Jan Doskočil

* 1942  

  • “One day two ladies from a bookshop visited me. They were not from a regular bookshop, but from the ‘Sovoietskaya literatura,’ and they turned out to be – in the terminology used back then – counterrevolutionaries. They told me that I had been recommended to them as an organizer of anti-communists events, and that they had been contacted by somebody from Prague regarding the foundation of KAN (the Club of Committed Non-Party Members – transl.’s note) and they asked whether I would be willing to receive one guy from Prague’s KAN. I agreed immediately, because I regarded this movement very positively and I myself had been searching for some contacts in Prague... A young man named Helerium Bukšim arrived and I took a liking to him immediately. I contacted some colleagues at work and they joined in, and we immediately organized a meeting in Adalbertinum where the local Club of Committed Non-Party Members was to be established. It is a meeting hall in Hradec Králové, and the meeting provoked a massive response, the hall was bursting with people and we invited all the other political parties which existed at that time. We held round table discussions, and the previous part of the programme included the presentation of KAN. We read documents from the Prague group there and we started collecting application forms right away.”

  • “It was unprecedented that a scandal regarding some high-ranking communist would get some publicity… it always used to be swept away under the carpet. People started complaining and I - without having permission to do it – called my colleagues to gather in one hall of the research institute, it was a hall which was used for production, and we all gathered there. I jumped up on some box as a pedestal and I had a fervent speech about how we no longer wanted to put up with the Bolsheviks and we had a vote and we agreed on a kind of a petition which we signed and sent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. We made it public, and journalists immediately followed upon it, and it was published in the Torch newspaper, which was a local Party newspaper, and of course, it set an example for other factories as well and similar things began happening there as well. Soon after we began criticising the ROH trade union and we prepared an abolishment of ROH and we organized election for the non-communist leaders of the trade union... This was the first sign and it began spreading soon after… Our research institute became famous as a nest of the counterrevolution and we have never gotten rid of that reputation.”

  • “Our names were known, and the State Security thus took an interest in us soon after, without us even suspecting anything… At first there was the political screening of those who were not Party members. The communists did their own screening within their organizations, but at first they dealt with non-Party members. Each of us received a kind of a questionnaire and we had to pour all the blame upon us for having supported the so-called renewal movement. We also had to declare that we welcomed the Soviet occupation and that it was actually their brotherly help, and so on. I and several other people refused to do that; on the contrary, I even expressed in writing what I thought about it in a very straightforward way and the committee thus decided that I could no longer work there as a researcher, and I received a notice for so-called disruption of the socialist order… I was quite proud of it, in fact. I have it confirmed in writing that I have disrupted the socialist order. I was told that my further presence in the company was not possible for fear that I would infect others… and so I got fired and I was without a job.”

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    Hradec Králové, 19.06.2018

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    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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    Hradec Králové, 16.06.2015

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    duration: 49:46
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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To preserve the continuity of the faith

As a young man
As a young man

Ing. Jan Doskočil was born January 13, 1942 in Pelhřimov. His father worked as a shop assistant and his mother was a housewife who raised Jan and his brother. In 1947 the family moved to Hradec Králové. After completing elementary school, Jan studied at the Secondary Technical School of Chemistry in Hradec Králové and he continued in his studies at the College of Chemical Technology in Pardubice. In 1965, after graduation and army service, he worked as a researcher in the Research Institute for Electrotechnical Ceramics in Hradec Králové. In January 1968 he initiated the abolishment of the company’s trade union ROH (Revolutionary Trade Union Movement). In May of that year he established a local chapter of KAN, a Club of Committed Non-Party Members, in Hradec Králové. In 1971 he did not pass the political screening for non-Party members and he was dismissed from his job for disrupting the socialist order. Jan subsequently worked in non-skilled jobs in the state-owned road company, where he remained until 1975. Then he began working as a driver in the Water Supply and Sewage Company. Simultaneously, he completed a postgraduate course at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague and became employed as a waste-water technologist. Jan was also active in the underground church until the fall of the communist regime. In 1990 he became the head of the water supply laboratories. The company later became privatized. In the same year Jan started working in the City Council of Hradec Králové. From 1994 to 1998 he served as the mayor’s deputy and later as the mayor. In 1998 he began working for the Bishopric in Hradec Králové in the property management department and later in the heritage preservation department. In 2009 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award for his work for the Hradec Králové Bishopric. He and his wife raised 3 sons. Today, Ing. Jan Doskočil lives in Hradec Králové.