Ing. Jiří Jiránek

* 1942  

  • “They were trying to infiltrate our event by their people, or by people they had influence over, who would gather information about us. At that time, they would try to remove me from public life, so various accusations against me had emerged. The funniest of them all was the claim I was a leader of a religious cult. The rumor started when we did this archaeological research at the Kunětická hora Castle, there were forty people in two groups. Even before that we would go there on weekends, camping right in the courtyard. And of course, there was a bonfire in the evening and we would sing. And those who listened to us, hiding behind the castle walls, as they couldn't just get in, came to the conclusion we had this religious cult going on there. So there were absurd accusations like this. Another one was that I had this illegal business, that I was enriching myself illegally. The Tax Office in Pardubice would investigate us for seven months, they would go through all our papers and after seven months they found out not only no one did enrich himself, but we would even put our money in. If there wasn't enough money, we just had to pay for everything ourselves.”

  • “There were consequences in every place in which the Soviet troops were stationed. It wasn't so obvious here in Pardubice, but the troops stationed in Bohdaneč were behaving in quite a Soviet manner as well. The worst consequences of their stay in this region could be found in Vysoké Mýto, but most of those had been cleared away by now. I think that nowadays it's the mind of the people which seems to be polluted the most. As it had this immense impact on the society, it was just terrible. Many people had a hard time accepting it. But there were exceptions, some had no problem with accepting it and they were keen to collaborate with those troops. I witnessed it while working as a forester, as this Mýto garrison kept doing quite a lot of damage and they would always sweep it under the carpet. They behaved like they were used to in Soviet Russia, that was the problem.”

  • “I remember the Minister of Interior back then joining this debate. As we had a lot to say against how things were organized at that time regarding nature conservation and heritage preservation. So this discussion went on and I would come up with this quite harsh critique of Mr Minister, for which I got scolding right on the spot from his press agent, it was Karel Merhaut who did the job. He was trembling with fear, but there were no consequences. Mr Minister didn't know what to say, what to answer, and that was the end of the debate. Mr Minister walked away, quite angrily, and we would carry on, promoting events that took place in the past.”

  • “In August 1968 I was in Pardubice and I joined this protest march to confront those Polish soldiers stationed under Kuňka. Several thousand people went up that road. But yes, as we were reaching our destination, there were maybe half of us. Then we found out they were Poles, led by the Soviets in those armored personnel carriers. They didn't know what to do, apparently, so they would just depart and leave the Poles standing there. So we would talk to the Poles for maybe two hours. Then negotiations between the city and the occupying forces started. They occupied the airfield, of course, but they would not enter the city. They would stay outside and only those Soviet armored cars would patrol the city. They would go back and forth, keeping an eye on what was happening.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Pardubice, 02.06.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 02:45:41
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
  • 2

    Pardubice, 16.06.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 02:37:13
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
  • 3

    Pardubice, 26.08.2021

    (audio)
    duration: 01:37:51
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
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I dedicated my life to the Brontosaurus Movement

Jiří Jiránek in 2021
Jiří Jiránek in 2021
photo: Post Bellum

Jiří Jiránek was born on 7 September 1942 in Prague to the family of a merchant. After 1948, his father’s store had been seized by the communists so his family had to move to work at collective farms around Pardubice. He studied at a forestry school. He did his compulsory military service in Pardubice as a technician serving the local MiG-15 fleet. In 1965, he married and moved to Vysočina to work for the Forest Administration. The following year, his daughter was born and the family returned to Pardubice. The witness started working at Semtín and later at Tesla, building two houses. After 1972, he gave lectures at secondary schools. He organized summer camps for students and co-founded the Brontosaurus Action in 1974. After a year, an official movement backed by the Socialist Youth Union (SSM) was established, gaining widespread popularity among the young people. From 1980 to 1985, he studied forestry at university. After 1984, the regime would punish him in various ways for his activities. In 1990, he entered his second marriage and started working at the Ministry of the Environment’s department of landscape ecology. Later, he was at the department of environmental politics, retiring in 2005. In 2021, he was living in Pardubice.