Doc. PhDr., CSc. Zdeněk Kukal
* 1932 †︎ 2021
“On 15 March 1939 wet snow was falling. It was a school day, I attended the second grade. When we got out of school, our parents were awaiting us. All the mums were crying, as were the dads. Then we saw the Germans march through Wenceslas Square. At that moment we realized we were being occupied. As children we did not see it as a tragedy but it was still a most inconvenient change.”
“After the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich a lot had changed. We were stuck at home, never leaving anywhere. Patrols were walking by, sometimes we heard some distant shooting, then they began with the night searches. From apartment to apartment, from house to house, one after another. Wehrmacht, police, Gestapo. It ended up well at our house – they found nobody.”
“By the end of the war, Jindřišská street where I had lived came to the center of attention. Prague Uprising had started there. The central post office was taken by the Czech resistance fighters while the SS-men controlled Jindřišská tower where they placed machine guns. We were in between, grounded in a shelter. These were four days of immense tension. From my window I could see the beginning of the shootout: some German officer began to shoot when they attempted to disarm him. This happened two hours before the shootout near the Czech Radio building.”
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To devote a life to rocks and to the ocean
Zdeněk Kukal was born on 29 November 1932 in Prague. In 1955 he graduated from geology at Charles University in Prague and found a job in the Central Institute for Geology (at present called Czech Geology Service). He has published a number of academic and educative texts. Initially he had focused on the study of sediments and igneous rocks, later shifting his interest towards oceanology and oceanography. He was a visiting researcher at universities in Baghdad and Kuwait, undertaking a year-long internship in the Iraqi institute for geology. Since the early 90s he was a member of the Government Council for Research and Development. In 1990 he was named associate professor and obtained his PhD. In 1992-1997 he was director of the Czech Geology Service. Zdeněk Kukal died on December, 12 2021.