Vítězslav Janovský

* 1930

  • People were demonstrating, students from high schools and universities went somewhere to the Prague Castle so that [President] Beneš wouldn't sign the demission [of the whole cabinet]. And we marched - Smetanka St. had been already repaired by then - to the Wenceslas' Square. But then, from all the side streets, the People's Militia appeared, it started somehow in the '45 and meantime, they organised themselves in bands. They weren't supposed to have weapons, they shouldn't be armed, their task was to get into the nationalised factories and guard them. When we arrived to the upper part of the square, just under the horse [large equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas; a popular meeting point] and started to shout, these militia swarmed out of the side alleys and all of them had guns and aimed at us. We were seventeen or eighteen so we ran back. We returned and some university students got beaten by them somewhere there."

  • "'Who drew this?' They wanted to know who drew it. Everyone knew that the only person who was good in drawing was Miloš Vácha. Nobody said it. Then, instead of a class, nobody came to teach so we just sat in the classroom. Then the Headmistress came and announced: 'You are children from bourgeois families and you need to get acquainted with the working class so that you would develop the right views. You'll go to work to Kolbenka [the ČKD factory in Prague].' Our class teacher was a decentguy, he had only a few years before retirement. It was him who talked them into sending us to the factory so that we'd get to know the work of the working class, we the bourgeois. It was in November and all December and January we would go to Kolbenka from 6 am in the morning so that we would discover the life of the working class."

  • "The Communist started that doing of noticeboard, that had not been done before. What did they say, yeah... Maybe Miloš Vácha, he painted nicely, so he painted such an image of a classroom, teacher's table, the blackboard and next to the blackboard, a portrait of the president at the usual place. And in that frame, he drew that schematic picture of a pig, that rectangle and triangle and legs. Nobody confessed to it but there was one boy, he was a Communist, so we all thought that it was him who went to squeal on us, that we desecrated president's portrait. So everyone came to have a look, that was before I started that school so I wondered what the heck was going on. Then there was an investigation, they kept asking who drew it.... So, as a punishment, they wanted to expel us from school forever or so. So, our class teacher who saved us for a second time, he was a great teacher, he taught us maths and physics, one Doctor Vostrý, and he talked to them. And they decided that we need to be reeducated, that we need to get to know the working class. So instead of school, we went to work in the ČKD factory for all of December and January."

  • "They came riding some tanks which arrived from that there at Pankrác, those SS-men who were running away from that Neveklov area, so they simply arrived to Pankrác, there were some barricades. They somehow climbed over the barricades or razed them with the tanks or something and they grabbed some people - women, children, anyone. They brought them on the top of the barricade and said, that, ultimatum, if the barricade is not removed, they will shoot those people. So, nobody knew what to do about that and at the end, they shot them all dead anyway."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Letohrad, 22.07.2019

    duration: 02:20:33
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 20.08.2020

    duration: 02:14:00
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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Forced labour as a punishment for a drawing of pig

Vítězslav Janovský in 1934
Vítězslav Janovský in 1934
photo: archiv pamětníka

Vítězslav Janovský was born on the 9th of November in 1930 in Prague and he had an older brother, Jiří. His father was a clerk. The family lived in Prague and every time, they left for summer, for example to Kunčice, today a part of Letohrad (then Kyšperk). As a small boy, he went to see the funeral cortge of President Masaryk. He liked to visit his grandmother in Hradec Králove, he was enchanted by modern architecture. He was deeply touched by the Nazi dictatorship and with his friend, they tried to express their dislike of the German occupants as much as they could. He witnessed the bombing of Prague and the fights of the Prague Uprising. On the 25th February in 1948, he was a high school student and he participated in a peaceful demonstration in support of the President, Edvard Beneš. The demonstration was ordered to disperse by the Police. Between 1948-1949, he and his classmates were to be expelled from school but their teacher pleaded for them and they got milder punishments, however, it remained in their dossiers as a negative. After graduating from high school, he took a course in geodesy and for all his life, he worked as a land surveyor. In 1953, he served in the army with the land surveying team in Mladá Boleslav. His first marriage ended in divorce, in 1971, he remarried and he and his wife had three daughters. In 2019, Vítězslav lived in his daughter‘s house in Petříkovice.