Jiří Fišer

* 1953  

  • We stayed in Prague with another friend of mine on the 20th (November 1989). They were giving tricolors away at the Wenceslas Square: 'Back on the spot tomorrow.' Eventually, even the television had to admit that something was going on. Suddenly, Jaromír Hanzlík and Ms. Galatíková appeared there, saying: 'It is not possible to let our kids being beaten up by officers of the repressive corps, we will just not put up with that.' Well, it was something after midnight when we arrived at the Tábor train station, and the Public Security car - a yellow-white zigulik it was - had waited for us. There was no one else around, and at that moment, we put the tricolors away, put them in our pockets, and walked back home along the backstreets.

  • [August 21, 1968] ...I remember it clearly for my parents having the silver wedding anniversary that day. My mom was cooking, baking, they had invited their Prague friends to come over - exactly as it is seen in the Czech movie named Pelíšky. Suddenly, I saw my mom and dad running around… the phone rang, someone called in the news. We turned on the radio then, it was not even five in the morning. And for me, it was as if a war just had started. Then, my mom sent me to go to the store to buy that kind of ingredients. To buy five kilograms of sugar, some four. We did not know whether the raids would follow. We used to live here in the Budějovická street. There was an unceasing line of foreign cars leaving for the Austrian borders, disappearing from the Republic, as even they did not know what was going to happen. And Prague was occupied by tanks of the allied forces. Well, everyone was running away, and for me, it was the beginning of the war.

  • I had a speech at one of the big company meetings. It was in March, let's say, April 1989. A state-owned company law was constituted within the Perestroika framework. Thus, the Regional project organization no longer existed; it was the state-owned company instead. As such, other institutions operated there, such as the general meeting, that was quite a new thing. When all of the employees gather together, and practically anyone can enter the discussion. Nobody ever entered it, though - only the mayor, the comrade director, or the unions had a say. Suddenly, I made an interruption, calling for a challenge. I was trying to play it this way: 'I see so many intelligent people over here, let's make things slightly different, let's prefer expertise, and let's approach things differently but via the system of cadres. It caused kind of a razzle-dazzle. At the very first moment, a line of shots had landed on my desk. But I caught some infection then and spent a week in fever. When I returned to work, everyone there was like as if trying to avoid me. They started looking into it - what was that, how did it happen, if I had it prepared or not. They even sent someone from the ÚV KSČ (Central Committee of the Communist Paty of Czechoslovakia) to check on me while I was still sick, and things like that. I was scared a bit, not much, though, as it seemed absurd to me.

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    Tábor, 26.07.2019

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“When someone asks what does that freedom actually mean, I tend to explain it as having a possibility to decide on your own life. And that it also goes in hand with enormous responsibility, even for all of your stupid little errors. And that’s what I like about it!”

The Civic Forum, Jiří Fišer, 1989
The Civic Forum, Jiří Fišer, 1989
photo: Jiří Fišer's archive

Jiří Fišer was born on April 30, 1953, in Benešov nad Černou. His father was a doctor, and his mother worked as a nurse. Following the post-war ideals, his parents decided on leaving the big city for the border region, aiming at contributing to the restoration of the Republic. With the same spirit, they also entered the Communist Party. The whole family moved to Tábor in 1960. At the very end of his grammar school years, Jiří Fišer experienced the breath of freedom brought with the spring of 1968, which was soon after suffocated by the armed invasion of the Warsaw Pact Army, and the Normalization Period that followed. These events constituted a life-changing experience for Jiří Fišer and would form his opinions and way of thinking fundamentally. Over the years, his parents had tried to persuade him to enter the KSČ (the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia), all in vain. In 1976, he became a member of the so-called Jazz Section, a community of people interested in sub-culture courses with overlap into publication activities, art courses, etc. After graduating from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague, he started working as a supervisor of water-management structures at Stavoprojekt Sezimovo Ústí. In the first half of 1989, he signed a petition named Několik vět. The same year, during the hectic weeks following the events of November 17, he became a part of the group based in Tábor that communicated with Prague students. Consequently, he stood at the beginning of the formation of local and regional branches of the Civic Forum. It was the Civic Forum who appointed him a member of the municipal council. In 1998, he founded a local political movement called Tábor 2002, later renamed to 2020. He was elected and served as a mayor during the 2010 - 2018 period.