Jana Hlavsová

* 1957  

  • “Only one time in my life did I go to a pub which was allegedly a meeting place of the underground. I hate that word - I have never considered myself part of the underground. Although this place perhaps was underground: it was a pub called Na Čurandě in Prague 4, and it looked really rough, and the toilets actually led all the way onto the street. There were some tough guys there and one of them offended me so I slapped his face. A terrible fight ensued. Since Mejla was fragile, Magor took over the fight and he nearly carried that guy out of the pub holding him in his teeth. I have never set my foot in that pub again.”

  • “I was seventeen and my sister Pavla was sixteen when we smuggled microfilms and a bag full of some materials to Poland. My Mom had hidden the microfilms in cookies shaped like little stars. We received the exit permit and we went by train to Poland in order to hand these things over to some student friends. While we were riding on the train, my sister said that she would take a shot of vodka with Andrzej. ´You’re a minor, you can’t drink vodka!´ - ´But I’ll drink it, anyway!´ she said. Since she was so young, she got drunk pretty soon. When we reached the border the border guards came in and they took a look at Pavla and said: ´You’ll go with us, take all your belongings with you.´ She insisted that she was hungry and she wanted to eat those star-shaped cookies, and she was taking her things and the bag with the documents, and I was watching her through the train window. Suddenly I saw that she turned around and she was walking back to the train. ´Pavla, how did you manage to make him let you go?´”

  • “A couple of days after the arrival of the Soviet army a Trabant drove up to us. Our friend the doctor was sitting inside and my Dad was sitting next to her. ´Pack your stuff, we’re leaving!´ We were astonished, my sister Markéta was happy because she thought we were going to the seaside and she took her swimsuit with her, but the rest of us didn’t take anything. If you imagine a Trabant car with two adults sitting in the front, with Mom and seven children in the backseat. We had red spots on our skin because we had small-pox and Mom made it clear to us that if we were stopped by an armoured vehicle we were not to make faces under any circumstances. I held on to my sister so anxiously that she stuck her tongue out and Mom scolded us for making faces. For three months we stayed with our friends on a hen farm; they had eight or nine children, too, and they were very nice. They had a small house and they allowed us to use one room. Then we went to Vienna where Dad had arranged for a three-month stay during which he was to give lectures. But what Dad was most concerned about was getting some of his books published in Czechoslovakia so that young people could learn something. Therefore we returned, although thanks to our friends, we already had a house, a car and even a driver ready in Switzerland.”

  • “They came to us after Mejla and the others had been arrested. We knew about it immediately because there were many cars with StB policemen, and I think they were from the Prague-West district. They arrived at that gamekeeper’s house and I think they even arrested some other people there. We learnt from a friend that they were in a detention facility and we were therefore looking for a lawyer. The lawyer we hired had defended my father in the past and later it turned out that it was the StB that had sent him to my father, which was quite regrettable.”

  • “After the Velvet Revolution they called us and they wanted us to authorize the song Bič boží. That is absurd!”

  • “Pavla studied at grammar school, and so did Markéta. It was the grammar school Na Zatlance, and she befriended one English teacher there. His name was Paul Wilson and he would later sing in the band The Plastic People of the Universe. Pavla had a problem with her school-leaving exam. The school principal was great - he called Mom to tell her that the police were planning to arrest Pavla and warned us not to let her sleep at home that night. In disguise she spent the night at a friend’s home and then went to school and passed the final exam. But the police were already waiting for her outside to arrest her. At that time, however, she had already completed the exam.”

  • “Mejla was deciding whether to take the accusation of his alleged collaboration with the StB to court, but it turned out that there were many old people who had been wronged in the 1950s and who were now dying, and so he didn’t want to get ahead of them. He said that he would wait till the right time. He was very concerned about people liking him, and he therefore felt very depressed by that allegation. But he certainly never felt any hatred toward Petr Cibulka, because he didn’t do it out of spite. It happened because of the games they played with people, which ended in tragedy for many people and their entire families.”

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    Praha, 29.07.2011

    (audio)
    duration: 02:37:47
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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It is possible to forgive even without the offender’s apology for the wrongdoing that he had done.

hlavsová portrét dobový.jpg (historic)
Jana Hlavsová

Jana Hlavsová was born in 1957 as the second daughter of Jiří Němec and Dana Němcová. Both her parents were active in the dissent movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Her father Jiří emigrated to Austria in 1981. When she was eighteen, Jana married musician Milan Hlavsa, who was a singer and bass guitarist in the legendary underground band The Plastic People of the Universe. In spring 1976, Mejla Hlavsa and tens of other artists from the underground scene were arrested. Hlavsa was eventually released from the infamous trial, receiving only a suspended sentence. Later he was blamed for collaborating with the StB. Jana supported him till his death in 2001. She worked with handicapped children. She is the mother of two children, Štěpán and Magdaléna.