Věra Dvořáková

* 1948

  • "When I was in class, when Brezhnev, the secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, died, we had to go and pay homage to his memory. Back then it was in a theatre and workers from all businesses and offices and schools had to go there... And there were some condolence sheets being signed, I somehow avoided that in the crowd. But then another secretary died soon after him, now I don't know if it was Chernenko or Andropov, it doesn't matter anymore. And that's what we had at school, they had to make a worship room where we as a class member had to go and pay our respects. And I was terribly ashamed. I was in the fourth grade back then before graduation and I had to go first. And now I thought, I won't go and they won't either. So I went, the director there like a hearse, you come to that, there was a line where the linoleum floor was connected, he called it the line of elimination, you come to that line of elimination and bow with dignity in front of that painting. And it won't be a theatrical bow, but such a dignified one, he still showed it to us... I was terribly ashamed."

  • "I was also a Russophile. I was weaned on just that kind of Soviet literature, I really liked Pushkin, I knew the fairy tale About the Swan Empress by heart. And somewhere in Sochi, in the botanical garden, there was a statue dedicated to this fairy tale, and I started reciting the fairy tale as I remembered it in front of that statue. And then in the report on the basis of which I was fired, it was stated that I mocked Russian herbs."

  • "When the children were finishing school, just before graduation, we had to write assessments for each of them, or some kind of assessment where there were certain criteria. Then we had to be present at the so-called placement committee, which decided whether or not the person would be recommended to the university they were applying to. In that placement committee, apart from the director, the classroom teacher was just an eavesdropper, there was always someone from the communists’ party, from the district committee of the party, and that sometimes really upset me. We had to have markings in those classification sheets. There was a capital D, this meant that at least one parent was and still is a worker, a small D meant that at least one parent was but no longer a worker, Z was similar for agriculture and O was for the others. And we should have paid more attention to those with the big D and even the little D, we should have been more lenient towards them."

  • Full recordings
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    Příbram, 10.01.2019

    duration: 01:32:46
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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One has to find something to base one’s life on

Věra Dvořáková (en)
Věra Dvořáková (en)
photo: archiv pamětnice

Věra Dvořáková was born on December 2, 1948, the middle of three children. Father Miroslav Dvořák worked as a clerk in the sickness fund and following the victorious February he had to go to the mandatory labour brigades. He returned from one of these in the Ostrava mines as a sworn communist and raised his children in the spirit of communism. Mother Věra née Vilímová only had a middle-class background, later completed her education and was a leader at the food apprenticeship center in Příbram. Věra attended Pionýr; she was a member of the Youth Association and sang in Příbram in Vepřek’s mixed choir. Before graduating, she joined the Communist Party, but left it again after the events of August 1968. At that time, she participated in an occupation strike at the faculty. She studied teaching mathematics and descriptive geometry at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University, graduating in 1972. All her life she taught at the same high school in Příbram, which she herself attended as a child. In 1975, after a teachers’ trip to the Soviet Union, she was kicked out of school based on the information of officials from the Youth Union, but her mother complained to the Central Committee of the party and Věra’s dismissal was cancelled. As a class teacher, she had to go with her class to pay respects to the dead Soviet comrades, she had a big moral conflict with the mandatory meeting in the placement committee, which decided whether to give students a recommendation for further studies or not. In the 1980s, with the arrival of computers, she also had to teach computer science because math teachers were the closest to it. In November 1989, she took part in both student strikes at school and a general strike, she went to demonstrate on the square in Příbram in front of the building of the district committee of the party. She helped establish the Civic Forum in Příbram. Věra Dvořáková lives in Příbram, has never married, is childless and takes care of her ninety-five-year-old mother.