“We lived in Na Hanspaulce in a separate flat, and we regularly listened to the Voice of America, looking for… Something was happening. We still didn’t believe it could happen, but then suddenly: ‘This is Ivan Medek, Voice of America…’ and we heard that something had begun. We were reluctant to believe, because it was still the same day when the events in Národní třída happened. We were trying to figure out what was happening. We ran to the Kaplans, and their two daughters, Martina’s younger sisters, came back home and said, we were there and they were beating people up. It was something that triggered the revolution. The next day, we would walk the city to see what was happening. I think the beatings happened on Friday; the streets were strangely empty on Saturday; and on Sunday, I think, there was the first attempt at the next demonstration. I was there; the police were there and it was suppressed in quite an unpleasant way. It was my first experience where the cops were not exactly nice. And then the big demonstrations begun, and we would go there every day – it felt like it was our duty to go.”
“It was a long time of uncertainty. I was invited to Ruzyně for an interrogation once. Of course, there were the two officers, as usual. I think they were… trying to be very polite. It was obvious they knew some information; there were two families, and maybe I was not always in full agreement with my mother-in-law. I guess they knew we had somewhat different views of the family, or of how to enter the family privacy; I don’t know. I felt they were trying to find a little crack and to make me more… I think I spoke very cautiously. They weren’t too rough; they were trying to win me over.”
“I remember [21 August 1968] very well. As I said, I was with a Jesuit who was working at his little farm, staying for a period of spiritual preparation. I was sleeping in the hayloft, and suddenly we saw airplanes in the sky. I thought, it must be some… Well, I had no idea. Then I came into the house, everybody was listening to the radio, and it was bad. I stayed for a few more days because we didn’t know how to get back to Bratislava – all the roads were blocked by tanks. I eventually got there, and the main square, called Náměstí SNP today, was full of tanks and everything, just like in Prague. It was all obvious by then. They took Bratislava completely and easily because the airport was near, so they took the city in the same way as they did Prague.”
Marián Hošek was born on 13 November 1950 into a large Roman Catholic family. Mother Helena, née Vranková, had a strong Christian faith and anti-communist stance, influencing the entire family. Father Oldřich Hošek became a member of the communist party as a result of its merger with the social democratic party which he had joined earlier. He exited the communist party at his wife’s wish; this affected his career and the children’s study opportunities. As a child from a family ‘challenged by religion’, Marián did not even try to apply for a grammar school and studied to become a dental lab technician instead. Having obtained his school-leaving certificate, he went on to study dentistry at the Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava. Living in a Christian family, he attended ‘circles’, secret groups for Christian youths led by the Jesuits. This is where the witness found both friends and answers to the questions about the meaning of life that he asked himself. Playing with a Christian band as a university student in Prague, he met his future wife Martina Kaplanová. She also came from a large Catholic family. After the wedding, the Hošeks lived along with the Kaplans for some time and were active in the Christian community. When StB arrested Jiří Kaplan, the witness was interrogated too. Marián Hošek was one of the founding members of the Civic Forum during the Velvet Revolution and became a spokesman for healthcare professionals. He served on both the Prague 6 and City of Prague municipal assemblies for several terms of office; has been a member of KDU-ČSL from 1995. He was appointed a Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in 2005. Along with his political career, he has continuously run a private dental practice. He and wife Martina have brought up seven children and have a nephew in foster care. They lived in Prague at the time of recording in 2022.