Václav Cigler

* 1929

  • “It was just horrible how our people treated the Germans. Those Germans who surely deserved their fate. But the people were treating them the same way the Germans had been treating us. In the end, if certain part of German defense was broken and they would lie in the square dying, Czech ladies would kick them savagely and stomp on their faces.”

  • “On one occasion, my stepfather told me about this plan he had: there were this Gestapo headquarters in town and at noon they would have this pause and they would eat by the windows which were usually open. And he had this idea that he would sneak nearby, throw some grenades inside and wipe out this whole Gestapo unit. And he invited me to dinner as he had a son of the same age as I was. And as we were eating, someone started to bang on the door. And it showed up that the two most brutal Gestapo-men were outside. They asked my friend, who had this hearse to take them to the Gestapo station. He had to agree, and as I also needed to get home, he said, 'Great.' And he would sit me back in the car between those two bastards. And I was just gazing at their hands, at their feet, knowing what was being planned. I knew that the limbs were still in the right place but tomorrow they no longer would. And all of a sudden, I realised that I felt pity for these men. Being born in a different time, and thinking differently, they wouldn´t be in danger of an ambush. So I felt this some kind of false pity for them... Besides, I was raised a Christian, so I got into this inner conflict of sorts.”

  • “In the evening, I would go to meet my mother as she was coming back from work. It was in the evening, and I saw that Germans were leading someone from that office of theirs, a man covered with bandages, this white, Lazarus-like figure. And they were walking around him. The man was probably very much tortured previously. Despite that, he sprung to live and with his arms open he was eliminating the Germans by hitting them in...” - 'He started to fight them?' - 'That was his only... He didn´t think about it. He just knew that it was dangerous for them if he would hit them there. And that before they would recover, before they would be able to stand up, he would run away to the bushes by the river. And that was what happened. In that horrible condition he managed to run along the river, reaching this mill after several kilometers, and as he suspected that the Germans would pursue him, which indeed happened, the only solution he found was to jump under the mill wheel, into the ice-cold water, where he waited for quite a long time till the Germans marched pass him. By doing that he saved himself. And he was saved by this senior doctor who offered that he would take care of him. And indeed, the doctor was able to cure his pneumonia.”

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    Praha, 26.01.2018

    duration: 02:01:41
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Glass communicates with light

Václav Cígler, an artist and glass designer, was born on April 21st 1929 in Vsetín. As his parents had been divorced before he was born, he had been raised by his mother and his stepfather, a funeral parlour owner. During the Second World War, both his mother and his stepfather participated in the resistance, they had been hiding a fugitive participant of the Slovak National Uprising and were also helping their Jewish fellow citizens financially. After graduating from a gymnasium type secondary school, he had been studying at the Higher, Secondary and Apprentice Glass School in Nový Bor. From 1951 to 1957, he studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Praha) at Josef Kaplický´s studio. In the 60s and the 70s, he was the head of the Studio of Glass in Architecture at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Bratislava. He had created many objects of art and works of architecture, for example the glass objects at Prague (Praha) Metro stations Náměstí Míru and Náměstí Republiky.