Pavel Kaplan

* 1962  

  • ”I worked with the teleprinter, as such, I was able to write pretty fast. And so I began to copy different texts. In the beginning, lyrics of bands or poets, for instance, Ferlinghetti and others from the beat generation, even some writings by Dylan or Donovan and others too. I was actually really into the Beat generation back then. And since then, I think, I started to copy texts of the Jazz Section, though I was not even a member yet back then. Copying and sending them to people I knew from other crews. We were connected with other airports, and actually, we had never met those people, nor we ever talked over the phone with them; we were just exchanging messages through the teleprinter as it would be via chat today. So one never knew who was on the other side, but we kept sending messages as it were through some kind of chat today. It has never occurred to me that we were actually 'chatting' in the eighty-first. We would write to each other: 'I got this one; I might be interested in that, send it to me, and don't you have this…?' And, as one could just turn the recording on and copied, let's say, about three pages into the telex, and then just kept pressing so everything would be printed out, again and again, I just used to print it out and would give it away to the boys at the club or to others at lunch.”

  • “Suddenly, the people around and I started to feel enormous energy. I do not know where that was coming from; nevertheless, we just all wanted to help and break the system that surrounded us. Within the first months, but even later, we did not think politically at all. We had all been striving for a change, freeing out our space, so we could travel and function normally again."

  • “Of course, I'd had some offers (to enter the politics) even before the parliamentary and municipal elections. Still, I have never wanted to. That is what I have never thought of. The Civic Forum had continued for a couple of years later. My position was taken over by one of the punks, my friend. Nevertheless, one of the particularly important reasons why I left – apart from the feeling I wanted to start my own business – was that they began to politicize it. Fractions and separate groups had been emerging out of the Civic Forum, and they started to go against each other. I did not understand it. I was riding on some kind of my own wave, thus did not sense the differences within the Civic Forum. That, someone wanted to get into the position of a leader of some department or whatever, which eventually turned out to be the reason behind him doing frauds and intricate on someone else…That was like a red flag to me. I do not want to have anything in common with those people.“

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 09.07.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:58:01
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Suddenly, I felt the energy inside of me, we wanted to help and break the system.

Pavel Kaplan in July 2019
Pavel Kaplan in July 2019
photo: Post Bellum

Pavel Kaplan was born on April 13, 1962, in Český Brod, where he lived together with his parents in the nearby village called Pečky, located in the Central Bohemian Region. Between 1968 and 1970, when the youth organization Junák was restored, he attended the Scout club. During the adolescence years, he started to take an interest in independent culture, especially music. After graduating from primary school, Pavel started at the railways’ vocational school in Nymburk, a period followed by two-years military service in the Slovak city named Piešťany (starting 1981). Even there he stayed in contact with the alternative culture, as he used to copy and spread the texts and poems written by the Jazz Section via teleprint. After the military service, he worked at railways and went even deeper into the underground culture. He became a member of the so-called Jazz Section, was attending underground activities, even expanding the unofficial audio recordings of rock bands. After November 17, 1989, he founded a local branch of the Civic Forum in Pečky and actively participated in political negotiations. In 1990, Pavel accepted an offer to serve as a manager of the Civic Forum branch in the Kolín Region. However, after one year in service, the same year when the first free elections after the revolutionary November took place, he decided to leave the Civic Forum, a decision made out of his disappointment with politics.