Professor Vladimír Just

* 1946  

  • "The main limitation is not that the tanks came and people were fired from work and so on. Rather, the main limitation was in the internal self-censorship that one wrote something and already knew it stood no chance, if I did not want to be a dissident, that is, to be completely out of the field and write samizdat and meet friends of this kind, so live in a kind of catacombs, so to say, more or less. Just as I want to write the truth in some way, if it was at all possible within the limits, so you have begun to adapt internally. But that internal self-censorship was worse under normalization. You know, in the 1950s, as during the Nazi occupation, it was clear there. There was an office that banned you, did not accept it; they just cancelled it, ended it so. Even during the First Republic, white censored newspapers were published, so the regime admitted - yes, censorship existed here."

  • "Then I saw him live again in the Rubín theater, where my brother and I played again, because I only knew him from the media and from foreign stations, as they were slandered in Red Law and the like. And suddenly I saw him sitting there at the bar, so I approached him. He was rather happy because people usually avoided him. He came there and it got empty around him like that, because to be photographed, they were sitting there with Havel talking. Since he was my old idol and he recognized it from my rare notes, we could remember Semafor (translator´s note: famous theatre) and all that. So I talked to him for about an hour. Then, after November 1989, I found out that the bartender - his name was Pepa Koška - the bartender who always warned us there, like, 'Guys, be careful,' that he was also an agent."

  • "He issued an order that from a certain place above - that is, I do not know, from some head of the office to all the deputies, and the father was very high, because he had the capacity to do so - he must enter social democracy compulsorily. So my father in January 1948... he felt, my mother told me when he died, he had a big worry that he was a non-partial all his life and all of a sudden, and all of a sudden he had to join the socially-democratic party. All right, so he went in there so he could do his job. And as soon as he got there, there was a coup and they were obligated to be sent to the communists. And he didn't want that anymore, so he didn't pay the contributions, which he refused. No-one asked him, he suddenly got an ID and from being a Social Democrat, he suddenly became a communist, because they had made a so-called merger, they had just been swallowed up by a stronger party. And my father absolutely refused. Well, he didn't tell us then, but I learned that from our staff when I was a proper adult and my father was dead. "Mr. Just, you falsified all the questionnaires, you wrote everywhere your father was a non-partial person!"

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    Praha, 12.11.2021

    duration: 01:51:05
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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During the normalization, you were forced into self-censorship, which was not obvious

Vladimír Just in his youth
Vladimír Just in his youth
photo: archiv pamětníka

Vladimir Just was born on May 6, 1946 in Prague. His father worked at the Ministry of Light Industry and had to join the Social Democracy before February 1948. After the communist coup, he was transferred to the Communist Party, but sabotaged his membership. He was expelled from the party and had to make a living manually working in the CKD. Vladimír became interested in theater at the grammar school and studied theater science after graduation. He and his brother Jiří founded the theater ensemble Antitalent, but due to censorship they had to close down. He later worked at the Ateliér or Rubín Theater. During the normalization, he began to devote himself to theoretical work and wrote, among other things, a monograph on Vlasta Burian. He has been collaborating with Václav Havel since the 1980s. Today (2021) he works at the Department of Theater Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University.