Tomáš Fejfar

* 1951

  • “I’ve never managed to shake it off, the occupation, it has been the leitmotif of my life. And Jan Palach, too. During his funeral, this was repeated over and over again, the motto ‘We won’t forget, Jan!’. It was the maxim of our generation – which was later betrayed by at least half of us. And that’s my generation’s tragedy. If our fathers’ generation experienced the disillusionment from communism after the war, then our generation… We are traumatised not so much by the fact we saw the Warsaw Pact invasion as seventeen-year-old boys, but by the fact we broke, gave in. So many of my peers who promised ,We won’t forget, Jan!’ over Jan Palach’s grave later became corrupt swine. And that’s a tragedy.”

  • “The board of inquiry was joined by this investigator who is still in charge of security at the Parliament today. We also got a secretary and a chairman, and we started looking at things from the past. Among others, we interrogated hard-line communists such as Štrougal, Jakeš, Lenárt, or Hegenbart, and others, and then we went over the material once again and in the end, we issued this report which I then presented at a parliament session, and this session is on record. I remember we were not able to interrogate Václavík, who was already in bad shape in terms of health.”

  • “Scrape a communist, find a militiaman, usually. And if they didn’t have a wooden stump for a leg, they used to have to go to military exercises. One of my colleagues, a partner, was one of them and I had to work on his behalf. Before they left, they were given a stick of cheap salami and some bread rolls, then they got in an army vehicle and off thy went. And I said to them, ‘Guys, this is no joke, it’s not like you’re going to come back here to beat us. You’re going to be sent someplace like Třebíč and beat, and shoot at, rioting factory workers in Třebíč, and the militiamen from Třebíč are going to be sent here, so that they don’t know us.’ They were furious. And in the end, when “A Few Sentences” had been released and I had signed it under Rudolf Battěk’s auspices sometimes in 1989, the management called the militiamen in, and they wanted them to issue a counter-resolution. The militiamen had read it, though, I’d lent them a copy, and they revolted and said they wouldn’t sign anything.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 14.08.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:45:38
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 02.10.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:03:52
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Normalisation was a little like smoke descending

Tomáš Fejfar as a little boy
Tomáš Fejfar as a little boy
photo: Archiv Tomáše Fejfara

Tomáš Fejfar was born on May 16, 1951, in Havlíčkův Brod, but grew up in Jihlava. Both he and his brother had been declared “persons from a deranged background” by the establishment, which was why Tomáš Fejfar spent twenty years working at a textile factory in Malý Beranov. At the age of seventeen, he witnessed the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, collected signatures for the petition to declare Czechoslovakia a neutral country, and went on a hunger strike to support Jan Palach’s demands following Palach’s self-immolation. He signed the “A Few Sentences” petition in the spring of 1989. He was elected MP for the Civic Forum in the first post-revolution free elections, and later, for the Civic Democratic Party. Since 1996, he has been the secretary of a parliamentary club.