Petr Hejna

* 1955

  • „Tak mi ta té vojenské správě zařídil, abych šel k takovejm těm novodobejm pétépákům: My jsme si tak hrdě říkali, to byl nějakej stavební silniční prapor, nebo tak nějak, na výložkách jsme měli bagry a kružítka, nesměli jsme střílet samozřejmě, protože krom nás, politicky nespolehlivých, možná bych se tam dostal i tak, protože já jsem jako samozřejmě neinklinoval k tomu normalizačnímu režimu a taky jsme za to dostávali peníze, ale jak říkám, krom nás nespolehlivých tam devadesát procent tvořili kriminálníci. Který taky bylo lepší držet dál od flintičky, nehraj si s tou pistolkou. Takže to prostředí bylo, díky tý sortě, tý většinový sortě, bylo zcela jiný. Bylo to výchovný v tom, že člověk poznal, že všichni nejsme bohémové, kteří čteme, posloucháme a tvoříme muziku, takže to bylo jako zvláštní, ale nicméně jsem nemusel bejt někde na čáře a střežit hranici proti těm nepřátelům, kteří utíkají do toho Německa od nás. Takže to bylo dobrý a jakožto šikovný chlapec jsem si tam s tím velice rychle poradil, pominu-li ten počátek ponižující, kdy jsem byl jedinej, kterej se tam od nich nenechal mlátit po zadku páskem. Byl jsem i starší než oni, protože jsem mezi tím už studoval chvíli tu vejšku a bylo to prostě…pak už jsem si to tam zmákl a to takovým způsobem, že bych o tom mohl napsat novýho Krále Krysu.“

  • „Všichni měli tu práci, kterou nemuseli žádnou dělat, tenkrát se chodilo do zaměstnání, tenkrát se nepracovalo, tam ještě něco ukradli, nějaká politika jim byla ukradená, večer se popadali za břicho u Bohdalky, pak tam byl dramatickej kriminální případ, kterej řešil major Zeman, těm lidem nic nechybělo. Takže oni dneska cítí hroznou nostalgii a dneska je pro ně všechno špatný. A to už léta, nemyslím dneska, v tý vypjatý době. Léta, letoucí už je to špatný, protože se musej trochu starat, v tý práci musej dělat, tenkrá stálo pivo korunu sedmdesát, dneska stojí patnáct korun, všechno viděj takovým tím zkresleným prizmatem, že tenkrát bylo dobře. Že tenkrát nikdy nic nebylo v krámu, což je zajímat mohlo, tak to je vlastně taky nepálilo, protože na tý vsi si každej vykrmil prase z ukradený pšenice a brambor, no jako poznamenala ta doba tu naši generaci hodně a je hodně lidí, kteří mají po tomhle času těžkou nostalgii. Navíc taková kultura, zpíval nám tu David, Víťa Vávra a takovýhle nezapomenutelný osobnosti. To bylo super, že jo. A dávaj to vesměs najevo, protože když si přečtete nějaký diskuse pod nějakou věcí, to je prostě radši nečíst, radši nesbírat informace, protože potom člověk zjistí, že je všechno ještě úplně jinak než si myslíte.“

  • „Během roku ten národ ztratil tu hrdost a prostě zaprodal se, slušně řečeno se podělal. Přitom jako o nic nešlo, fakt tady se nestřílelo na každým rohu. Takže samozřejmě, bylo to hrozný, když si vezmete oběti Palacha a Zajíce, nebo i v zahraničí pro nás se nechali lidi upálit…se nechali…se dobrovolně upálili. No prostě, pár těchto hrdinů, úplně mi je jich hluboce líto, protože netušili, jaký zmetci lejou benzín akorát do auta. To už tím Palachovo pohřbem, kterého jsem se zúčastnil , kde ještě bylo to semknutí národa, samozřejmě měl jsem kliku, no kliku, v tý Praze to nebyl problém se tam na to jít podívat. Ale to ještě jsme byli na tý jedný lodi, ale nevím, kolik už tenkrát v tom průvodu bylo tajnech.“

  • "So he kept this little notebook about me where he would write down whatever I did well, and it was maybe one line, and five lines of what I didn't do. And they, when they were expelling him from the party, when the purges were going on, because my mother had friends there, as he was working at the State Planning Commission, some of these people were there who told her that he was crying and tearing his clothes and quoting from this notebook about what an impossible son he had at home. And even that didn't help him, even an asshole like me didn't get him a place in the party. But the purges were really... they needed to get rid of him so that they could report a job done, right, and it was the poor people who really trusted the party who paid for it. And then, like I said, later on, when I finished the graphics school, he arranged the military service for me. I had already been admitted to university at that time and they told me: You're going to serve your time in the army. He had friends in the military administration again, and they, as the soldiers were so stupid, they thought that if they make me work somewhere with a bunch of thugs and I wouldn´t be allowed to shoot, that it was some kind of punishment for me. Well, it was punishment in a way, but I got paid some money and sailed through it like King Rat, but for me, an opponent of all violence and guns, it was still annoying and two years of my life [were] stolen for nothing."

  • "It was a terrible shock how someone could do that, and anyway, there was the misinformation that they had given him some cold petrol, the Americans, to make it look like theatre. Everything was being done to discredit his sacrifice. Like [saying] he was a victim of the CIA. Just the guy was so disgusted by all of it, I just don't understand how he even managed it. I couldn't do it and I'm sorry he did it at all because it was, unfortunately, a cry in vain. And then Zajíc followed, and he's almost forgotten... It was really an ugly time, and we were watching the funeral, we joined in, and it was such a demonstration that back then, really, we were all in the same boat, and it wasn't Potemkin or Aurora [Russian battleships]. It was a completely different boat. A freedom [svoboda in Czech] boat. I don't mean Ludvík Svoboda, he was still acceptable for both sides then, but of course his influence and admiration for him faded away over time. But it was a time when even as a child one admired the leaders of the state. Yes, you were proud of Dubček, Smrkovský or Císař. Nowadays... I know those names by heart and it's hard to talk about any admiration at all. For me it ended with Mr. Havel."

  • "They already knew it was bad. But we cowboys and Indians couldn't imagine it. Because nobody knew that it could turn into such repression. Maybe you could have counted on getting some kind of a truncheon beating across the back, but to see it end up in the kind of massacre that happened there…of course, I didn't feel like a hero anymore, of course I had already gone soft there, I was already scared. Because there were already various armed men, as the militiamen, the same ones we had fought with while we were applauded by the public, they already had guns, already loaded. That was bad, bad... then you could see that it wasn't the Russian anymore, it was our guy, from a factory, who knew what was right, so that was the end. But practically, the movement was very limited, because the streets were closed, so we were going in circles around Wenceslas Square, I don't know if we were in Smečky or in Štěpanská [Street], on that side, so it was…you felt like a hunted animal there. That was no longer the case [that we went there] just to see who would say what and that maybe something would change. It was clear that everything had already changed, that we had better remain sitting on our asses. There was no time to play a hero any more. We went there more recklessly but still being aware of why we were going there. But not [expecting] that it could have turned out that way. And here, for example, you probably have heard that this is where the youngster who got shot at Pavlák [I.P. Pavlova Square] came from. I mean, they shot him and he died three or four days later. He was there purely by accident. And that's the paradox, that he was coming back from some wander, and then he went to see an aunt in Nusle to get money, and then he went to buy a sausage at the stall there and caught it [the bullet] in the stomach."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Písek, 26.07.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 02:11:37
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    České Budějovice, 25.04.2022

    (audio)
    duration: 01:11:57
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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In August 1969, playing the hero was no longer an option

Petr Hejna
Petr Hejna
photo: Witness´s archive

Petr Hejna was born on 12 January 1955 in Prague. He came from a clerk family, his father was a member of the Communist Party. His father was expelled from the party in 1970 and took it very hard. His great personal disappointment was one of the causes of his subsequent complicated relationship with his son. In 1966, under the guidance of Jiří Zachariáš, Petr joined a Boy Scout group. He was 13 years old when Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Warsaw Pact troops and Petr, depending on his ability, actively joined the resistance against the occupiers. He was distributing leaflets and began to compose protest songs. A year later, he took part in mass demonstrations in the centre of Prague, which were brutally suppressed by the authorities. He graduated from the Secondary Technical School of Graphics, which brought him into contact not only with the bohemian milieu, but also with some of the personalities from the dissent. After finishing his military service, he began working as a children’s homes carer. He criticized the conditions there for a long time and shortly before the Velvet Revolution, feeling disappointed and powerless to change anything, he quit his job. After 1989, he set his own business, first in the jazz club Agharta, and later he founded his own music club. In 2021 he was living with his second wife on a farm in Třebkov, a small village near Písek.