Michael Dymáček

* 1943

  • “When Honza Šabata came to my home later on at 12:30 am and brought the text of Charter 77, I was pondering hard whether I should or should not sign. It was obvious to me that the so-called idyll in Kancelářské stroje would end abruptly. Moreover, I did not like the wording, I thought it was kind of aloof. I changed my view later on. It was good that the wording was minimalist in nature, focused on international treaties on human rights. But my impression then was as I said. Firstly, what I was missing there was… I don’t like pure criticism. What I want to say when something goes wrong is what to do instead. This certainly wasn’t there. After thinking for about an hour and a half I did sign. And added my comments on the back of the sheet. It became known very quickly, I was in the first line of signatories, one of the first ones. As a result, my house was searched, my little daughter‘s records were played during the search, I remember playing the record of a popular children’s bedtime story about two forest elves named Křemílek and Vochomůrka due to suspicion of a subversive record under this label. On the other hand, there were ordinary policemen, too, and one of them was poking around the drawer in my desk. He found one thing that would have been very inconvenient if they had confiscated it but he put it back.”

  • “Naturally, it came as a terrible shock when we learned about it. From the human perspective, coping with it wasn‘t easy at all. Palach had a certain relationship – sometimes good, sometimes not quite good – with Luboš Holeček. He then immediately immersed himself into illegality and began his search for other students who would potentially follow Palach. There was a general agreement, including Luboš Holeček, that there should be no successors anymore. Of course, we called on various psychologists to help us deal with this. We naturally expressed our support of Palach‘s requirements. You know, I had a speech at Palach’s funeral, it’s on the record. I was the only speaker without written notes there. I thought it inappropriate to bring sheets of paper there, but when I looked at Mrs. Palachová, how devastated she was, I wasn’t able to utter a single word at a certain moment. So I remained silent for a rather long time there because I knew then that the effect wouldn’t be good. I knew it then already.”

  • “The people there were tired and so they decided (it was at the University of Chemistry and Technology) to continue until the very end. In my opinion, the end meant not only the end of occupation but also the end of Bolshevism in Czechoslovakia. The party leadership somehow found out. So they invited me to the board of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. I was thinking hard about whether to go or decline the invitation. Then I decided to go there. I was welcomed by Mr. Dubček who then presented the danger of the situation to me and said in Slovak: “And you, comrade, will be held fully accountable.” With this welcome, we started the negotiation. I spoke out strongly against it. I said that various provocations from old Bolsheviks had been recorded, even the Soviets published news. So my speech was very harsh. We had the intel, so I disclosed some information without stating my source. The end came about an hour later with comrade Štrougal getting a dressing down because the police should keep calm and I left. With regard to the University of Chemistry and Technology, I did not promise anything. It was not even much discussed later on when I brought up other issues there."

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    Brno, 15.08.2019

    duration: 02:01:32
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - JMK REG ED
  • 2

    Brno, 05.09.2019

    duration: 02:07:12
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - JMK REG ED
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It was obvious to me that the signing of Charter 77 would be the end of an idyll

Michael Dymáček, published in samizdat under the name of the author
Michael Dymáček, published in samizdat under the name of the author
photo: archiv pamětníka

Michael Dymáček was born on 13 May 1943 in Brno. Since his childhood he has shown interest in science that brought him to the Faculty of Natural Sciences of J. E. Purkyně University. He graduated in mathematical analysis and became a lecturer at the department of applied mathematics. He began his involvement in politics, co-founded The Union of University Students of Bohemia and Moravia, and was elected its president in October 1968. He was one of the leaders of the strike against occupation in November 1968 and repeatedly negotiated on behalf of the students with high-ranking government officials. He was dismissed after the onset of normalization but refused to submit to the contemporary practice of punishing critics with inferior jobs. He defended himself with his legal knowledge against the pressure of the State Security (StB) until he was offered a qualified job in Kancelářské stroje (Office Machines Enterprise). However, he was dismissed from the enterprise, too, after he had become one of the first signatories of Charter 77. He was rated a hostile person of grade 1 risk, kept under surveillance by the State Security and was repeatedly detained and interrogated. He still continued with his professional and scientific research, was involved in Charter 77, the Czechoslovak Helsinki Committee and published in samizdat periodicals. After 17th November 1989 he became a founder of the Civic Forum in Brno and represented the movement as one of its three spokespersons at meetings and demonstrations. He was co-opted as a deputy into the Federal Assembly and became a member of the municipal council in Brno. He has sought to implement a large number of massive economic and social development projects, for instance the Brno Hub Airport Complex. He still continues with his professional and expert research, especially in the field of economics and law.