Tomáš Ježek

* 1940  †︎ 2017

  • “On the twenty-third of August I was with my brother Martin at the [National] Museum at the moment when they let fire on it, they thought that something was going on there, that it was some kind of HQ. You can still see the bullet holes there, and I was there when it happened. I was up the top, where the ramp is, there are three entrances to the Museum. Of course I was afraid because they were shooting over my head. Luckily, one of the glass panes in the entrance was knocked out clean, there weren’t any shard there, so I launched myself from where I was standing, jumped through the window and rolled over the marble floor. I made use of my physical prowess and thus got myself out of danger. In the evening I talked with my brother, he said that at that moment he was lying in the fountain a few metres away.”

  • “I myself participated in the samizdat, I published some things in samizdat. Those were people around Emanuel Mandler and Bohuš Doležal. We published these kind of books, and we earned the money for it in such a funny, almost touching way. We had a friend somewhere in Satalice, and he provided us with some land. We cultivated garlic on it. We sold that and used the proceeds to buy paper and things like that. I samizdat published my translations of Hayek, both The Road to Serfdom and his big book Law, Legislation and Liberty, that was all published in samizdat and distributed around Prague.”

  • Vojtěch Ježek: A Lidice Mother I, shades of eyes behind bars, a Lidice mother, I, nailed to the cross, I ask you – Lord, did you see when they took the babe from my arms? Did you hear the shot, and how the man toppled down? That was our dad. His mouth stained by blood and a little dirt. Tell me, please, Lord, will he have eyes, when he rises from the dead, or just tear-stained shades as I, as I? You’re silent. Do you reign only over the stars, or also among us? I accuse, I accuse, Lord, not you – them. [Vojtěch Ježek, Tomáš Ježek’s father, wrote this poem on 24 September 1944 before being transported from the prison in Pilsen-Bory to Dresden, where he awaited trial. He was executed in Leipzig on 13 April 1945.]

  • “July 1990, when Havel made one rather, in a good sort of way, nasty remark. He said: ‘Economists, what’re you doing? Where’re you lazying about? Its half a year after the revolution and I can’t see a single private-owned pub in Prague. I’d love to visit one, but there isn’t any here, so when will it happen?’ So I thought that we’d have to come up with some method to make it faster, so we came up with the small privatisation, which with hindsight proved to be an excellent idea. It had great results. The privatisation concerned properties such as pubs, hotels, restaurants, workshops. The word ‘small’ is some kind of journalistic shorthand, or the public started calling it that. The defining trait lies elsewhere. Only tangible assets were sold, but the liabilities remained with the old company. So the company was taken apart bit by bit, it was sold off in those auctions, it retained its liabilities, and those were settled by the proceeds amassed on the ministry’s account.”

  • “His resistance consisted of the fact that [Vojtěch Ježek] sent some messages to London concerning the military production at the Škoda Works in Pilsen and some transports of military material for the Wehrmacht. Of course, they found him out soon enough and nabbed him. On 1 November 1943 he was arrested, and that was the last time we saw him. My physical memories of him are very limited because I was three and a half, but I do have some flashed of him. I remember one time, when we were in Zahrádka, which is a village near Nepomuk, where we spent the holidays. Dad had some pupils there who provided us with a summer flat. In the summer he took me on piggyback, on his back, his shoulders, and when dusk fell and it was dark, he took me out on to the meadow, Draha it was called there. We watched the floodlights above Pilsen. We could see the anti-air defence floodlights in the distance.”

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    Praha - Vinohrady, byt pamětníka, 17.11.2014

    duration: 03:48:56
    media recorded in project Memory of the Nation: stories from Praha 2
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God sees me, and the rest can go stuff themselves

Tomáš Ježek 1967.JPG (historic)
Tomáš Ježek
photo: archiv pamětníka

Tomáš Ježek is the second of the three sons of Vojtěch and Růžena Ježek. He was born in Pilsen on 15 March 1940. His father was a professor of languages at the 2nd Grammar School on Mikuláš Square. On 1 November 1943 he was arrested for resistance activities by the Gestapo, and on 13 April 1945 he was executed in Leipzig. Růžena Ježková and her sons were evicted from their flat, and they only survived through to the end of the war in Zahrádka near Nepomuk thanks to the help of friends and relatives. After the war they received compensation in the form of accommodation in a small villa in Prague-Strašnice. The family were all part of the Sokol sports movement, and Tomáš Ježek participated in the 11th All-Sokol Rally in 1948. In 1954 and 1955 the basketball team that he played for won a silver medal at the national championship. He graduated in 1957 from the 15th Eleven-Year Secondary School on Londýnská Street in Prague, and he began studying at the Faculty of National Economics of the University of Economics in Prague. After completing compulsory military service he found employment at the Economic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1964. From 1967 he worked as an intern at the Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Despite warnings from Professor Maurice Allais, whose lectures he attended, he returned to Prague on 12 August 1968. His refusal to agree with the occupation of Czechoslovakia caused him to expelled from the Communist Party in 1969. In 1985 he obtained a position in the newly founded Prognostic Institute of the CAS. He attended the “flat seminars” of Petr Pithart, where he also lectured. He participated in the creation of specialised samizdat anthologies and the translation of foreign literature. He was active in the economic section of the Civic Forum, and he was an advisor to the finance minister in the first post-November 1989 government. In Petr Pithart’s government he held the post of minister without portfolio for the administration of national property and its privatisation. He chaired the committee that managed the National Property Fund. He was a member of the Committee for Securities. In 2014 he and his wife Věra celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. He has two sons, Tomáš and Jakub. Tomáš Ježek passed away in November, 2017