Pavel Hlaváč

* 1939  

  • “That was a dramatic moment, I described it nicely in one interview - simply, a horde of blokes tore into the flat at half past four. We lived on the first floor of a detached house; my uncle, Mum’s brother, and her father, Grandpa Kukliš, a shoemaker, lived downstairs. We children were sleeping in the bedroom, we woke up, and there were terrible things going on. Mum was a stickler for keeping things neat, and everything was strewn about the floor, drawers emptied, they behaved like pigs. That was their kind of terror tactic. We stood on the bed, hugging each other around the neck and crying, Mum was crying as well, Dad stood by the window, a bloke next to him, cuffed... I didn’t understand it at all, I have a detailed description in one of my memories here. I was brought up in Sunday school, where there was this kind Brother Jirsa, and he had a flannelgraph [a board of fabric used to tell a story by placing pictures on top - trans.], and he always put such a nice Lord Jesus there, then Jesus’s heart, our hearts... So it was a trusting kind of faith, and now my father... I always knew I could rely on him, Mum was in tears, he was in cuffs, and the Lord God was nowhere to be seen. I was utterly confused, I didn’t know what was going on. I don’t even remember when those brutes left.”

  • “And then it started getting to me, the atmosphere of the prison; I was small, I had packets of cigarettes in my pocket to give my father if we could meet somehow, which they didn’t allow. There was this barbed kind of... terrible thing... a bit like in a barracks, a kind of stench from the floors, and the space was confining.”

  • “The people who motivated me to become a pastor were the ‘New Orientationists’, especially Professor Komárková, so I was - I can say - I was the closest to them of the whole of my generation. I participated - with Kája Trusina, Honza Šimsa, with Bláža Šourek, Milan Balabán, with Honza Dus and Láďa Hejdánek, mainly with Láďa, of course, he wasn’t a theologian, but... so I participated in the very agitated discussions in Hromádka’s flat, because the New Orientation, those were Hromádka’s pupils, who upheld Hromádka’s critical form. So I differentiate between Hromádka’s pupils and Hromádka’s toadies. Hromádka’s pupils were the ones who lost their state permissions or were imprisoned, and the toadies, they worked on their career at the Christian Peace Conference, right?”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 21.10.2009

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    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Praha, 11.11.2016

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    duration: 01:45:51
  • 3

    Praha, 28.11.2016

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    duration: 02:02:55
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You created herds of cattle, which having turned for a pot of meat, for cucumbers, melons, garlic, and onion did suffer Egyptian slavery

Young Pavel Hlaváč
Young Pavel Hlaváč
photo: Archiv sběrače

Pavel Hlaváč was born in 1939 in Kutná Hora, into a traditional Evangelical family. His father was arrested in the early 1950s and sentenced to two and a half years of prison in a trial with supporters of the anti-Communist resistance. The witness attended grammar school in Kutná Hora, took part in theology and philosophy workshops organised under cover of forest work trips by people around the illegal YMCA, and he then earned a degree at the Komenský Evangelical Theological Faculty. He served as a pastor in Prague, Nepomuk, and Proseč, he participated in both official and unofficial youth activities, he signed Charter 77 and the letter of the thirty-one members of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren to the Federal Assembly of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. He was repeatedly interrogated, and the whole of his large family was persecuted by State Security for many years. In 1988 he was stripped of state permission to serve as a pastor, in 1989 he founded the local branch of the Civic Forum in Proseč. He then worked at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy, in the years 1991-1993 he headed the Department for Refugees at the Federal Ministry of the Interior; he also worked at the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. In 1991-1993 he served as the chairman of YMCA in Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic.