There’s no difference if I speak this or that language. As long as I’m human
Petr Cígler was born on 12 July 1924 in Petrovice near Klatovy. His whole life he was greatly influenced by his father, a legionary in Russia, whose resistance activities during World War II landed him in prison in Pankrác, Terezín, and for almost five years in Dachau. The Cígler family moved frequently because Petr’s father worked in the civil service. In the 1920s he was stationed in Komárno, where he experienced ethnic clashes between Slovaks and Hungarians. During that time Petr grew up in the care of his grandparents. The beginning of the war found the family in České Budějovice. Petr was active in the Scouts troop Dvojka (Two). After his father’s arrest he and his ill mother moved to Petrovice, whence Petr commuted to the Klatovy grammar school and later to a secondary school in Pilsen. In 1944 he was assigned to forced labour in Kassel, Germany. After a failed escape attempt he was interrogated by the Gestapo in Weimar and interned in a subsidiary camp of Buchenwald concentration camp. At the beginning of 1945, with the battlefront encroaching on them, the camp was evacuated. Petr was transported to Erfurt, and then to Strakonice, where he worked with other prisoners at an aircraft factory. In spring 1945 he escaped and hid in the forests south of Pilsen until the end of the war. After the liberation he studied at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague and at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague. In 1948 he participated in the student protests against the Communist coup. He worked in subordinate positions at the Tesla plant in Hloubětín, and despite offers of emigration, his patriotism led him to decide to remain in his homeland. During the early 1970s he was employed as an external lecturer of informatics at CTU. Petr Cígler lives in Prague.