Mariana Hovorková

* 1932

  • “The whole family was arrested in 1948. My Dad and my uncle Vladimír were arrested in the Lesser Town on February 8th. On February 9th the Gestapo came at Lysolaj and they arrested my Granddad and his younger son Vratislav there. Then they also came for the nephew, at whom a paratrooper was hiding at the moment – during the Heydrich reign or before that he transmitted from there and he had a transmitter there.”

  • “I perceived the period with enthusiasm, I used to go for demonstrations. Our headmaster was prof. Petr who was a Communist, of course. And there was a meeting and they told him there everything what he had done in a wrong way and what he shouldn't have done. And he committed a suicide afterwards. People said that his wife left him but this probably played its role as well. He was rather a young man, very ambitious but he also hurt some people or he didn't influence the linguistics and the Institute in a good way. But I know I minded that. I also had a feeling that people demonstrated for a long time. There were those night meetings in the Václavské Square. But otherwise I was in the Václavské Square and in Letná as well. It was very nice, we were dancing in parks afterwards, it was lovely. But the past, the year 1968, it was somehow rooted in you more.”

  • “We used to take part in the demonstrations at the end of the 80s, it was true. It started with Beneš cousins who always came to demonstrate. So we couldn't allow that Prague stayed behind so we went as well. Jarmila and Milena always came and they let themselves sprinkle with water. I remember we were standing opposite each other, they sprinkled my daughter with water at the city hall and us on the opposite side. I remember meeting pastor Dusa all wet. Those were such promising times when we somehow looked forward to the good end.”

  • “We were on a skiing course with our class at that time and we couldn't understand what was going on. But when we came back it all started rioting in an awful way at school, all my class mates were more or less against it. As there were many children attending the school with us whose parents worked abroad at war, they started leaving. For instance the daughter of Vojta Beneš – Nina Benešová, she was our class mate, C. B. Haberský, Mirek Smutný, who died recently, the son of chancellor Smutný. Finally we got the message. At our place it was mainly our Dad talking about it. Not so much with us but with his friends and he saw the danger.”

  • “Yes, I met my husband at the Grammar School. I was going out with his friend, Petr Lander. He somehow undertook the chairmanship of the Union of Youth and I said I surely couldn't go out with a member of the Socialist Youth Movement. So I used it as a pretence and I said I made my decision. We actually became closer with my husband after his return from prison. We were only the two abandoned girls, without our father and we were glad that there was someone who was willing to help us and represent the man. Although we were from the lower class, my friend was going out with Miloš Kočík. So when they arrested them (my husband-to-be Jiří Hovorka and company), we had a boy each and we went to say that to their parents. But we had no idea about their activities that they were putting up the leaflets etc... And they were strictly keeping it back from us. I saw rather the surface side of it.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 29.06.2009

    duration: 02:27:20
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“Surely I can’t go out with a member of the Socialist Youth Movement.”

Hovorková Mariana (1).jpg (historic)
Mariana Hovorková

Mariana Hovorková was born in Prague on November 24th, 1932. She comes from the prominent Klouda family of lawyers. Her Grandfather was JUDr. Antonín Klouda, a First Republic senator and the president of the Faculty of Advocates. Later on he described his life in memoirs that belong to the family. JUDr. Jiří Klouda, the father of Mariana, was a lawyer like his four brothers. Her mother Marie Kloudová, born Eisnerová, came from a Jewish family from Nové Hrady. Her parents owned an embroidery factory there. Mariana attended primary school in Prague. However, she had to leave the school because of her Jewish origins in her third year. She went on with her studies at land primary school, which was attended by children from families affected the same way. The patriotic oriented Klouda family joined the resistance movement activities right at the beginning of the occupation. Her Grandfather and four of his five sons were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps. Having been arrested her father was investigated in Prague and in Pankrác. He was transported into concentration camps in Auschwitz and Buchenwald where he lived to see the liberation at the end of the war. Her brother Vladimír cooperated most with Jiří Klouda, who worked as a legal advisor of President E. Beneš. Her brother Vladimír had connections with members of the English paratroops and he arranged shelters for them. In April and May 1942 a wire operator of one of the English paratroops transmitted from the Klouda house in Lysolaje. Her brother had contacts with the Prague Castle and he was closely connected with the resistance movement group Academic YMCA that was led by Jaroslav Valenta and Jaroslav Šimsa. Vladimír Klouda was executed in Dresden on October 25th, 1944. His brothers with his father survived the war in concentration camps where they would eventually meet the future Minister A. Čepička. Mariana lived out the war years as a Jew, who had to wear the Star of David, and was subject to all of the bans and restrictions of the time. Her mother was not transported to Terezín, where all her relatives were, for the only reason of her serious disease to which she succumbed in January 1945. Little Mariana was then forced to grow up at her relatives in Prague and in Benešov. She sometimes managed to forget the war horrors. She remembers, for example, how she and her cousins with the future pastor of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, Jan Šimsa, founded a secret childrens group VOKLEST. The end of the war brought not only coveted freedom but also her father’s return from the concentration camp. Mariana and her sister Helena moved back to their father’s in Prague. Mariana entered the English Grammar School in Prague in 1948. After the February 1948, the Union of Youth (ČSM) started being more and more popular at the Grammar School. Mariana, an active girl scout from the Prague Vřetenušky group, refused to join them even if she was forced to do so. A few older school mates were arrested in connection with the activities of the Union of Youth (ČSM) in May 1950. Her husband-to-be, Jiří Hovorka, happened to be among them. Still before his arrest her father Jiří Klouda was repeatedly arrested as well. The State Security arrested him on February 15th, 1950. As a legal advisor of the international company Standard Elektrik, he was included in the second trial within the Plocek and company group. He was sentenced to 12 years of penal servitude for his crime of espionage by the State Court in Prague in October 31st, 1951. This trial followed a bigger one from June 1951 when three death penalties and one penal servitude were given. After her father’s arrest, Mariana tried to find out what happened to him. Only after a long search in Bartolomějská Street did she find that he was arrested and was about to be judged. She and her sister kept in occasional written touch with their father after the trial. His letters reflected mainly his worries about the two young girls, especially the younger one, Helena. Mariana graduated successfully in 1952 and she entered a one-year-remedial course during which she went through her practice in Prague and Kladruby. She became closer with her husband-to-be Jiří Hovorka at that time. A modest wedding took place in Prague on April 30th, 1953. Jiří Hovorka went to ask Mariana’s hand to Valdice jail but he was not let in. Mariana worked shortly in Jedlička’s Institution. Then she worked in Neurology Clinic of General Hospital in Prague. Her family, especially her husband, were heavily affected by the Hungarian uprising and the consequent events in 1956. The pain was partially healed by the birth of their son Tomáš in 1957. Her husband travelled with his geology research group a lot at that time. He started translating the novel 1984 by George Orwell, a novel almost unknown in Czechoslovakia at that time. The book has never been officially published but the translation was completed and read in some dissenter clubs. At that time the unique memoirs of the senator JUDr. Antonín Klouda started being written. He lived at Hovorkas’ at that time. The family moved into a flat near the Prague Castle in 1960. Their daughter Jana was born and the father came back as a result of amnesty from the Communist prison. Mariana started working in The Czech Language Institute, the Academy of Sciences of Czechoslovakia. She verified terminology for various dictionaries till the beginning of the 90s. There she spent the year 1968 when she got actively involved in the democratization process. Consequently, during the vetting she denounced the arrival of the Warsaw Pact military. She was, however, allowed to stay in her post. The Hovorkas had access to samizdat literature through various sources during the whole period of Normalization. From the 80s onwards when their daughter met the son of Ivan Klíma, whom she married later on, there was one more possibility of getting access to literature and information. Since the end of the 80s the Hovorkas regularly took part in anti-regime demonstrations. November 1989 was the logical result of efforts from the late 80s. Mariana perceived the period with enthusiasm, she went to demonstrate. Nevertheless, she didn’t accept everything with thanks and some disillusionment came as time went by. Including the influence of her parents, Mrs Mariana Hovorková’s life attitudes were also formed by her faith gained in the environment of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. The Scout Group and religion formed her life so that she served and loved the neighbours.