a city which witnessed week of threshing from policemen. I was speaking with people form my surroundings and they told me – Look, the Thursday is the end. My brother David, who was beaten up too, told me that it was a punitive raid, that they were catching people on streets and they beat them on streets, so to teach them to stop demonstrating. It was a lecture given to the people on streets. And on Thursday, they beat people badly. They didn't just drag them through the streets but they hurt them with all their strength."

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 21.03.2013

    duration: 04:11:51
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I’m glad that I got involved with events in the 1980s

Ondrej Cerny - period photography
Ondrej Cerny - period photography
photo: rodinný archiv pamětníka

Ondřej Černý was born on 23. 8. 1966 in Prague. He got married in high school and began a family, which gave him a place to go when he was unhappy with the outside world. In 1986, he decided that he wanted to get involved with society and the protests against the regime. After the demonstration in the Old Town Square in 1987 he wrote a letter to the Minister of the Interior and on it‘s base he was approached by one of the initiators of the Independent Peace Association - Initiatives for the demilitarization of society (NMS -IDS). This was how Mr. Cerny emerged as a powerful voice at 20 years old and remained so for the second half of the 80’s. He actively participated in the demonstration of Skroupovo Square, Palach’s week, and the actions of the Company for the Joyful Present. He was also an organizer of the NMS. He was detained many times, and in 1988 he signed Charter 77. After the revolution, he helped with the transformation of Czech media as an editor. Ondřej černý passed away on June, the 18th, 2023.