Lumír Čmerda

* 1930  

  • “State authorities decided that I was a too enthusiastic priest so they just have to stop me working. So they thought of pretence and did not approve some items, which were a part of the budget and already approved, but they did not mind at all. The moment I said that the church secretary stole the documents and did not approve the items listed in the budget properly I was kicked out for making fuss and daring to stand up against injustice. When I informed the assembly of church representatives I was going to finish and cannot suffer that stuff anymore and I was losing the state consent, the regional church secretary, who took the consent away from me, he came to the meeting so that he could see how devastated I was and during the break he told me: ,So Mr. Čmerda, what are you going to do? You actually got just your white hands and cannot do anything.‘ And I replied: ,Mr. secretary, before I was a priest, I was digging coal in the mine in Karviná and these hand were making nine thousand crowns a month, compared to my priest salary of 740 crowns. I could just easily go back to those thousands I earned before.“

  • „That Ostrava was really red, that was just fantastic. While the whole country disliked the occupants and avoided them too, the mayor of Ostrava gave the Russian, actually the Soviet commander, the best offices on the same floor as the office of the mayor was, or it was a primary´s. Also then Kempný ended up in the central committee, a big head. That was due to the fact he let Mr. general sit in the next door office. In Ostrava it was impossible to stay so I said to myself: My goodness, I am from Smíchov so why should I suffer in Ostrava begging for some fine artistic activity. So I will return to Prague and we will see.”

  • “The commission named me. So I learnt from the commission I was meant to meet with such and such architect, who had a task for me to do in an interesting house; they did not say which one. So I went to see him and he told me all. He was a bit communist and his mother was employed at the central committee of the communist party and that is why he got such a big job. So I listened to him and he explained to me, what the SNB and revolutionary traditions museum was and that there have to be the state signs and I should take that in account and I replied: ,Mr. architect there are only two options. Either, there will be state signs of the seven states and I will not work on this job. Or else, I will do the job but the signs will not be there. It is up to you to choose.‘ And he said: ,Well I was ordered to insist on the signs, but try it your way anyway.‘“

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    ZŠ Drtinova, 02.05.2017

    (audio)
    duration: 53:57
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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These white hands were digging coal down the mine

13-53-683x1024.jpg (historic)
Lumír Čmerda

Lumír Čmerda was born on 13th November, 1930 in Pilsen. At the age of seven his mother died. He studied theology and acted as an evangelic priest. After 1948 he was taken off the state agreement so he moved to Ostrava, where he was active as a painter of promotional posters. In 1973 he returned back to Prague and was a priest in the St. Nicolas cathedral at the Old Town square and later a fine artist.