Martin Klíma

* 1969

  • "One of the memories I have is how a demonstration is organized on Wenceslas Square, where Karel Gott and Karel Kryl were to sing - or then actually sing - the anthem together on Melantrich's balcony. And that's what Havel actually suggested. And it seemed like a strange thought to us and me. And there were people who found it even more strange idea. Karel Gott was simply an icon of the normalization regime, the embodiment of everything that bothered us about the official socialist culture. As Kundera said - a 'brilliant idiot'? He said 'a music idiot and a president of oblivion', but it's mostly quoted incorrectly. The idiot of music, well ... In short, a figure that was truly the embodiment, the incarnation of everything that bothered us. Is the man supposed to sing the anthem together with Karel Kryl? Isn't that a denial of everything we strive for here? What kind of a new world will be born from such a connection? And such objections and doubts were raised there, and Václav Havel said that Karel Gott was a natural phenomenon. And he cannot be judged by human measures."

  • "There really were three conversations in parallel, three cameras filming side by side, and we just kept saying the same… eight, ten hours a day ... So, in the evening, when we said, 'I'll tell you what I haven't told anyone yet,' it no longer sounded entirely convincing. But one of us made up a terribly funny catch-phrase there: The specter of communism is leaving Europe, which was especially funny to those of us, who learned the communist manifesto. None of the Americans understood this, and maybe one of ten European journalists got it. Plus, we didn't know exactly how to say the 'specter' in English. And I translated that D&D, it has ... part of those rules is something called a bestiary; and it's a list of monsters, freaks you can meet in those caves. And there are ten different synonyms for a goblin and ten different synonyms for a specter. And the word I liked is bugbear. Bugbear is a normal legitimate English word that means a specter, and it is clearly not very popular or common. And now there was an American woman, and I talked to her - she asked what was going on - and I said, 'The bugbear of communism is leaving Europe.' She said, 'What? The bugbear? Can You spell it? ' - 'B.u.g.b.e.a.r.' And now there was an Englishwoman sitting next door talking to Monika [Pajerova], and she said, 'Do You know what a bugbear is?' - 'No, I´ve never heard it.' ”

  • " Stuha, the independent student union, that we started founding, wanted to organize a demonstration to announce its existence to the world, so to speak. We - the students who were in Stuha – we were discussing how we wanted to do it and whether we wanted to work with SSM (Socialist Union of Youth) or not. Or like this: some of us there suggested that it would actually be the easiest and the best to connect with the members of socialist youth union and put together a demonstration on November 17th. Because we felt that the... just year 89: Palach's week, August 21, October 28. In fact, on August 21, 1988, there was a demonstration. And in fact, the demonstrations were, on the one hand, something that hadn't been there before - it was obviously a move. It was. But in the spring of '89 we already had a feeling that ... I had a feeling that it had somehow reached a dead end. That all the benefits it could have given it had already given, and in fact the scenario was only being repeated over and over again. A few thousand people live in Prague who will come to the demonstration. They are then splashed with water and some of them get beaten. Some of them may be picked up and taken somewhere, and they have got some troubles. And basically, nothing will happen. Definitely the majority society, even thought, it quietly approves of it, it does not have enough courage, strength to participate on its own. And if we have a demonstration that has such a hallmark of officiality that can be added by the participation of the official SSM, then those people who would not normally come, will also come there. Those, who are afraid to come. And other students there said that if we joined with SSM, we would be completely discredited and lose any credibility we might have for some independent students. It's just that once we're an independent union of students, we can't work with that dependent union. And we discussed it, then we voted on it. And those who were in favor of that cooperation won.”

  • "So, I became the publisher of the Villoidus viridis magazine. And it happened so, that I bought cyclostyling membranes in the stationery store, then I went to the faculty organization SSM (Socialist Union of Youth). I received a set of numbers there. Then I got somewhere from some friends, acquaintances and so on ... I got the material for the issue, which were typically pirated translations of some English short stories, or some reviews of books that were published, or some essays on science-fiction. I then handed the material over to someone who could type, and I gave them the series of numbers. One of those numbers was written on each membrane. Then I took all the membranes, I took them to the copy room at Matfyz. There they checked that the numbers were really unused and valid, that they were really received by the assigned SSM organization. They ticked them off and made fifty or a hundred copies of each page for me, for example. We then composed the fanzine from that, which typically had, I don't know, maybe forty pages. So that's how every issue of the magazine originated, and then I was going to those other sci-fi clubs with it. The most famous of these was the sci-fi club R.U.R. in the Radio Palace. There I could sell this fanzine to someone or exchange it for a fanzine from a club and expand the club library like that.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 30.07.2019

    duration: 01:51:08
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 05.08.2019

    duration: 01:53:43
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 3

    Praha, 04.11.2019

    duration: 01:19:42
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We must fight for freedom, he said at Albertov on November 17, 1989

Martin Klíma in the lair, 1992
Martin Klíma in the lair, 1992
photo: archive of the witness

Martin Klíma was born on June 7, 1969 in Bristol, Great Britain, where his parents lived between 1968-71. During his high school studies in Prague, he became interested in science fiction. In 1987 he joined the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University and became the publisher of the fanzine Villoidus viridis, the student magazine of the local sci-fi club. In addition, he organized a successful petition against the intended demolition of the faculty buildings in Karlov. According to him, the success of the petition directly inspired the establishment of the independent student movement Stuha, which together with the Socialist Youth Union organized the protest march on November 17, 1989. In Albertov, where the event began, Martin Klíma gave a speech to the independent students. In the following days, he became one of the spokesmen of the coordination strike committee, which managed the occupation strike of universities from the Disk Theater. After the revolution, he founded the Altar publishing house, in which he published his own version of the “role-playing game”, Dragon’s Lair. He later switched to creating and publishing computer games, to which he is still devoted to till today.