Ludmila Kotálová

* 1923  

  • "What we wanted was something like an improved First Republic. We knew the republic didn't solve social problems. But we didn't realise that it could not do it, really. After the war, they said things should be done in a different, better, way, and that something should be done with the economy as a whole. But communism was not meant to be it, there was no talk of that. I heard boys from businesspmen's families saying that nationalisation would take place. We knew it all had to be solved somehow, but nobody thought that everything would be nationalised at once on 28 October. Nobody knew that!"

  • "We were really proud of being the first girls' secondary school in Central Europe. It was our pride and joy. There were also excellent teachers at the school. I learned so much! The school gave me so much! It's unbelievable. When we had a convention, one of the first post-revolution Ministers of Education Petr Vopěnka said in his address: 'Rebuilding such a school will take a very long time. It was a product of certain culture and Czech learning. Recreating it and giving the students the same starting position for life is not easy.'"

  • "The atmosphere of the march was quite revolutionary. It was believed that Beneš would not allow this. I don't remember exactly. We walked via Strahov to the square in front of the Castle, and there were police barriers there and we just scattered. I ran to restrooms and then walked to Klárov. There, I heard that the front of the march reached the Castle, but Beneš had already accepted the government resignation. And then it all sort of waned amidst other developments. It was all kind of weird. Then Jan Masaryk died. Then there was a sort of interregnum and nobody knew what to do or what will happen. In particular, the fact that Masaryk stayed in the government was accepted very badly. For people, this meant that he accepted the government. Nobody knew what to make out of it. I, for my part, didn't know what I should think about it."

  • "I saw an exhibition in Mánes in 1946, and it was Soviet art - paintings. In the large room there was this painting - half Stalin, half some other Soviet big head, and children bringing them flowers. It was so silly you couldn't bear to look at it. You know, we knew Šíma, Muzika, and Špála (though we thought he was kitschy) - and then we saw this. It was horrible! Socialist realism! It was appalling."

  • "I remember Ransdorf, the Chairman of the Všerod association. I used to go to the Všerod dance parties too, in Slovansky Dum. And there used to be a lot of debating there. We danced some and then debated. Communist students wanted primarily to control the university students' union, and they discussed it there. I think they were very good debaters. And they knew how to make use of the students' situation. There were no halls or textbooks at the time, and study aids were scarce."

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    Datum ani místo natáčení mi není známo, 01.10.2007

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They said things should be done differently after the war, but there was no speak of communism.

Ludmila Kotálová
Ludmila Kotálová
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Ludmila Kotálová, née Balloušová, was born on 16 September 1923. She graduated from the Minerva girls’ grammar school in 1942. She started studying the Faculty of Law of Charles University in 1946. She participated in the student march to Prague Castle in 1948. Following political purges in 1948, she and her friend Pavel Kotál were expelled from the school. They continued meeting their student friends. At one meeting, Pavel Kotál was addressed by Vlastimil Chalupa, former high-ranking official of the National Socialist Party who was also a StB agent with cover name Major Král who was building an anti-communist platform. He founded the Labour Party (Strana práce), trying to bring together anti-Bolshevik movements in Czechoslovakia. The party provided the background for the publishing of the Plamen periodical, which Pavel Kotál and Ludmila Balloušová distributed. The entire group was arrested at the end of the summer in 1949. Ludmila was sentenced for 20 years of imprisonment for high treason and espionage. She served her penalty in the prisons in Prague-Pankrác, Hostinné and Pardubice. Ludmila Balloušová was one of the 12 female political prisoners of the Pardubice isolated ward, also known as the Castle, who wrote letters to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1953, pointing out the violations of the UN Charter on Human Rights in Czechoslovak prisons and the general disregard of the Charter by the communist regime. She was released at the end of 1960 during an extraordinary general amnesty; Pavel Kotál left the prison with impaired health several years later. Ludmila Kotálová was acquitted in 1968, but Pavel Kotál did not live to receive the court decision.