Václav Kadlec

* 1945  

  • “When the occupiers barged into Czechoslovakia, the national committee [local council - trans.] in Řepy gave us whitewash and brushes, and we wrote ‘Brezhnev’s gone mad! People, help!’ everywhere. [People] tore down signposts everywhere because of the occupiers, so they couldn’t orient themselves, and it actually worked for a bit. But then there were people who didn’t just cover their heads with ashes, they used whole bins of ashes. Claiming they’d come to realise something... Bollocks, they were afraid for their jobs!”

  • “I came home in August 1968. My smithy was in Dejvice, near Ořechovka; I called old Bláha, and he said: ‘Venda, please, don’t go round the back way, don’t take the shortcut via the rails, we’ve got Ruskies here.’ When I came to the smithy, there was a soldier there with a flamethrower. He wanted to know where I was going, so I said: ‘To work!’ He let me pass, but it was an unpleasant experience. There was a garden beside the smithy, there were lots of Ruskies in tents there, they even slept in the dog’s kennel - after eating the dog. The soldiers were of different nationalities from all over the Soviet Union. The poor sods didn’t even know where they were. They thought that Czechoslovakia had succumbed to the counter-revolution and that we were murdering Communists here. Bollocks! They were the ones who shot some people here.”

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    Praha 6, 22.11.2015

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    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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The story of a family where the craft is passed down from father to son

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Václav Kadlec

Václav Kadlec was born on 12 June 1945 in Prague. He trained as a blacksmith in the late 1950s, early 1960s. He helped renovate numerous historical monuments. He started his own business after the Velvet Revolution. He now works as a master craftsman, training apprentices.