“At that time, I went to church services to Basilica of Saint Margaret. We set off the common way towards the church and when we found out how many absolutely obvious men were about to film us and what people from faculty were hanging around, we sensibly decided to return. The thing is that it looked as something inauspicious was going to happen there. In Prague, there was not a climate of fear but a general knowledge of being screwed. So, we returned to dormitories and the comrades took out all speedway motorbikes and began to start them. There was deafening noise and smell of so called ‘monkey drops’ that were used to fuel them in the air. It is really awful to hinder one´s dignified funeral. There was a knock on the door during all of this and a woman whom we called sarge entered. She was one of the dormitory workers. he said that she had come to check whether we did not have forbidden bulbs in lamps and there was a man standing in the doorframe who was quite obvious. We performed a pantomime because you could not hear yourself think because of the motorbikes from the stadium. Meanwhile, the evidently evil man was inspecting us and evaluating which one of us was a diversion agent. We eventually realized that they were mainly looking for foreign journalists because you could see the cemetery well from our windows.”
“There were though such departments where fratricidal battles were. It looked somewhere as if the political screenings came back only that the same people exchanged the sites of tables. Due to it, some returns gave a sad impression. I told my students about seminars that were held in flats and also about how amazing it was that such big names were returning to the faculty. So called honourable semester was organized and people who even did not want to teach actively again were allowed to say what they could not say for many years. I forced my students to attend classes of one of these returnees whom I do not want to name on purpose. They came the following week and one of their speakers said: ‘Mrs. Doctor your sense of humour is really hard to estimate. That really worked out well for you.’ I blurted out: 'Pardon me!?' And the student continued: ‘Weren´t you making fun of us? Were you serious?’ I got absolutely furious and went to the following lecture with them. I am still ashamed of it but I laughed as well. Some people just did not realize how much time went by. It is cruel but it would not occur to rehabilitate a pianist who could not play and organize a concert for him in Rudolfinum.”
“It looks from the outside that there was a sharp boundary between party members and non-party members. However, inside it was divided into people who participated and people who did not participate. But you could also describe them as the decent and the less decent. Nevertheless, I need to confess an apparent paradox that always happened in me when I found out that someone was in the party. I said to myself: ‘He must be a real bastard. Watch out for him.’ Of course, I realized at the same time: 'You are as well.' Everything was very complicated back then and today I can´t guess how much it helped me then. The [university] admission might have been easier because of it but I think that nothing else was made easier for me due to it. I admit one thing that I have never spoken about with anyone. I gave myself penance for that without any ceremony. I found out what I joined only when I started to think politically. I can repeat to myself many times that I never hurt anyone deliberately and that I did not gain anything from it. But I was on the evil side and no one can deny that.”
“A huge aggregate processing plant was built in Ejpovice on the basis of a fake geological survey. A huge ore deposit was supposed to be there but it was not. They brought Soviet ore almost across the whole republic to a plant that produced fly ash. When grandfather brought a Christmas tree from the forest, grandmother had to wash it in a wooden washtub full of water. She treated us the same way. We went out in the morning and we returned completely dirty for lunch time. We only washed with our hands then but she had to wash us with a scrub brush in the evening. I remember that we were completely black. Our mothers remembered that our luggage that they packed for us on holidays were folded completely the same way when they picked them up. It was because our grandma gave us only boxers. She washed them every evening and they dried till the morning. We put them on the following day and went to the forest.”
I have always followed the idea of professional freedom
Vladimír Czumalo was born on the 15th of December 1954 in Karlovy Vary, however, his family moved to Cheb in his early childhood. Growing up in a town where ethnic minorities of Greeks, Bulgarians or Sudeten Germans that had not been expelled intermingled influenced him as well as Ukrainian origin and legionary experience of his grandfathers. He joined the Czechoslovak Communist Party during the beginning of his studies at the Department of Art History and Aesthetics at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University and he stayed a member until the Velvet Revolution. He started to explore Karlín or Smíchov during his first years in Prague which led to present deep knowledge of these transformed parts of Prague. Having finished his studies, he worked in the same department as a lecturer and he gave lectures there since 1984. In 1988, he got his doctorate degree for the work Česká teorie architektury v letech okupace (Czech Architectural Theory in the Years of Occupation). He repeatedly attended a legendary event called Malostranské dvorky (Malostranské yards) and he became a close co-worker of Odeon publishing house before revolution. He participated in a preparation of Café Slavie reconstruction design. Nowadays, he is a member of Klub za starou Prahu (Club for Old Prague) and teaches Art History in The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and in the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University. He actively tries to defend lively and cultivated approach towards Prague urbanism.