RNDr. Michal Hron

* 1949

  • "To jsme zorganizovali samozřejmě jsme, to byl velký, ono to teď vypadá jako samozřejmý, ale první tři čtyři dny byl velký boj o to, jestli Textilana jako jednotná fabrika půjde na náměstí v Liberci a připojí se ke generální stávce. Nakonec nakonec všem tam asi došlo, že už není cesta zpátky, takže se všichni v uvozovkách pochlapili a prapor nesl, prapor za Textilanu nesl tehdejší podnikový ředitel, si pamatuju, že jo. Takže prostě to mělo tak rychlý obrátky, že člověk nestihnul sledovat ty změny postojů. No ale svědčilo to taky o tom, jak to bylo jalový, jak to bylo všechno papír, jaká to byla potěmkiáda, celý ten režim. A v podstatě to říkalo, jaký jsme hambáři, že jsme s takovouhle potěmkiádou nedokázali nic udělat, jak jsme před ní byli s odpuštěním podělaní."

  • "Oni byli dva tenkrát, jeden se jmenoval Ichut. Tam jsem nebyli, v tom druhým jsme byli. Až později jsem zjistil, že to byl původně jeden kibuc a oni se rozdělili v době stalinských procesů. V 50. letech se rozdělili na stalinistický a nestalinistický, proruský nebo prosovětský a protiruský. Opravdu normální rozchod, byli oddělený silnicí, což bylo zajímavý. No a tam jsme čtyři týdny čtyři týdny česali jablka a poslouchali z rádia, jak přistál Armstrong na Měsíci. To bylo v červenci, kdy Američani přistáli na Měsíci. No a pak jsme jeli do Tel Avivu, tam jsem absolvovali ty přednášky a pak jsme udělali autokarový zájezd po Izraeli, opravdu okružní jízda po Izraeli."

  • "Měli možná to privilegium z toho, že šli až pozdě do transportu, že nešli tak brzo do transportu, protože můj děda, ten Josef, pracoval na obci. Za protektorátu pracoval na obci, co tam dělal nevím, možná se podílel na sestavování transportů do Terezína, protože to všechno bylo v režii. Ty Němci byli v tomhle úžasně vynalézaví a úžasně krutí, že vlastně všechny ty organizace transportů nechali Židům. Oni rozhodovali, oni rozhodovali kdo půjde a kdo nepůjde do transportu, včetně těch transportů z Terezína. Jeden ten transport měl tisíc hlav a to bylo takových tisíc Sofiiných voleb."

  • “Some normalization lectures were taking place there. I remember two of them, one was about Zionism. Some communist lady was speaking, she was some sort of propagandist, and she presented this Zionism and mainly the State of Israel as an undeveloped, very backward country with those religious Jews. It's true that there were very few back then, a couple hundred thousand in a three or five million population at the time. And she portrayed it completely wrong. So I raised my hand and asked the lady. Everyone sitting next to me was kicking me to tell me to shut my mouth because they knew I had been to Israel and they knew I was Jewish. To tell me to shut up. So I raised my hand and asked her if she'd been there, in Israel, if she's giving such an expert lecture. She said no. I told her that I had no idea why she was saying those things, that Israel was a democratic country, advanced, yes, there were religious Jews, I simply explained it. And she asked me: “So you're telling me you've been there?” In an annoyed way. So I admitted that I had been there, which was not commonplace when the State Security had to know about it probably. And it threw her off so much that the lecture was over. Later I learnt that she'd cried about it… But then we had another one [lecture], coincidentally it was this exact ideological worker again and she spoke to us about atheism. I was an atheist back then but I also read a lot of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, and at that time I was reading Anna Karenina, which contains really long sections on faith in God. I don't remember any more which character says that in the book. And I became really intrigued, it sort of started coming to me that maybe it wasn't a lost cause. Not that I got converted but I did start to realize things. So I asked her why she was saying that, why did she think that faith in God is so bad, after all the whole world believes in God and just in our country there are a couple of people who don't. We are quite a minority, and even respected figures like Einstein, and then I quoted the Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky books, those all wrote novels full of faith, just packed with faith. And she ended that lecture too, I mean she couldn't bear it either, she just wasn't good at it.”

  • “It just so happened that I was born to Jewish parents who, as children, and subsequently as young adults, experienced Terezín, they were transported to Terezín. And my mother even was in Auschwitz, she went through the Auschwitz selection process that [her] parents did not pass, so I never got to meet my grandfather and grandmother. But my mother survived Auschwitz, in a work camp somewhere. My father, he also went through a work camp but he got the chance to go back to Terezín. So two young Jewish people met after the war by complete accident and I was their first-born son, their first child. Why was that significant for me? When I started going to school I noticed one major difference. Everybody had lots of cousins, aunties, uncles, all of their grandmothers and grandfathers, and I was the only one who only had a dad, a mum, two siblings later on, and a grandmother in Prague who survived, she was my dad's mother, and a grandfather from Česká Lípa who also survived, but in Shanghai, he managed to escape to Shanghai during the war. And my father's sister and one great-auntie – my mother's aunt – and one great-uncle. There were simply no more people in our family, but when they met let's say to celebrate my grandfather's birthday in Česká Lípa, there was more of us, we children were already there and children – my two cousins. And so my grandfather would always say: “Hitler really didn't hit the jackpot with us.” But he still had no idea what family reunions would look like these days. Because I myself now have three children, too, my sister only has one child but I now have nine grand-children already. My brother only has two grand-children so far, but the family is really large nowadays. Our children or their children now really don't feel discriminated in any way regarding the number of their family members.”

  • “It naturally matured like this up until the year [19]88 when it all started to lighten up and I would bring samizdat books from Prague and lend them out, from the Petlice edition at that time, there were more editions, so I would bring them and give them out. And that to that January month in the year [19]89, when during the anniversary of Jan Palach's self-immolation people were commemorating it in an absolutely peaceful way at Wenceslas Square, by that St Wenceslas statue, where it happened. And the police brutally broke them up. So they came back the second day, the third day, so that's why they call it Jan Palach Week. It lasted seven days… in January weather the police simply sprayed them with water cannons, it was brutal for that time, brutal. Well, and the scientific and technical workers' and scientists' communities could not put up with that. They wrote a declaration where they denounced it, which was after a long time since the intelligentsia said: “O.K., that's enough, it can't go on like this.” They released it as a petition and everyone could participate. So I got my hands on the petition in Prague and brought it to Textilana and left it there for the people from the information technology centre, all voluntarily of course, I let them read it and whoever wanted could join in.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    ZŠ Dobiášova v Liberci, 12.05.2017

    duration: 01:01:58
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Liberec, 04.10.2019

    duration: 03:42:29
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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The older I get, the more I realise that the meaning of life is to be good to others

Michal Hron asi v 15 letech
Michal Hron asi v 15 letech
photo: archiv Michala Hrona

Michal Hron was born on the 18th of June 1949 into a Jewish family in Prague. He studied at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University. Between the years 1972 and 1990 he worked as a programmer for the Textilana company IT centre in Liberec. He helped distribute Charter 77 and the declaration of scientific and technical workers which denounced the brutality that happened during the Jan Palach Week in 1989. He founded the Textilana branch of the Civic Forum. In 1990 he became a member of the Liberec local government where he worked for eight years, four out of which he spent as the mayor’s deputy for economics and housing. He has worked as a tax consultant since 1997. He helped found the Party for the Open Society (Czech: “Strana pro otevřenou společnost”) and is a member of the political party called Mayors and Independents in the Liberec region where he works in the finance committee of the regional government and in the anti-corruption committee of the regional council. He is currently also the president of the Liberec Jewish Community and a board member of the Czech Federation of Jewish Communities. Michal Hron is married and has three children. His son David spent years living in Israel and works as an interpreter and translator, his daughter Zuzana is a medical doctor, and his son Jan works as a programmer in the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.