Vladimír Kovář

* 1942  

  • “Fear settled amongst people, because they did not know what is going to happen. Here in a village and maybe even somewhere else, the communists were on the bottom of the social ladder. And their characters also matched their position. It was not advised to cooperate with them, everyone warned against them. Against this one and that one. We were not allowed to say anything so they will not… And in the school, we had a sheet of paper for drawing and it was divided in half with a line, we wrote before in the top and now in the bottom. And then we drew how people ploughed with horses – that was before – and now there was a tractor that pulled a plough and ploughed the field. But in Putim it was just the other way around – the farmer Mára had a tractor. Even though we were kids at that time, we understood it. And in that precise moment, Mára was passing by the school in the tractor. But we had to write it the way they ordered us. And they all farmed badly as well, they were all bad farmers in the UAC. But the pressure was growing – towards everyone who had not been in the cooperative yet. They were given those unrealizable quotas as they were called. It means they were obliged to supply to the state. I remember that once or maybe even more times we had to go to Písek to the butcher’s to buy lard so we would be able to meet the limit which was set for a pig slaughter. It was not an easy time.”

  • “There was a scene of devastation. There was a fire, firemen tried to put out the houses which were on fire. Streetlamps and trolley wires were all lying on the ground and streams of water were flowing there, ambulances passed by. Then there was shooting once again so we ran to hide. And from a side street, from Rieger Park, a platoon of Russian sub-machine gunners marched in there, into the crowd that was there and into the war turmoil and we surrounded them. There perhaps could be thousands of us. And those soldiers were young boys, they were scared. They lifted their sub-machine guns and started to fire to the sky. And they close-packed in a cluster, close to each other, there were perhaps thirty of them. They shot about seventeen people back then and there must have been many wounded people. Blood, water flowed there, smoke, flames.”

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    Putim, 09.12.2018

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    duration: 01:48:42
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Fear settled amongst people, they did not know what is going to happen

Vladimír Kovář
Vladimír Kovář
photo: witness archive

Vladimír Kovář was born on 18 July 1942 in Písek. His father was a smith and his mother a housewife. In 1944, his family had to move to Žatec in the then Sudetenland by order of the Protectorate offices. His father had to replace a missing German smith. Vladimír has child memories on the co-existence with the Germans with who they lived in the same house, on the expulsion of Germans and on German women and children leaving bombed Germany. In 1947 his father died and his mother returned to South Bohemia with three little children. After that they lived in Putim near Písek. There she met the then mayor of Putim who was one generation older than her, who later became her next life partner and a father to her children. They spent the 1950s in Putim which brought substantial changes related to the collectivization of agriculture to the village. After his compulsory military service in technical auxiliary battalions and short job in the mines, Vladimír left to work in Prague in the end of 1960s. He was intensively interested in the political events and on 21 August 1968 he witnessed the arrival of Soviet soldiers, the skirmishes and later bloody fights between demonstrators and soldiers near the building of Czechoslovak Radio. One year later he even took part in demonstrations against the occupation. In 1970, he came back to Putim and got married. Fist, he worked in a precast concrete plant, later as a machine operator at an indoor pool. After 1989 he started a business. He is active in sports and lives with his wife in Putim, they have two daughters.