Miroslav Čuban

* 1936

  • "Again, the resentment was shown, I think it was March, that famous hockey game against Russia, when we wiped the floor with them. The game was barely over when the whole town swarmed as one man, and we marched down to the barracks, where we cheered, sang the national anthem and shouted for them to go someplace. For a while, they kept their nerves, but then they couldn't stand it. The doors opened and out came the armoured men. Not like they ran into us, but they circled the city to show that they were the bosses here. The same thing on New Year's Eve of 1968. They parked tanks in various places, for example here in the Old Town Square in front of the Grand Hotel and in front of important buildings. There were tanks standing there with their barrels at the ready to scare people off."

  • "I arrived in Boleslav, here, under the Boleslav Castle where the intersection of Nádražní Street and Ptácká Street is, and tanks were pouring in from Ptácká Street. I was angry and tense, so I aimed my new 1000 MB at the tank and decided to destroy the tank. But when I was about five meters in front of the tank, I turned the car around and drove to wake my parents to see what was happening."

  • "Something separated from the plane, a bomb flew... and the first detonation. So Daddy didn't wait around. He picked up the family, and this was sort of an interesting thing. All the houses here in the Old Town have two or three stories of basements. We did, too. But we couldn't go to the basement during the raid because we would have to go through the yard, and Daddy was afraid of that. So we just ran through the house into the corridor that separated the front part where we had the shop and the back part where we had the tailor workshop, and there was a kind of arched corridor, and Daddy thought that could be safe. So Mummy lay down on the floor and took my five-month-old, not even, four-month-old baby sister in her arms and me from the other side. And Daddy laid on top. And that's how we survived half an hour of the worst bombing."

  • "Grandmother and grandfather Erben, being patriotic, smuggled instructions and materials to the Lusatian Serbs for the Sokol Gathering in 1932 so that they could participate in the Gathering. Which the German side no longer wanted and created obstacles to it. On this basis, they were accused of German anti-state activities, and in 1933, they were arrested and taken to Dresden, where they were imprisoned. And my grandfather was supposedly imprisoned at Königstein, which is a big castle above Elbe, where some French general was also imprisoned. On the intercession of the sokols from the Fügner county, which was in Mladá Boleslav, they approached the then Foreign Minister, Dr Edvard Beneš, who was supposed to intervene for the release of my grandparents. So after about three months, they were released."

  • Full recordings
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    Mladá Boleslav, 31.01.2023

    duration: 01:49:51
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Anyone who hasn’t experienced the whizz of a bomb can’t imagine what war is like

Witness Miroslav Čuban as a child with his parents František Čuban and Hana Čubanová in 1943
Witness Miroslav Čuban as a child with his parents František Čuban and Hana Čubanová in 1943
photo: witness archive

Miroslav Čuban was born on 23 July 1936 in Mladá Boleslav. At the war’s end, he experienced a Soviet air raid in Mladá Boleslav, which cost the lives of 450 people, and the subsequent liberation of the town by the Red Army. After the war, he enthusiastically joined the scout troop and Sokol. He participated in the 1948 All-Sokol Gathering in Prague, and when the Sokol was banned after the February communist coup, he performed exercises at the Spartakiada. He liked poetry and music. He founded a student band and later played in a jazz group and in the Škoda orchestra. He also piloted gliders. In 1950, he became a laboratory technician and in 1956, he graduated from the Higher Industrial School of Chemistry in Kolín. He worked first at Karborund in Benátky nad Jizerou and then–for the next decades–as a wastewater technologist. From 1960 to 1967, he studied remotely at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. In 1967, he graduated at Karolinum in Prague. Miroslav Čuban was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1960 but left the party in 1969 in protest against the occupation. During the totalitarian era, he solved many problems in the water industry. At the time of the Velvet Revolution, he co-founded a strike committee in the company Central Bohemia Waterworks and Sewerage Mladá Boleslav. He wrote a petition supporting students and collected signatures. In 1989, he became the chairman of the Waterworks Union and held the post until 1998. He was also on the regional committee of the Wood, Forest, and Water Trade Union. In 2023, he lived as a pensioner in Mladá Boleslav.