Petra Francová

* 1956  

  • “It was difficult because everyone was saying that we were hysterical mothers and if we didn’t like it we could go move somewhere else and leave them alone. Then, through Prague Mothers, I managed to get into the social commission at the municipal government. I had some interesting times there. Whenever I suggested something positive, the communists would side with us. I wasn’t sure how to even begin with that. People from different political parties came there asking us if we didn’t want to join them. I never wanted to get involved in the party system, but the parties were trying to pull people from Prague Mothers into their ranks.”

  • “I worked on something economic. It was actually quite interesting. I had a reasonable colleague who was the only one not in the party, which was something you didn’t see every day. There were young, talented people in it who saw as it a necessity for building a career. But it was dreadfully politicized. The survey's questions had been approved by the National Committee of the Communist Party. And so were the results. It was really something dreadful. Later, towards the end, I was reassigned and I already didn’t want to stay there any longer anyway. Everyone was surprised that I would decline such an awesome opportunity. It was a study on national questions and issues and it seemed so totally manipulated to me that it couldn’t have been true.”

  • “It was tough. I remember that they really were hung up on us joining the SSM (Socialist Youth Union). At school it happened that they signed up the whole class all at once. Nobody asked me if I wanted to join or not. I had to stand up and say that I didn’t want to. Once at home there was a huge fight when my brother told me that I shouldn’t be in the SSM. He was older and more rebellious. My parents told me to stay in the SSM because of school, as it would be bad for me otherwise. In the end I stayed in it, but I always had a bad feeling about it.”

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    Praha , 24.06.2019

    duration: 01:14:25
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Dad believed in communism, but then he loaded me up with dissident literature

Petra Francová in 2019
Petra Francová in 2019
photo: autoři natáčení

Petra Francová was born on 5. August 1956 in Olomouc, but later moved with her parents to Prague. Her father Pavel Macháček was a soldier. For voicing his disagreement with the Soviet occupation in August 1968 he was thrown out of the army and ejected from the communist party and then worked as a manual worker. Because of her father’s political profile, Petra would come to have problems being accepted into university studies. In the end she was able to study at the College of Economics and Sociology at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University. From her childhood she defined herself in opposition to the communist regime and distributed samizdat literature. In the 1980s she was of the Hokaido group – a society of young artists. At the beginning of the 1990s she was an active member of the Czech Mothers civic group, which strove to improve Prague’s living conditions. She founded several non-profit organizations, and was responsible for the creation of the Association of Citizens Advice (AOP). Today, she continues to work in the non-profit sector.