I never regretted it, I’m glad things turned out the way they did
Miroslav Jirounek was born on 3 August 1955 in Kladno to Bohumil and Marie Jirounek. The family soon moved to Mladá Boleslav. The witness attended primary and grammar school there. His family upbringing infused him with a love of culture and the traditions of the First Republic. He was an excellent violinist, successfully participating in a number of competitions. On a spiritual level, he was strongly influenced by the Evangelical pastor in Mladá Boleslav, Alfréd Kocáb. He made music together with Kocáb’s son Michael. The Soviet occupation in 1968 was a turning point in his life. He refused to accept the consequences of normalisation, and he personally criticised the headmaster of the Mladá Boleslav grammar school, František Nerad, who drastically curtailed freedom of speech and religion at the school. In 1973 Jirounek was expelled from school, in the end he graduated extramurally at Wilhelm Pieck Grammar School in Prague. In 1975 he was accepted to study conducting at the Prague Conservatoire - only to be expelled half a year later, despite very good results. He was later allowed to complete distance studies - thanks to the intervention of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, which he wrote a letter to. He worked in various menial jobs, including that of a boiler man at the Convent of St Agnes in Prague. In 1977 he signed Charter 77. In November 1989 he was a founding member of the Civic Forum in Prague. He attained recognition as a member of the Third (anti-Communist) Resistance. He and his wife Michaela have five children.