Jiří Hryzlík

* 1927  

  • “I truly regretted it. Had I been smarter, I would have made a career. Being a communist and being with the communists are two different things. Today, I wonder how many people were with the communists back then, and how many were communists themselves. I think that the vast majority was just with the communists. That was a lifeline. Whoever wanted to make a progress had to have this red membership card. Nobody asked them whether they believed in it or not. They would just go to a couple of meetings, talk a bit, read something and suddenly become a deputy.”

  • “The beginning was horrible. Before they built new workshops we used to work in the original machining room. It was a horrible, dirty, smelly hall. Machines were packed in there – at that time I didn’t even know their names. They brought me there. Some guy, a communist bigshot named Gottwald, gave me instructions. A bastard, a foul guy, a worker. He brought me to a machine where there was a cast – a cylinder without the lid and the bottom. I later learned that those were the carousels – lathes with a horizontal board. He somehow attached it to it, switched it on and told me what to do. He said: ‘Just stop it when it’s done.’ I had no idea what it was all about. This is how I began there.”

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    Praha, 27.10.2015

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    duration: 01:01:15
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If I had been a communist I would have had a better life

Hryzlík Jiří, 2015
Hryzlík Jiří, 2015
photo: Eye Direct

Jiří Hryzlík was born in 1927 in Zábřeh na Moravě into a well-off family. His father was a director of the Central Moravian Power Plants enterprise. Jiří’s business college studies in Přerov were suspended by the outburst of WW II. He was sent to forced labor into a wartime production in the Optika fatory. He witnessed the liberation of Přerov as well as the expulsion of German inhabitants. In 1948 he declined an offer to join the Czechoslovak Communist Party. As a consequence and despite his qualification, he was only able to find blue-collar jobs. He worked as a worker in the Waltrovka factory, later serving in a number of other worker’s professions. In the 1970s he managed to get the job of an enterprise auditor. He had it always written in his papers that he was a politically unreliable person even though he never actually cared about politics.