Libor Kudláček

* 1957  

  • "We were meeting with friends who were more from the theater environment, such as theater artists, such as Vít and Jaromír Vosecký and others. So, our first meetings took place somewhere in the apartments and in the theater studio, and there we said to each other what everyone probably heard from Prague, and also we started planning what could be done here. In fact, for the first time in my life, I also came into personal contact with Jarmila Stibicová as one of the few well-known Pardubice chartists. And such a group of people began to form so naturally. They later, when the information about the establishment of the Civic Forum came from Prague, so sometime in the first days, when people gathered like this in front of the theater for the first performances, the Pardubice Civic Forum was actually created from below. I couldn't imagine something like that at all, that it could happen in this way. And it could really... whoever took the battalion first, he was the revolutionary in Pardubice and coincidentally it was this group of us."

  • "I joined the military service in 1981 and ended in 1982. At that time, Solidarity (the Independent Self-governing Free Trade Union) organized a big strike in the shipyards and there were big mass protests in Poland and it was such a wild time. Of course, I was a big fan of it. However, it happened that it seemed that we would repay our fraternal help to the Poles, which means that our tanks will move and go to Poland. I even know that at the moment when this culminated, it was really about to happen, I often ran home. It was not far from Jihlava to Pardubice, so I always got on the bus in the evening, for example, and the next morning or during the day on the weekend I returned. My friends were helping me in all sorts of ways and it was probably a bit risky, but I never really had a serious problem with it. But one night, when it just seemed that the gathering of the military forces and the departure to the north would take place, I was just at home in Pardubice and I know that my friends were looking for me from some of that corridors on the phone, if I could somehow get back. And then I think that one of a few people who had a car back then took me to Jihlava. And that we were even assembling in the morning. Somehow it worked out for me, somehow they didn't find out I was missing, but in the end they stopped the engines again and didn't go anywhere. And then I was seriously thinking about it, but seriously - then as a semi-adult I was seriously thinking that if it really happened and I should suppress some counter-revolution, that I would really turn the weapon against myself. I couldn't imagine doing something that was already against my deepest attitude to life and society at the time."

  • "The two demonstrations merge into one a bit, because they were both a great experience for me, but I know that there were already several thousand people at the St. Wenceslav´s square during that August and then the follow up, I think it was already October, the anniversary of the national holiday in 1988, when some of the demonstrators, including us, were scattered by the water spray. So, we were standing on the edge, so we ran to Kabeš and Křižan to the bar, and there we described it all, that was the enthusiasm. And it was a wonderful atmosphere, for me the idea that we would be able to make it public, even if we spent an hour somewhere, running. What kind of a relationship has one got with the establishment, came to me as the pinnacle of life. And thanks to people like Křižan and Petr Kabeš, I actually got to the point where I could listen to those who were already fully living in the resistance to the then regime, and I knew that there would probably be no way back."

  • "In fact, the activities of the Civic Forum Coordination Center in Pardubice started in November, and it very quickly signed up for some dialogue with the then power. I remember various events, such as when I was sent to the City National Committee in Pardubice as a newly appointed member of Federal Assembly. So, I read one sentence there with shaking hands, and I had no experience of public speaking at the time, except for my job, but we weren't used to the fact that sometimes in politics we would be in a place where everyone else would watch us. To this day, I remember the sentence that we had asked the National Committee at the time. We asked to have all the materials that were being discussed at the municipal level at the time, and that was actually the breakthrough of the Civic Forum into politics."

  • "On November 28, 1989, we were appointed in that parliament, there were 25 of us. The rest, 275 people, were still the same. It was such a mixture - the Communists, then the two allowed parties, the People's Party, which still exists, the Socialist Party which disappeared, and then there was a group of the so-called non-partisans, which were well-tested people who were there to make sure that not only party members could take part in the decision-making. The next day there was the election of the president, which took place at the Castle in Vladislav´s Hall, one of the most beautiful places in our country, and that's when I actually saw him from near for the first time, at least if I remember. The most interesting thing about that moment was that he got 100% of the votes. As the communists were used to that when they were told something they had to do, so they really did it. I expected at least one of them to save face, so they would abstain. No, he just really got 100% of the votes. They were afraid not to raise their hand. He was sitting in front of me, I remember it till this day, I think it was either the editor-in-chief or a worker of Rudé Právo, which was then the main communist newspaper, and he simply voted to elect Václav Havel the president. It was absolutely unthinkable a month before."

  • "I was often going to Prague to see my friends, some of whom were Chartists. It was originally the Pardubice poet Petr Kabeš, who introduced us to the then forbidden film screenwriter Jirka Křižan and the forbidden film director Pavel Juráček, who soon died. So, they were people from a more independent culture. As I said, we went to demonstrate, then I signed various petitions, including the famous petition A Few Sentences. And as for a specific engagement, I just joined an organization called the Circle of Independent Intelligence, because as a graduate demographer and geographer, I moved a lot in the circles of such social sciences. And some of my Prague friends founded, later friends, founded this organization. The purpose of it was to call on the then power to accept on the managerial and leading positions even people who do not have any party cards, but are experts from various fields and have something to say about the proceedings of the state. Very quickly, after November, all this merged into that one stream of the Civic Forum."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    ZŠ Polabiny III Pardubice, 23.05.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 55:18
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Hradec Králové ED, 10.10.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 02:15:15
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I am very happy that I had the opportunity to experience these events also in an active role

Before the graduation from the secondary grammar school, Pardubice, 1976
Before the graduation from the secondary grammar school, Pardubice, 1976
photo: archive of Libor Kudláček

Libor Kudláček was born on July 18, 1957 in Pardubice as the second son in the family of the clerk Slavomír Kudláček and his wife Marie. As an eleven-year-old, he took part in protests with his friends after the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968. He graduated from a secondary grammar school and then studied geography at Charles University. In college and after, he played in several music bands and was in contact with people outside the official cultural sphere. After completing his compulsory military service with the tank battalion, he joined Stavoprojekt in Hradec Králové. At the end of the 1980s, he took part in anti-regime demonstrations, maintained contacts with the dissent and in November 1989 he took part in the establishment of the Civic Forum in Pardubice. At the end of 1989, as part of the co-optations, he joined the House of People of the Federal Assembly and took the parliamentary pledge. He also defended his mandate in the first free elections in 1990. He was a member of the Budget and Economic Committee, he experienced the birth of restitution and a market economy. In 1991, he joined the Civic Democratic Alliance, where he remained until his departure from politics in 1998. He founded the company Euroffice Prague - Brussels, which he still runs today.