Jaroslav Kukol

* 1947

  • “''Mr Neděla, do you know I have a heart condition?' - 'Yes, we know that.” - 'I am not feeling well right now and I don´t have my medication on me as you arrested me at work.' - 'Just stop joking!' So he brought some other secret police man and disappeared somewhere, probably to ask his superiors. Then he would come back and say: 'Get up, we are going to see doctor and hope that your electrocardiogram will show something.' So they took me to some other building to see a police physician. And he would ask me about my condition. I told him that I have been feeling unwell as Neděla has been yelling at me, asking me about things I had no clue about. And Neděla had been so rude that he would sit on doctor´s desk and tell him that I refused to talk. The doctor would do the ECG and he would give some pill. Then he told me to wait outside. After they took me to the interrogation room, his behaviour had changed. And I kept telling him that my wife had been at work and there was no one to pick up our daughter. So he would disappear again. Later, my wife told me that some policeman came to the shop where she had been working and told her to pick up her daughter as I was being interrogated in Ostrava and he couldn´t guarantee that I would come back. And it had been late at night when Neděla told me: 'Today, you were lucky again. Go home.' Probably because of the heart condition.”

  • “I went to Praha. And finding anything about them wasn´t so easy. I would hear some names and addresses on the Radio Free Europe. So I wrote down the address where Marta Kubišová lived, who was Charter 77´s spokeswoman back then. I found where she lived and I saw that the house was under surveillance, but I went inside, I found the flat and I would knock and ring at the door. But no one would open. Then some old woman would show up, telling me that there were less secret police men than usual so Mrs Kubišová might have left for her summer house. So I left without achieving anything. It might have been in 1978. It was in 1980 when I got the address where Honza Litomský had been living, who had been prosecuted by the Secret Police and later was the Charter 77´s spokesman. So I went to see him. He had been living in the village of Vyskytná near Jihlava. His father would open the door and he would tell me that Honza was at work at the coop and he would come late. So I went to Pelhřimov and came back later. And I remember that I would wait in a nearby woods so it would get dark. Then I would ring at his door again and this time he would be at home. So I would tell him my story and state that I wanted to sign the Charter. So I became the Charter 77 signatory”

  • "As boys we would have these wooden gallows in the square in Opava and we would hang Mr Biľak. Him being a rag doll with a sign 'We would hang Biľak by the cock' on it. Also me and my brother-in-law would take down traffic signs. And people would support us of course. First came the Poles, the Russians would show up later. And they would set a camp by the graveyard, they might have had maybe twenty tanks. And as it was hot they would sleep in them. And we would go there trying to explain them what was going on here. Still they didn´t believe us. They were convinced that there was a revolution going on. And they would tell us: 'We wouldn´t shoot at you if you wouldn´t attack us. If you would, we will open fire.'”

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    Ostrava, 08.11.2018

    duration: 03:20:12
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
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I hated the Communist regime and by signing the Charter 77 declaration I wanted to express that feeling

Jaroslav Kukol; around 1965
Jaroslav Kukol; around 1965
photo: Archiv Jaroslava Kukola

Jaroslav Kukol was born on November 23rd of 1947 in Opava. He had been doing blue-collar jobs. In August 1968 he joined the protests against the Warsaw pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In December 1968, he emigrated to Australia via Austria. In 1971, he returned to Czechoslovakia as his mother had been gravely ill. He had to give up his passport and was given suspended sentence for leaving abroad illegally. In 1980, he signed the Charter 77 declaration. He belonged to a small group of North Moravian Charter 77 signatories led by Mr and Mrs Šavrda and Tomáš Hradilek. He had printed leaflets criticising the government and distributed samizdat literature. He was being arrested, interrogated and abused by the Secret Police. In 1986, he surrendered the pressure and left the country without the possibility of coming back. He had been living in Ravensburg in South Germany with his wife and daughter. After 1990, he came back to Czechoslovakia and settled in Hradec nad Moravicí.