Stanislav Devátý

* 1952

  • “In the middle of this street there was one other street leading left at right angles, that’s where Vašek Malý lived at the time. So we asked the diplomat to take us to Vašek Malý. We got out there and the diplomat drove off. But State Security didn’t know about us. We visited Vašek and were with him for about five minutes when State Security came to get him. They took him away, but they still didn’t know about us. We were invited to the reception at eight o’clock, and when the time approached, we walked out on to the street. The embassy was in the middle of the street, about 50 to 100 metres from us. We came out and walked slowly towards the house. They must have been watching us from both sides because suddenly several people from either side broke into a run to try to catch us. Of course, we also started running. At the time Anička Šabatová, Petr Uhl’s wife, was also going with us to the embassy. We rushed up to the embassy and Petr managed to ring the bell. They [the embassy employees] opened the door, so Petr entered and they couldn’t get at him, because he was on British soil. But they caught Anička Šabatová, I was already in the gateway, but Anička was about five metres behind me. They caught me in the gateway, and some three of them started dragging me away from the gate. I saw they had Anička and that they were pulling her away, so I asked Petr what I should do. He just said: ‘Leave her, she’s got children, they’ll have to release her.’ So I shook the policemen off of me and onto the ground and I entered the embassy, which the police were banned from entering. All of the participants of the reception, including the permanent secretary of foreign affairs of Great Britain, saw this happen with their own eyes. It was the first time they had witnessed how State Security actually worked. So on the basis of this experience that very night the foreign secretary of Great Britain lodged a complaint directly to Husák himself.”

  • “On the twenty-first of August 1968 we were in the little town of Siřem. That was basically a village on the border with East Germany. So we experienced the occupation already overnight. Already around ten eleven in the evening we heard pounding and then the news that we’d been occupied. At the same time we saw a Russian tank column occupy our little village. That year 1968 had quite an impact on me. I was also influenced by the fact that a number of people, including our teachers, but also our older schoolmates, many of which had protested against the occupation, switched sides two years later and began collaborating. Which had more of an opposite effect on my generation, that is on me and my friends, people I kept in touch with.”

  • “When they took me to the police station, the local Zlín chief of State Security said that what I was doing was not good. He also informed me that if I would be the Charter’s spokesman, that I’d be in for pretty ride. And I was surprised what Charter spokesman... Those security officers knew about it sooner than I did! That was really interesting. Then Ivan Lamper came from Prague to Zlín and confirmed that I had been suggested as the first non-Prague spokesman for Charter 77. The other spokesmen together with me were Bohumír Janát, who was there for the Catholic circles, and Miloš Hájek, who represented the Communists expelled after 1968.”

  • “In 1984 we managed to publish in that very year a really splendidly bound edition of George Orwell’s 1984. We had been preparing it more than a year, about a year and a half, but it was really beautiful and in hardback. We did it for the anniversary, as a run of about 200 pieces. First we had it translated, that was done by Ivan Lamper’s brother, who came from Malenovice but was very active and had moved to Prague. His brother Jan was an English teacher, and he translated it. We prepared the whole book on copying foils, and we then did a silk-screen print run of 200 copies. And the book had about 400 pages, so you can imagine the amount of work it required.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Zlín, 11.04.2014

    duration: 02:10:13
  • 2

    Zlín, 13.04.2014

    duration: 02:13:22
  • 3

    Zlín, 20.02.2015

    duration: 02:05:40
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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I do not want to fear the future

Stanislav Devátý
Stanislav Devátý
photo: Paměť národa

Stanislav Devátý was born on 8 June 1952 in a town that was then Gottwaldov, (now Zlín). His father was the headmaster of a vocational school in Otrokovice, his mother was a hospital clerk. In 1973 he graduated from a secondary electrotechnical school and began working in Otrokovice. Soon after he transferred to the Communications Assembly Company Prague and worked at a plant in Louky as a measurement technician. In the 1970s he worked as a barman in the pub U Turečků on Kvítková Street. While there, he and his friends founded the amateur football club Cosmos Tureček in 1978. The club’s activities were quite extensive and its membership increased. The hobby club thus found itself under State Security surveillance. Stanislav became acquainted with other active people in the club, such as Bohumil Obdržálek and Jaroslav Němec, who printed and distributed illegal literature. In 1975 Devátý started a family and at the same time lost his job because of his club activities. The family’s dire economic situation and the growing pressure from state authorities forced Devátý’s wife to emigrate to the US in 1980 (taking their five-year-old daughter with her). In 1985 Devátý became a member of VONS (Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted) and was consequently fired from his job at the united agricultural co-op in Slušovice. In 1988 he became a spokesman for Charter 77. He was also active in the petition Several Sentences. From 1988 to 1989 he was regularly held in custody by State Security. He never cooperated with his interrogators while in prison, and went on various hunger strikes. In the autumn of 1989 he was sentenced to twenty months in prison. However, due to his health he decided to avoid the punishment, and on 17 September 1989 he escaped to Poland. When he returned to Czechoslovakia on 10 December 1989, he immediately began cooperating with the Zlín organisation of the Civic Forum. In June 1990 he was elected to the Czech part of the House of Nations of the Federal Assembly. After the Civic Forum dissolved he decided to join the Civic Democratic Party. He stayed in parliament until December 1992. He then became chief of the newly founded BIS (Security and Intelligence Service), where he remained until November 1996. He now works in the law firm Toman, Devátý & Partners.