Mgr. Ivan Jonáš

* 1942  

  • "Most people didn't know there was a weird regime at all. Parent didn't tell their children at all. But in our family, it was always spoken out and openly. We knew that Dad listened to London during the period of German occupation and we knew that he listened to something similar during the Communists. It was always said openly, we knew that it was not entirely good, that at school one had to speak differently than at home, and one knew that one walked along such a thin edge and had to be handy so as not to fall over there. And one was aware that the adults were afraid."

  • "In the end, our capable musicians in the 'Band' also wrote their own rock 'n' roll. And in the end, it turned out that we had the biggest problems with the authorities, mainly because of our texts. I was no longer a player, the second drummer in a rock band was probably not needed! But I wrote a lot, organized the work and prepared various manifestos, and then I had to go to the offices and negotiate with all sorts of secretaries, which they do not like there and so on. They were afraid that someone might laugh at something, and that terrified them. Short stories were also written to complement the music on the stage, especially Ed and I, I wrote "How the Song Came to Czechoslovakia" and also dialogues for each performance. Each performance was actually also a new theatrical performance, the loyal audience always needed something new. We had our audience, there were several hundred of them, that even the halls where we played could not fit. In 1962, however, we also filled the Lucerna music club and Vojanovy sady in Prague."

  • "We received a total of 40000 individual applications in Prague by 1968. The Independent Writers' Club, led by the young playwright Václav Havel, also applied collectively. We initiators, young chemists, searched for and also found prominent Czech cultural and political figures of non-partisans to support us intellectually. I was most impressed by Rudolf Battěk, a later dissident, who was imprisoned for the longest of all dissidents, for nine years, which was longer than Havel, and after 1989, he was the first to run for the Civic Forum. Then the head was the head of the Houses of the Federal Assembly.” Due to internal discrepancies, I left the preparatory committee in the summer of 1968 and started working in the so-called KAN Commission for the Countryside, but people wanted to talk to Ludvík Rybáček, who was ill, so this commission was formed, in which my fellow doctoral students from ICT were actively working. They organized it very nicely and professionally. It was supposed to be a congress in September and KAN was supposed to be established. So this was mine."

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    Praha, Vinohrady, 13.03.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 02:02:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I’ve always tried to achieve justice

Contemporary photo of Ivan Jonáš
Contemporary photo of Ivan Jonáš
photo: archiv pamětníka

Ivan Jonáš was born on April 15, 1942 in Prague quarter of Vinohrady. He came from a middle-class family, but his father could not practice law after February 1948 and made a living as a worker, so the family lost its former social status. He graduated from elementary school and the so-called eleven-grade school in náměstí Míru and in Žvahov in Smíchov. He is one of the founders of the rock and roll band Sputnici. From 1959 to 1963 he worked for the band as a manager and occasional a lyricist. In 1968, he was at the birth of the Club of Engaged Non-Partisans (KAN). He studied inorganic chemistry at the Faculty of Science of Charles University in 1964. He was excluded from doctoral studies at the Institute of Chemical Technology due to his political involvement in the forthcoming normalization. He continued to work at the Academy of Sciences as a researcher. In 1971 he emigrated to Sweden. Over time, he established himself here as a scientist, working at the universities of Lund and Salt Lake City, Utah. For the next twenty-three years he worked for LM Ericsson as a technologist. In addition, he became involved in activities in support of Czechoslovak dissent and became involved in human rights even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.