Daniel Kroupa

* 1949

  • We looked on our founder with enormous respect, as the best of us all. As a Pioneer I gave up early trying to preside over the group and used it to become a trumpeter. That was an excellent function. I got a beautiful trumpet to learn on. I learned some simple melodies which got me the chance of being picked to be among the trumpeters at the congress of the communist party which was to take place at the congress center in Julda Fulda. In the end, my trumpet was taken away and I was to go give presents to the delegates of the Party. I prepared these presents for a long time, they brought them to the place, but then someone there tossed them somewhere and then got hold of some new presents that we gave them, there was a book, without a doubt of the ordinary ideological stripe, we couldn’t even stand to look at what we were bringing the delegate. From that delegate I got a book about the USSR, The Boat Set Sail to Batumi. The man wrote a dedication in the book and in the short space of that dedication there were three grammar mistakes. So I remember asking myself that if he was the best of us all then why couldn’t he even use basic grammar correctly! Since I was able to move pretty freely around there, I was looking at the mass of people and right in the middle was the president who was hanging on the wall in our classroom. I got closer because I wanted to hear what he was saying. Suddenly it hit me that this man was speaking exactly like the vulgar guys in the bar. It was with dread that I realized that it was some half-wit, that it wasn’t the best of us. This was another moment which made it easier for me to see the light.”

  • “You can’t say that Václav Havel was an advocate of ‘unpolitical politics,’ he was politically awkward and he didn’t understand politics much, just like the rest of us. When we formed the Civic Democratic Alliance, a few months into, we had a sitting with Václav Havel and he asked us a ton of questions about how we could have started a party, that it was odd, that it would be us, even though during the dissent we hadn’t profiled ourselves as members of any party. Meanwhile, Ruda Battěk, who during the dissent had been a social democrat, no social democracy here, don’t start the party. Václav Havel was interested in this and one could say that he even supported it. And the second thing to break this image of the unpolitical politician Václav Havel was the definite pressure on the Coordinating Committee of the CF, which in March or April 1990 started to develop, that it dissolve and make room for political parties. Then we had already prepared the election and it would have been a catastrophe if the People’s Party, Socialists, or Communists had won it. In this we definitely did not accommodate him. This definitely does not correspond with the idea of Václav Havel as an advocate of unpolitical politics. Eventually, this fact about him would start being spread by Emanuel Mandler and Bohumil Doležal following the failure of their Liberal Democratic Party when they started to blame Václav Havel for it, though he didn’t take them too seriously. And that was about personal relationships more than Havel’s unpolitical politics.”

  • “[Q: From what you’ve said it seems that you were an exemplary dissident, a person who knew about State Security, who clashed with them and decided not to give them information. Did you ever come to realise that you told them something you didn’t want to, what you came to regret?] For a long time I tried to play cat and mouse during interrogations: one time you’d deny something, another time you’d refuse to reply, but at the same time you’d provide the questioner with lots of information, which they could also use against other people. For a long time I did speak during interrogations, but then I realised it was doing me no good and that the more spoke with the stetsecs, the longer the interrogations were. And when you’re interrogated for ten, eleven hours, you go home completely mentally exhausted from the tension of not divulging something. But you tell them an awful lot in such a long time. I thought that the things I talked about with the stetsecs were harmless, but even so, it was information that could be misused.”

  • “When various political organisations started coming to life in 1989, State Security agents ramped up their activities in an interesting way. I hosted two meetings in my flat, at which we discussed founding a political party. Pavel Bratinka and I disputed its proposed nature with Václav Benda and his friends. State Security had its people at these meetings, and one of the agents almost had a fit of hysterics there, he cried out that we were just debating all the time, but that we hadn’t actually formed any party yet. That very moment I thought: ‘He must be a stetsec! He doesn’t have anything to report to his superiors, and that’s making him nervous.’”

  • “As a conservative party ODA placed a big emphasis on property rights, proprietary, and respect for them so demands for restitution came naturally. But people then acted like we were coming from another planet. But in that Špalíček, when those emigrants from abroad started coming and expressing interest in getting their property back which the regime had unjustifiably taken from them... the possibilities started to come together, that there should be some sort of restitution or another.” – “Could you describe this in more detail?” – “In the International Commission of the Coordinating Center Dáša Havlová [Ivana Havel’s wife] worked there, she often talked with those emigrants, she said that something should be done with these cases of confiscated properties. Pavel Bratinka, Tomáš Ježek, the economist Zemplinerová, Roman Češka, and I worked on putting together the first proposal for restitution. We proceeded very carefully then, we were going off of the fact that the government had the idea of a reform of privatized businesses being transferred to joint-stock companies, so, we said, a part of those shares should compensate for the damages of people whose property the regime had seized. When it was ready, I called Pavel Rychetský, we arranged a meeting in Parliament, we were explaining it to him and he stops and says: ‘You mean you want to give the factory owners their factories back?‘ I said something like that if it were unacceptable, then there should be some sort of shares of restitution at least, because their property had been taken from them illegally. It meant apartments, houses, and the confiscated property left behind my emigrants as well. It was an injustice that CF had to take a stand against. Rychetský acknowledged this and got to work on the first proposal for a law on the extralegal rehabilitations, which was passed through the government, which contained some sort of provision on restitution.”

  • “Dad intentionally introduced me to the wine bars and restaurants of Prague’s center. He had known them since the First Republic and many of the waiters still remembered him from those times, thus they spoke to him by name. I had everything all mixed up because who knows what those restaurants were called during communism, because for him it was U Zoufalého, it was not the Blaník Palace but Fénix, he would go to Paukert’s, he used all those old names. We went through all of those wine bars and restaurants, Dad took me to them on purpose. Once he showed me four men who were arguing, he said they were homosexuals solving a family crisis. Those three ladies, the ones over there looking at us, they’re prostitutes, careful with them. And those two sitting at the table, those are StB agents, watch out for them too. He strictly upheld the rules. Sometimes after school we went to have something to eat to the Koruna Bar, and a small beer to go with it. Dad shook his head, saying: ‘I’ve never taken my meal standing in my life. I want to sit down and be served. And when I don’t have enough money for it, then I go to a restaurant and have soup and bread.’ He schooled me in this. Dad bought me material for clothes, he took me to a tailor named Pošusta, who made me an elegant coat cut to size – that late 1930s cut. Then he took me to the barber who gave me a haircut of the sort that was in style in the late 1930s. And then were off to the hat maker. Owing to the fact that at that time only older people wore hats, nobody from the younger generation would be caught dead wearing one. I came dressed this way to my first year of high school, I opened the door, the class went silent, they sized me up for a moment, followed by a huge burst of laughter. I guess I looked like a gangster from Chicago. I toughened up after that and proudly wore my hat. I separated myself from my generation who were then going crazy over the Beatles, all that craziness was incredibly nasty to me. I refused to listen to both the Beatles and all rock music and I used to go, opulently, to see jazz.”

  • “Klaus was invited there (to the Civic Forum) by Ivan Havel, I brought Tomáš Ježek in. They saw each other in an unfriendly light regardless of that fact that in the Center of Prognostics they worked at the same table and had been friends during their school years. But even then it was obvious that there was a big rivalry between them. And Mr. Klaus, who came there and whose name Václav Havel could never seem to remember and kept mixing up, wanted to be on a first name basis with all those dissidents circulating in and out of there all of the time. When Kocáb and Horáček managed to arrange a meeting with the Adamcová government, Václav Havel had us write up a set of demands to be handed over to the government. He chose me, Tomáš Ježek, Marvanová, Emil Ščuka. We went outside to the hallway to get started with the writing. Petr Pithart comes running up saying that in the ballerina’s dressing room in the basement Professor Jičínský was writing too. We told him that nobody would ever trust him. We had to be the ones to do it. We put there the release of political prisoners and other demands. I suggested that the CF demand access to the radio and television. Petr Pithart ran up and said: ‘Professor Jičínský doesn’t have that, apparently there’s no legal basis for it.’ I said: ‘Petr, without access to the radio and television, we don’t stand a chance.’ That night Tomáš Ježek took the paper we had created saying he would rewrite it and send it to somebody the next day because his wife was sick and he had to take her to the hospital. In the morning I looked for the rewritten paper but it was nowhere to be found. Ježek said he’d given it to Václav Klaus. It was the first time I had heard that name when I realized that it was that same Mr. Klaus who was always making rounds with the dissidents. I went up to him saying that I had to send that document to Václav Havel and he said he hadn’t received it. So I started yelling at Mr. Klaus. And he starts saying that it was Dienstbier who’d gotten it. But he hadn’t given it to him either. So I got rough with him: ‘Open up your briefcase!’” –“Why didn’t he want to hand it over?” – “And of course that document was in it.” – “But why didn’t he want to give it up?” “He didn’t want to because he was convinced that it was Tomáš Ježek who had produced it and it would make Ježek’s credit rise over his own. For the rest of us it was about the revolution’s success, but for Mr. Klaus it was about his own. That was the moment when my position toward that man was fixed.”

  • “His extraordinariness came from the enormous erudition he possessed, which was incomparable to that of his peers. But the thing that was the most fascinating was his intellectual honesty. I was at a lecture of his on Heraclitus which he very thoroughly executed, and the next week he was supposed to spend on a different philosopher, but he went back to him and said, you know, I was thinking about it further and realized that I lectured on Heraclitus superficially, so don’t be upset with me, I’ll do it again and this time I’ll do it right. His lecturing took you to intellectual depths. There wasn’t any room during his seminars for someone to try to bandy about what they knew because they could easily make a fool of themselves. Patočka anxiously made everyone confront the thing they spoke of in their entirely. That unbelievable cogence that Patočka upheld at both his lectures and seminars, it was... he didn’t allow anyone to run away from ideas in order to show off. There it had to be pure philosophy. And when someone starting showing off or flaunting, Patočka didn’t hesitate to throw them out. Many were afraid of him because he was unbelievably strict. He couldn’t allow ignorance. When someone wanted to debate with him about an author, Patočka made them read their entire oeuvre first. The entire oeuvre! Not just individual parts. And in the original, if possible, not in translation. What’s important gets lost in them. He implored us to study Greek so we’d be able to read Plato and Aristotle in Greek. When we would debate over Thomas Aquinas, Patočka would close his eyes and recite the important passages from memory in Latin. And when we discussed Kant, of course he worked with the assumption that you had read his Critique of Pure Reason in German. Nobody could satisfy such a high standard.”

  • “The first meeting was in Riegrový Sady, a big crowd of people showed up. Ruda Battěk came out onto the podium, gazed into the crowd, and I knew that his head was spinning at that moment... that he saw the comicality of the situation. His first words were: ‘Dear people, vote for me!’ It was the most concise campaign speech that anyone had ever had. Jirka Rumel, Rudolf Battěk, and I used to make the rounds of the Czech bars and squares. We made an appearance at a meeting with František Nepil, in Jinonice with Jan Kačer. I was looking forward to this political speech and he recited a poem. That took up time meant for preparing, I was a member of the campaign team of the Civic Forum. The first thing we couldn’t agree on was the slogans. Ivan Gabal, the chairman then, wanted one slogan: ‘We know, we want, we can.’ In hindsight I see that it wasn’t a completely stupid slogan. Ivan Rynda offered: ‘Political Parties are for their members, the Civic Forum is for everybody.’ I didn’t like this slogan, but it was also put into effect. I offered: ‘Come to Europe with us.’ It ended up being: ‘To Europe with us.’ Those were the three basic slogans of the Civic Forum’s election campaign.”

  • “It had already started to change visually. In 1968 at the college there was a snack bar under the stairs which was full of life, students and teachers sat there and engaged in passionate discussions, the spot pulsed with life. There was a diverse range of lectures, people traveled there from abroad, from France, from Germany... But Normalization instantly dropped a cage down on it. A number of interesting lecturers – I, for one, was going to a seminar with Professor Michňák on history and historicity – he was one who at the beginning of 1968, when people like Miloš Zeman were joining the Party, apologized to students for teaching them Marxism, he tore up his party membership in front of students and defected. Obviously, he was soon brutally swept away. There were many of people like him who had to leave. New one arrived, loyal Marxist-Leninists or ones pretending to be. What’s more is that these people were short of the corresponding academic authority. The teachers who lectured on Plato not only couldn’t speak Greek, but they didn’t even know the work in Czech, they only knew it from their textbooks. It was a steep fall.”

  • “At first [after my first reading] it didn’t strike me as that important. Only after signing it did I start to recognize the significance of the Charter. I took it as one of many other petitions. I didn’t come upon the brilliance of its ideas immediately. Its brilliance consisted of the fact that the regime, seeing that Ordinance 120 accepted human rights as a part of the Czechoslovak legal code, was able to be convicted of untruthfulness and it couldn’t proceed against the Charter with the brutality typical for totalitarian regimes because in doing so it would be breaking its international commitments. And these were commitments which mattered most of all to the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia’s protector. Our communists didn’t have the nerve to call for some big crackdowns foremost because they feared the USSR. When dissidents met with the various diplomats later on, they had to get permission for the crackdown to happen from those in Moscow. The Charter was formed in a grey area, where they couldn’t outright eliminate the Charter, they could only put pressure on individual parts of it. And here resides the brilliance of its idea.”

  • “If I had written my own proclamation at the time, it would have been entirely different. But people who criticize the Charter don’t get it, they forget its point: to open up the space for open dialogue. That was something far bigger than if they had written some vitriolic text against the regime. Whoever criticized it was able to write their own declaration, but it would have been insignificant. Writing a political text, calling for political opposition meant to the regime the immediate rooting out of such opposition forces and, hence, the opportunity to dispose of those involved. But the Charter created a space in which these initiatives would later be able to take shape. Without the Charter, there wouldn’t have been any other formations, for example the Democratic Initiative.”

  • “Financially we’d hit rock bottom, even if one had a more than decent salary, in such a big family, everything was spent on the kids. There was a long period of time when we’re doing really badly, not so bad that the kids suffered, but we really weren’t able to allow ourselves to buy anything extra. Something I remember which I can’t let go of from that time was one Christmas when we didn’t even have enough for the Christmas tree, let alone for buying presents. We told ourselves that we’d be good to the kids, that we’d really make them happy, we had only most basic food, a few bills came in the mail that sucked up all our money. The day before Christmas Eve I found a fat envelope full of Tuzex coupons in our mailbox. It was from František Janouch with a clipping of the nomination of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I don’t know if was for the Nobel Prize, something he got for dissent, but anyway I took as it my own Nobel Prize. Finally we were able to get the kids the presents they’d been wanting, and it was the richest Christmas we ever had. Mikuláš, who really wanted a pedal-car, got one, because you could get them only at the Tuzex store. He was trotting around in it at night even after Christmas Eve, I could hear his cute tottering around, I could hear what was going on, Mikuláš was walking in a circle around that pedal-car going: ‘Thank you, thank you, Santa Clawz, I wanned a car jus’a like dis wun.’ It was really touching. I think it was 1978.”

  • “The Charter for me was some of kind new and growing society of people who were closely united. The powerful experience of human relationships suddenly acquiring new quality. Secondly, it freed me inside from the fears which one constantly lived in until they finally lost them. There was always someone around me being investigated by the StB, for the most various reasons, and when you cross the Rubicon and realize that if and when you are arrested it won’t make a difference what you do, hence you’re able to proceed freely. And that’s what we did.”

  • “I took part in the preliminary meetings because the initiator of the Movement for Civic Freedom was Rudolf Battěk. The architect Pavel Nauman was in very close contact with him. Battěk was always being followed by the StB. He was glad to find a place where he could disappear; the frequent meetings were in Pavel Nauman’s apartment. He worked as a night guard at the Czechoslovak-Soviet Business Chamber. It was there where we composed and edited the Democracy for All text. Some of the meetings were at my place. I was able to observe the developments from the very beginning. It took quite a few months, I stopped being able tell what it was these people were working on. Finally we managed to put together a text which would be able to be used. The goal was that it would be the first sort of non-socialist movement that would make no concessions to the regime. Rudolf Battěk and Pavel Nauman left to Hrádeček to see Václav Havel and try to get him to be part of it. Václav Havel didn’t want to; he told them to do it themselves, that he didn’t always have to be involved in everything. I totally understand him, because the dissent was nothing without him, everyone who wanted to get something going went to Havel so he would give them his blessing and actively lead it. And Václav was already sick of it. But when they brought him the text, which had been worked on for all those long months, he read it and said: ‘You know you can’t publish this, it’s unreadable, laborious.’ He took the text, went to his study, and rewrote it. After that he felt a sort of connection to the initiative and got involved. And once it was known that Havel had joined, many others followed.”

  • “[Q: Is it possible to say what harm the shredding of active State Security files caused?] The shredding meant that many of State Security’s agents and collaborators were allowed to play an important role during the period when their connection to the secret police was not known. In the post-revolutionary period, members of State Security protected their own people, many of them succeeded in establishing themselves well in the new regime; some of them had to wait many years, until the public loses interest in the given topic, and they are only now entering high politics and public life.”

  • “Some confusion has stemmed from the fact that people don’t seem to be aware of the essence of the totalitarian state. Its essence is unlimited political power. The unlimited division of power, everything run by a single party, unlimited toward individuals as it doesn’t respect human rights. This objective characteristic results in the regime being able to reach into any part of a person’s life, whenever it feels the urge. That, in the end, the regime was not able to take their program to its conclusion was due to the fact that after 1968 society started to defend itself to a certain degree. The regime feared society. In contrast to the 1950s and 1960s when participation in the parades for the First-of-May and the October Revolution was mandatory, after 1968 only people who were “allowed” to join these enterprises were selected to take part, the rest, hoorah, went to their weekend houses. Here something emerges which was later known as ‘Husák’s contract,’: play the handyman at your cottages, don’t stick your noses into anything, and we’ll give you relative peace and quiet. When they locked themselves in their households, they could live in the illusion that nothing serious was going on. But people in those households were living in fear. Jokes were told at home, in private, in whispers. They were afriad at home too, that maybe they were being monitored or listened in on. Fear was omnipotent and it defined these people. People say today that it’s necessary to investiage everyday life, that in the everyday you’ll find proof that people lived in fear. Everybody. Not only the lowest, but the highest, too. Even Štrougal, when he wanted to say something in confidence it was in whispers, because the bug could have been anywhere. Everyone was afflicted by it. The regime wanted to control every aspect of human life, whenever it felt the need it could strike anywhere, there was no legal recourse against the regime’s intrusions.”

  • “The dark hints of surveillance culminated in a direct confrontation, during which I was not particularly brave. I felt that I had to speak with the stetsecs in such a way so as not to offend or provoke them, so I spoke with them about innocent issues, and whenever they asked me directly about the Charter’s activities etcetera, I said I refused to reply. I thought that was a reasonable strategy, but was a mistake - it brought about longer and longer interrogations, and I gradually realised I was telling them things that must have some value for them, if it’s worth their time to interrogate me. One time, during one such interrogation, I told a lie, and the stetsec suddenly rose up to moral heights and began showing contempt for me. He caught me lying and said: ‘Well, that is dignified, you, a philosopher, who is supposed to base his life on the truth, are telling lies like a little boy. If you were a man, you’d tell me to mind my business. I respect the ordinary worker who says - I did this, and I stand by it - or tells me to go to hell.’ I replied: ‘Captain, you’re right, and from now on I won’t tell you a word.’ He looked at me and said: ‘Hmm, I overdid it a bit, come, we’ll write it out.’ And from that time, whenever they arrested me, I refused to reply to anything, I told that to them straight at the start - and the result was that they wrote out a report that ‘the questionee refuses to testify’, and an hour or half an hour later I was on my way home.”

  • “Leading state and party functionaries started arriving, and being a novice, I asked: ‘Excuse me, there are such celebrities here, but I can’t see any police here to protect them.’ One of the factory informers told me: ‘Please, half of us are stetsecs [State Security members - trans.].’ That was somewhat enlightening. I forgot about it, and at the hotel in the evening, when one of the informers sat down beside me, I told a few jokes - including one about policemen, which was fashionable at the time - the man suddenly stiffened and said: ‘I’m one of them too.’ At that moment I realised I was in danger of being arrested for an anti-state joke, and seeing a waiter walk by with several shots, I took two of them off his tray, placed one in front of my companion and told him not to worry about it and to drink it down. The atmosphere relaxed, he drank his shot, and I continued to order more and more of them. When he refused my naïve question, whether he was in the Assistant Guard of Public Security, he was almost offended and said he was with State Security. In short, inebriated as he was, he started telling the most incredible things, which slowly gave me the shivers - not that I couldn’t imagine them, but that he was telling me about them. At seven in the morning someone bashes at the door, I go to open it, and the stetsec’s standing there, trembling from head to toe, and he says: ‘I’ve committed a criminal offence.’ - ‘How?’ - ‘By telling you all I did.’ - I say: ‘But I won’t tell anyone about it.’ To which he retorts: ‘That’s no matter, everything’s bugged here anyway.’ I told him that perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad, and he staggered off pale with fear. I got dressed and went to the exhibition, and I heard an awful yelling from one of the booths: I peeped inside and saw ‘my’ stetsec standing there with his boss. So he didn’t just compromise himself, he compromised his boss as well. Later on, when I expressed my surprise about stetsecs being there and sounded the others on the matter, to see who was with them and who wasn’t, a woman informer came up to me and said: ‘Mr Kroupa, I’ll tell you how it is - we always hold a party with them at the beginning and at the end, and then those of us who don’t belong to them keep to ourselves.’ I asked: ‘But how do you know who are stetsecs and who aren’t?’ - ‘Well, we get them plastered, and then they blurt it all out to us.’”

  • "When I was talking about the fear or distress if you’d like, that many of the dissidents were full of, I remember one moment when this fear disappeared. It was on the day when Václav Havel and a member of the Communist party, Mr. Urbánek gathered in the Municipal House in Prague for a meeting. We all waited impatiently for the result of this meeting. He was the new secretary and we wondered whether he will act as an authority and he will try to force the OF (Civic forum) into some inconvenient position. We thought, what we will have to do, if there will be another mass demonstrations or general strikes, or if the country won’t end up in total chaos. We had lots of reason to be afraid. When I left the Špalíček building and headed toward the Můstek Street, people were all over there. I saw there was a little circle in the middle of the crowd. It was Václav Havel surrounded by people who were kind of protecting him. This whole group was slowly walking through the crowd. Václav saw me and waved to me. I managed to get through the crowd to him and I was full of anxiety what he’ll tell me. I asked him about the meeting. He just laughed and said: ´They’re fucked out! ´ And I asked him: ´How come, what have you talked about? ´ And he said: ´ This Urbánek fellow was telling me, that he once worked as a dispatcher somewhere in Moravian train station.´ And I asked him: ´That’s it ?´ And he replied: ´Yes, that was it, he wanted me to sign his books.´ And at that moment all my fears were gone for good. It was obvious that there ain´t no will within the communist party, there is no one responsible, who could want to even try to stop the rolling revolution."

  • "My friends came to my place the early evening - Jiří Skalický, Pavel Bratinka. It was kind of funny because Bratinka managed to get to the Wenceslas Square and because the Wenceslas Square was completely empty he hopped on the underground train and came to my place saying, that nothing is going on out there. Jiří Skalický came later and he was in shock. He went through the scrum on Národní třída Street. He didn’t get beaten up by police though, but he came in very depressive condition. At that moment I got the feeling that the history moved at last and that the expected change of regime is about to come. The reason why I came to believe that the crackdown against the demonstration at Národní třída Street cause this kind of class processes, lay in the fact that the regime affected one of the key founding myths of the regime itself. The fact that they were not able to face such intervention relieved the regime of any kind of legitimacy. It showed that there are weak points inside of the regime and that the regime is not able to respond to similar situations. It was quite obvious, that the shaken at first moment, and frightened public must respond to this event."

  • "To me, November 17th means the opportunity to pursue ones vision of the future political, economic, social and cultural structure of our country. So I plunged into the maelstrom of political events and I could start to apply my thoughts already in the very beginning in the programs of the Civic Forum. I am one of the authors of the election program of the Civic forum. Mr. Miloš Zeman wrote the prologue to it, but the program itself was the work of committees, of which I was the chairman. I have been elected to the Federal Assembly, where this program was coming real by accepting new laws. I was able to influence many of these laws according to my ideas. And I could also apply my opinions there. In chaotic situation like the revolutions, people with clear minds and people who know what they want come across the best. My political rise up wasn’t result of hard elbow games, but it happened simply because I was able to demonstrate the precise attitude during several meetings and discussions."

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Thanks to the Charter 77, I was liberated internally

Daniel Kroupa
Daniel Kroupa
photo: soukr. archiv p. D. Kroupy

Mr. Daniel Kroupa was born on January 6th 1949 in Prague. His father’s moving company had been nationalized by communism right after February of 1948. The only reason he didn’t ended up going to jail for his wealth, was that one of his friends paid the ridiculously obscene “millionaire tax” for him. Mr. Kroupa recognized his bourgeois origin during his grammar school years. During the school’s Pioneer organization ceremony, where two hundred kids gathered, he was the only one who wasn’t given the red scarf - one of the Pioneer symbols. He discovered gradually that there is another world out there, besides for the one he’d been taught at school. For instance, when he once asked his father what Free Europe was (he heard that at home all the time), he didn’t get any answer. Instead he was forced to repeat three times:´Free Europe is a radio station, which my family will never listen to.´ The Free Europe radio station was on also in the Radio club of Svazarm organization, where he began to spent his free time when he was fourteen. The radio amateur operators knew how to get around the state’s signal blocking; therefore Svazarm was the first place where Daniel heard the open criticism of the government for the first time. His technical interests from the radio club led him to the local Technical College, where he was admitted despite his family origin. In the same time, he started to attend the lectures at the Prague city library, where he met the translator and poet Mr. Jan Vladislav. This was also where he heard Mr. Jan Patočka speaking for the first time. After the August of 1968 revolution he was forced to work in manual labor. He dug up coal cuttings, to bring coal to elderly people, and sometimes he starred as an extra in the club’s films. He continued visiting the lectures of Mr. Patočka and Mr. Černý, and thanks to his relationship with the Catholic community he also met young people from the Vigilie catholic organization. He continued to attend a few other similar organizations where he met people like  Radim Palouš, Tomáš Halík, Zdeněk Neubauer, Pavel Bratinka or Ivan Havel. Daniel never finished his college studies though. He found himself a job with a cleaning company and he applied for external Faculty of Philosophy studies. He was dismissed from the school after he didn’t pass the exams regarding Marxism-Leninism. Following his signing of the ‘77 Charter in January of 1977, he was questioned by StB permanently since. He continued to be arrested during several anniversaries until the 80´s. But most of those times he usually left the town with his family. After the death of Jan Patočka in 1977 Daniel Kroupa decided to follow his foot steps and to continue in spreading the free mind which wasn’t dependent on the communist regime among the young people. He established his own philosophy seminar, which welcomed about fifty people through the November of 1989.In 1989 he was one the leaders of the newly established ODA political party. As the representative of the Federal Assembly of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic he participated on preparations of the Constitution of the Czech Republic. Mr. Kroupa was elected as a member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and since 1998 he worked also in the Senate of the Czech Republic, until 2004.