Roman Fürst

* 1944  

  • “The house we had in Jihlava, and there was the Jewish Synagogue just five meters away, today there is Gustav Mahler´s Park. The synagogue, the Germans lit it, poured it with a canister, lit it at night. Dad was worried about his house, of course, so he called the firefighters, and then they wrote with huge letters on his house "Jewish swine." ... the Germans, right."

  • “They just came to our clubroom in the House of Culture in Jihlava. And I already knew something like that would happen because the movie wasn't there anymore. We had a closet there, where we had all the materials, the movies and this. And there was a padlock, a latch. So, I thought back then that I could break the latch, and when the State Security came to see it, they wanted the movie. I said somebody stole the movie: 'I had it in my closet. You see a broken latch here.' So, on the basis of that, they immediately came for me the next day to work, and home unexpectedly, they made a house search and took me for questioning. About four guys were questioning me for about ten hours. One over the other, in turns. My friend was in the other room next door. We were there from the morning to the evening. I was tired at the end, and then one of them started yelling that he would knock me out. So, I said, 'You know what? So, I won't talk at all. I want my lawyer and I won't say a word to you anymore."

  • “I inherited my first camera from my dad, he bought it somewhere during the First Republic, and I started taking pictures. Then I bought Admira - a small camera. Finally, I found out that, there is a circle of amateur filmmakers set up in the House of Culture here in Jihlava, so we registered there with Tomek and another friend and thus started the activity. There they provided a decent camera for that time - a good German AK 16, so it was for 16mm films. This is how we started taking pictures for competitions in various ways. After that I even became a member of the regional jury of the amateur film, so I went to those competitions in the whole country. [...] We had to do so-called Jihlava weeklies for Jihlava here, or actually it was a monthly journal, Jihlava monthly journal. We made a documentary where there had to be some politics, so we were sent to film a pioneer camp where Soviet pioneers just arrived, then something from culture. [...] And it was shown in the Jihlava cinema before films."

  • “My father bought a house in Jihlava where he had his surgery, where we also lived. There were tenants, shops below, and it was a two-floor large house. But in the fifties, we don't even know for what, suddenly my dad was arrested. He got five years in prison. He worked in Jáchymov in the uranium mines, which was reflected in the fact that after a few years he suffered from leukemia, it was from that radiation. Eventually he died of it. So that´s how our comrades took care of it."

  • “And since I was doing the amateur movie, we thought we and my friend would go and shoot the funeral at least. So we made the short movie. We put it in the district film competition, where it won the first prize, then it advanced to the regional competition in Uherské Hradiště, there it also got the first prize. And then the regime turned so violently that the nationwide competition, which was supposed to be in Prague, was not held, it was cancelled by comrades. Nevertheless, we met with the Praguers in Prague, where everyone took their own films and there we only projected it to each other. It could not go to the competition, so this way we projected it there. What happened in Prague was terrible. That was what the Prague people had amazing shots of what happened in Prague. I don't think it's published anywhere, either, but who knows where it is, those materials. As people went from one place to another by tanks. They destroyed cars. Such pretty drastic [shots] were there. They set fire there ... there was even the shooting of people. "

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Velký Beranov, 06.02.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 54:42
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Velký Beranov, 14.02.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 29:30
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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A twenty-year-old secret film of the third torch

Roman Fürst, 1969
Roman Fürst, 1969
photo: Soukromý archiv Rostislav Šíma

Roman Fürst was born on May 16, 1944 in Jihlava into a family of general practitioner Alois Fürst, who was arrested in the mid-fifties and sentenced to a five-year prison in a fabricated trial. Their family house near the square was confiscated along with other property including a car. Due to the cadre reference Roman Fürst could not study high school of nursing and started to study office mechanics, later he completed secondary technical school. Before leaving for the military service, he had been attending the amateur film club in Jihlava since the early 1960s. He participated in the filming of Jihlava monthly journal, which dealt with events from politics, culture and sport. Later he became a member of the regional jury of amateur film. He completed his military service at the Kbely airport in Prague, where he also performed in an amateur theater plays, directed by Jiří Suchý. He joined Motorpal in Jihlava as a designer engineer after his return. There he shared a workplace with a wife of Evzen Plock, with whom he often came in contact with. After the self-immolation of Eugene Plock, he and Karel Tomek made a short film - I Am for a Human Face, in which he captured the funeral. The film first won the district and then the regional round of the amateur film competition and advanced to a nationwide competition that did not take place because of the incoming normalization. In 1969, the StB Jihlava began to search for the film and after an unsuccessful search, Roman Fürst and Karel Tomek were taken for questioning, where they spent ten hours and where Roman Fürst was threatened with physical violence. The film was declassified after the fall of the communist regime. For twenty years it was hidden at one of his friends Roman Fürst outside of Jihlava. After being interrogated, he never returned to active filming and after 1989 he started his own business. He is currently enjoying the retirement and the opportunity to travel. At the time of filming he lived in Velký Beranov.