Pavel Drábek

* 1966  

  • „We could actually experience the things I had read. I don’t have many friends for life and death in my life. Naturally, I have a plenty of acquaintances. But those [former ones] are mostly from that group because we’re connected by the fuck ups we committed together. We had eaten from one pot, slept under one tarp, we just solved… We just did something that connected us. And so I think it was one such thing. That I got to doing things that my peers didn’t get to. For example, when I was thirteen or fourteen, we rafted down the Vltava river on inflatable rubber boats. We could have drowned. [We] just did things… Or we climbed rocks, without back up support, just so. This sort of things. We sew our own Indian teepee from old tents which the Sports Union discarded. Just things… First, we did it on our own, many things. Because, I need to add, there was three years of age difference between us and Lešek, I think. So it‘s rather a friendly relationship. And he, as he was a good student, he always pressed that… ‚But, guys, no troubles at school, so that you… Now it looks crappy, so you know what? Grab a textbook and we’ll go through that geography on the trip.’ In the camp, yes. So, in this way. But, like, normally, it was not forced like that. It was natural that he hepled to a friend, as a friend. At that time, I wouldn’t call it scouting, but, that sort of strong friendship. Which happens when one is fourteen, fifteen. And then it may change into something different.”

  • „I led the hiking group along with Jiří Homolka, he went to a high school and he was one year older. We were in the same class at the basic school. He was always the smarter of us, I need to say. Accidentally, today, he teaches at the technical school. So he was the group leader and I was his deputy. Then, when I was in his third year of the high school, he handed the leadership over to me. So, then I was the leader until I left for the university. But we considered us both being the leaders. Jiří went to the meetings with the TJ Slovan [Sports Union Slovan under which the hiking club belonged] most often and for me, it was an advantage because I could spend my time with the club and club matters. And I think that we both of us were… by the Foglar [a Scout leader, author of popular books with scout themes] spirit. I think that it left a positive mark on us… a lot. For me, it was the ultimate goal how to do it, that I opened a Foglar book. So we played those games based on Foglar, Alvarez, somewhat adapted to our conditions. Those were rather ordinary things which are probably in every group. So, ordinary. The group was divided into teams which is probably the most key matter. That the children, simply, from ten years on, or rather twelve, lead a smaller group of people. Which, I think, is a great experience. Because even today, when the children… When I lead a course and we talked about something, I said, ‘So, who of your parents has, like, four people in their team? No-one. So, there you see. And you’re thirteen and you’re a boss of five.’ That’s an invaluable experience, is what I think. So the boys… Just, regular teams. We had only two teams, we were a small group. Condors and Hawks, they were. And apart from the team meetings, there was a group meeting on Fridays. That was a Friday tradition. So… those normal things. Games, learnaing something, doing something. Plan a trip. And there were one or two day trips during the weekends. And a camp, obviously. We went to a camp only during the holidays, always at the beginning of the holidays, the first three weeks of holidays.”

  • "The point is, we were able to understand the things. For example, when it comes to symbolism, I wouldn't consider that much of a problem, it was only one of those things, those rituals, symbols, traditions, that created the community. That it's something that's not exactly permitted. That forbidden fruit flavour, it had. So it was not a problem. I‘d rather say that those things… the majority. That they claimed how those people suffered for that in those jails and the like. So… I, at that time, I think I had already known then. But a plenty of folks who were even younger than I was, for them, it was new. That there were some Communist labour camps where many scouts were imprisoned, some political processes in the 1950’s and this sort of stuff. We had that Poledňák‘s booklet which circulated at schools. Scouts in service of imperialism or some such. I always saw it somewhere. Some Polednak wrote it or someone. But that was bullshit that one couldn’t easily see through yet. But I’m saying again… Yes, you’re right, we were rather practically oriented. We felt that, in context of what they were telling us, that they’re presenting the scout movement as something prehistoric, petrified. That the world has advanced. I got hold of some Scout magazines from The Netherlands in the 1980’s. At that time, I thought that this is… On one hand, the Skauting magazine, the last one that was being published in about 1970… and then the Dutch magazine some ten years later. Those were two different worlds. When it comes to pictures.”

  • "Humiliation, the feeling, just... Obviously, some people treated their problem, those who did this. I was the white crow. I promised myself that I will never bully anyone and I never did. It worked this way, in the first year of the service, one was a small soldier, in the second year, he was the big one. Between those, there was the usual hazing. They bound one to the bed, pulled down his trousers, poured cheap cologne on his arse and he got hit with a belt twelve times. Without the buckle. With a belt. It bled, there were bruises and so on. Simply... and one bit into his own belt so that one wouldn't scream. So that one would last. Everyone suffered through this, obviously, maybe with the exception of one who did not manage. And then, one had some privileges. That meant, one could bully others. I felt that it was awfully... perverted. And that bullying, just, classic. Soldier: 'Bring me [your] cigarettes!' - 'I don't smoke.' - 'Not my problem. And you don't do... the strong guys.... you get hit in your face. Or cleaning duty. When you fall out of favour, you keep cleaning the toilets. With a toothbrush, that's done. Or you pick the stuff from the toilet bowls with bare hands. But those are things one can get over easily. Still, it's annoying. Or the pig stalls. You go cleaning the pigsty every Saturday. And that's the worst because then you get out of there and everything stinks, you have to leave everything outside and wash it. The pig stench, you don't get it out of the work clothes, not even the army issue ones. This sort of things. Sahara. Bring me water. Just bullying. Or blood sample. I did not go through that one but the older guys did. A cordon. The standard mesh bowl. Until the bottom is covered in blood. Or the rocket. We were staying on the first floor, so, to a metal army wardrobe, is one locked, and it's thrown downstairs. Or from that one... One can survive. This sort of things. It works.... erm."

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    Praha, 18.06.2019

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    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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    Prha , 18.06.2019

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    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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I feel that the time was not wasted.

Pavel Drábek in 2019
Pavel Drábek in 2019
photo: Sbírka Post Bellum

Pavel Drábek was born on the 17th July of 1966 in Vsetín, for some time in his childhood, he lived in Kateřinice. When his family moved to Vsetín, he joined a hiking club, Lvíčata [Lion Cubs]. He graduated from secondary technical school in Vsetín and while he studied there, he volunteered as a youth group leader. He studied at the Czech Technical University but after two semesters, he left the school. He worked as a lathe operator and in his free time, he volunteered in youth organisations. He served in the army in the anti-aircraft unit in Znojmo. He led the hiking club until 1990 when it became a part of the renewed Junák/Scout organisation. In 1997, he and his wife started a co-ed scout group in Kateřinice, he also worked as the manager of the district youth centre.