Anna Hradilková

* 1956

  • "My husband was summoned for questioning several times and he was forced to cooperate, which he refused. And he was even threatened that if he did not sign it, the family, me and the children, would be in danger. It was very uncomfortable at the time. I had quite a difficult time, I was really scared, because at that time it was normal that the Chartists or people from their surroundings were attacked on the streets - someone unknown attacked and beat them, or for example Zina Freund was attacked in her apartment. I was especially afraid that something would happen to our children. I remember that I was so scared that when I was alone in a cottage in the Krkonoše Mountains and someone was walking down the road, they looked towards our cottage, I was afraid that they were State Security officers who were checking to see if anyone was in there. And that they might come there at night and attack me. I really lived in fear."

  • "What bothered me the most and what I began to perceive a lot at the end of primary school and then in high school was the state of the environment. We often spent time in a cottage in the Krkonoše Mountains, and at that time the border forests were dying due to sulfur fumes produced by industrial enterprises. It was a big shock for me to see the forests disappear. My brother studied the environment and even from abroad I knew that attention was focused on the environment, and for me it was a sensitive topic and I had a great desire to change something about it, to be active, I was interested in it. But at that time, I came across the fact that it was not really possible to associate with someone, establish organizations or join someone and work independently and change the situation. The only thing that was possible, were some nature conservation associations, which were, however, under state control and it was not possible to build or to be active independently. That´s how my environmental activity began, and there I came to the conclusion that society is not free, that I can't develop in something that interests me, and that I can't get together with people who have the same interest or focus as me.”

  • "Of course, I didn't grow up only in a family - we were a part of a wide community of Christian families, such as the Němec and Forbels, and many other families, most of whom had more children. We spent time together, we visited them intensively, we spent holidays together and went on trips. … I felt good among these children, but once I got into the majority society, I felt completely excluded. And I didn't appreciate that until I grew up - I saw it as an advantage, that I had a different perspective, that I formed my own opinions regardless of the majority society."

  • "At the time, when one said 'he or she goes to church' - it was such a sticker of which I was ashamed at school because no one I knew at school was going to church. It was something that others made fun of back then. Even within school and teaching, religion was denigrated and ridiculed. So, I was not boasting about it anywhere. … My parents never encouraged us to hide it or talk about it, but at the same time I always had a clear signal from them that there were certain things related to religion (such as that we were meeting with people who came from prison, that there were home masses at our place and that we were meeting people who spoke against the regime or otherwise than at school), which are not talked about because I could endanger not only myself but also other people. In my early childhood, it was actually very difficult for me, because I always felt like an outsider, I always felt like someone who doesn't belong to the majority society, excluded - partly because I couldn´t talk openly about everything I wanted to talk about. Partly, because, for example, there would be no single person I would be able to talk to at the same level on the basis of similar experience. And there was no opportunity to discuss or talk freely to the teachers either. So, I had to keep a lot of things to myself and I actually felt excluded during my whole childhood.”

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    Praha, 06.02.2020

    duration: 01:32:11
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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We were united by our attitude towards the regime, our desire for freedom and the constant danger

Anna Hradilková was born on January 12, 1956 in Prague as the eldest child of Zdenka and Přemysl Mucha. She is coming from a Catholic family. Her parents at home often brought together people with Christian background, including former political prisoners, for debates and domestic masses. At school, she always felt excluded because of her faith and the environment in which she grew up. She knew she couldn’t talk openly about many things away from home. She was associating with dissent, in the circle of the Němec family and The Plastic People of the Universe and others. As they did not sign Charter 77 because of their husband’s university studies, they were not so much under the scrutiny of the State Security. At times, they hid friends who were threatened with imprisonment for political reasons, or were pressured to samizdat. During her adolescence, she became interested in the environment, which later led her to co-found the Prague Mother’s Association. Despite fears of violence by the State Security, she refused to emigrate.