Ewa Klosová

* 1953

  • “Much supplies were done through a company. If a company managed to get hold of some stuff, they could divide it among its employees. For instance, my company brought a huge quantity of shoes from a factory that produced shoes. Normally, there was rationing on shoes, everybody could buy a pair of shoes for winter and a pair of shoes for summer. But you couldn’t choose your size. So you bought two pairs of shoes, hoping the size would fit your father, uncle or someone from the family. It was adventurous indeed. In this way we got shoes or cigarettes. Cigarettes were in sacks. The tobacco company, whenever it had some waste, such as broken cigarettes, parts of cigarettes or loose tobacco, they put it in large bags and whoever was interested, could buy a kilo of it. Even those who didn’t smoke took it, as their fathers or uncles did and they exchanged them. My family survived also thanks to the fact that I was employed in a nutria fur company. Some suppliers supplied us cheaply with meat too.”

  • “One night, December 13 it was, 1981, we woke up. I needed to make a phone call, but the phone wouldn’t work. I turned on the radio but there was nothing on the programme. We turned on the TV and on TV there was general Jaruzelski in his uniform, informing viewers in a solemn voice that a state of emergency had been declared in the country. He said it was necessary for the good of Poland etc. And then the speaker, also dressed in a uniform, although I don’t know what his rank was, read what it meant. That they could seize our car if necessary, that a curfew was introduced, from ten p.m. to six a.m., that you cannot travel without a prior authorisation.”

  • “In the 1970s, and I can remember that time, there was a shortage of everything. Everything indeed. In order to get something, it was necessary to have friends in the stores which had some goods at all. But, then again, the prices were high. There was a lack of food as well. All the time, something was lacking. When there was enough of something, there was shortage of something else. I remember that period as an incessant fight for food, goods, since either you had to stand in a long queue, so that you could get the goods at the very moment it arrived. Otherwise, unless you had a friend who kept something for you secretly, you were unlucky. And we had no friends in the stores. We felt this acutely in the state of emergency. It was horrible.”

  • “To this day I don’t know whether someone informed on me or not. It hadn’t happen ever before. He wanted to see my handbag straightaway. First I showed him my passport but he wanted to see my handbag. He threw out the contents and there was this Hrabal book. He took the book, left, then returned and asked how much of it I had. I asked what should I have. I knew what was it about but I pretended I didn’t, so I asked what was it he had against that book. I had to get dressed and go with him. At two at night. I had to get dressed, pack my things and get off the train. They put me in a room, told me their officer would come at seven and that I had to wait for him to interrogate me. Two men sat by my side, both pointing their guns at me. I felt terrible. For five hours I waited for his majesty the officer to arrive. Then he finally arrived and he subjected me to a rather lengthy interrogation. I made a scene and challenged them over getting me off the train. I should have been at work in the morning, instead I was still in Poland. He explained that this was not an appropriate book to read. I retorted that Hrabal was a normal official writer. They agreed but pointed out that not all of his books were official. I pretended not to know.”

  • “The festival was not banned in Poland. No one could interfere there. After the round table, Poland had its democratic Prime Minister since June. The changes were under way and the police had to watch themselves. There were no problems in organising the festival. I can’t remember any intervention. Nothing like that, everything was OK. Perhaps there were some plain clothes officers, I don’t know, but there were not any interventions or raids. Nothing of that sort. The Czechs were quite amazed how possible it was. There was this wonderful solidarity in that sense that Wroclava people took the Czechoslovaks and had them sleep in their flats. Many friendships were struck then.”

  • “I was surprised to find out that they wanted to partner with me. I didn’t think I was so important for them to want me as an informer. It angered me. For me, it was absolutely unacceptable. And I was unhappy.” — “Did they offer you a better job position?” — “Yes, they did.“ Since they, I hate hotel receptionists. They told me, they would get me a job as a receptionist in a posh hotel and that my life would be different. This was the offer I was given. I told them to get stuffed. Then was left with no income opportunity. I was nobody. In this situation my husband signed Charter 77. But I was really hopeless.”

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    Praha, 02.03.2018

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    Praha, 07.03.2018

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To overcome one’s fear when I served as a courier to Poland was a major test in my life

Ewa Klosova 1989
Ewa Klosova 1989
photo: archiv Pamětníka

Ewa Klosová, née Głowacka, was born on March 26, 1956, in Poznan. Her father worked as a technologist, her mother was a sourcing manager. Although they belonged to the middle class, due to a general shortage in Poland they struggled to make a living. Ewa’s parents could not even afford to pay for her education. She studied animal husbandry in Poznan and in 1978 joined the agricultural cooperative in Krosno. After two years she was forced to leave her position, since she criticised poor work of her manager. In 1979 she joined a company specialising in procurement and sale of animal skins and in 1980 actively joined the Solidarita movement. A year later, a state of emergency was declared in Poland and Solidarita was pushed underground and it disappeared from Ewa’s life. In 1984, during a trip to Prague, she met her future husband Juraj Puci, they married in 1985 and next year she moved with him to Czechoslovakia. She worked in an experimental institute, where she took care of test animals. It was here she met her colleague Anna Šabatová, her husband Petr Uhl and started illegally working on translation of Infochs to Polish and also worked as a courier for Polish-Czech Solidarity. In 1989, for instance, she prepared ground in Poland for the escape and hiding of the Czech dissident and hunger-striker Stanislav Devátý, who was, repeatedly, sentenced to prison and whose life would have been threatened by another hunger strike. In 1989 she took part in the Festival of Czech Independent Culture. When her marriage broke up in 1993, she married the journalist Čestmír Klos. She worked with the East-European Information Agency (VIA) and the Polish Institute in Prague.