Ing., CSc Vlastislav Maláč

* 1921  

  • "It was like Stanley Jones said somewhere that 'Only five percent of people think, another five percent think they think, but it's not worth it, and 90 percent of people would rather die than think. And yet those five percent of thinking people move humanity forward.' And that is true. In the end, even in America, they had the Trump Donald. That was also a piece. He thought that if he was rich, he could afford everything. And he still says he will be the next president. I have the impression that people are losing values a little. And it's probably also because people lack the foundation or do not stand on solid. Then they easily accept what anyone tells them."

  • "We were such a couple - Brain Trust. She studied phonetics and was a member of the Institute for the Czech Language. When she had to do some speech analysis, of course, they only had a pencil and paper. Through my colleague, who once had a job with this co-worker, he told me if I needed any help. So, apart from my work tasks, I started working with her. In the end, because she knew people well, she forced our boss to do some research in speech analysis and synthesis. He also then made me to candidate, because he was a candidate of science and wanted to be a doctor of science, and he had to show that he had raised about two or three candidates of science. So, even though I didn't care, he checked me in. I accepted it because it was 21 days off in addition to the holidays, so I could help my sister demolish the house in Pilsen. Then, when I was on a math exam, a professor was testing students there. My boss was there with me and wanted to show off. He made a note, and the cantor settled him very hard. When I did Russian then, it was pretty embarrassing there too. I went to a worker who made a description of my work with me. Eventually, the situation changed and someone else was there. I said something in Russian, but then they said that more probably my language would be English, and then I made it more easily. That was good. Well, and the candidate's work, I don't know how many, it was about 200 to 300 pages. Virtually no one understood that, because it was a new field. Sometimes they asked something, but easily, it wasn't such a problem."

  • "Before the 1968th year, they forbade us to talk to the people who were there, but after the 1968th they wanted us to talk to get the data. Well, I had one such colleague we used to go to tea with. He said, 'You can't talk to anyone about it.' And I said, 'But I had to tell my wife, I had to tell where I was going.' But he was such a man, a little poor. When he spoke to me, he asked: first, second, third, and the two things. And because we were a small church, they interviewed us and we paid attention to what they wanted. When we confided to each other, we found out whom they wanted to get a cadre for right then, so it helped us more. But I know, I met when I was returning from the States, so there was their worker there. It was obvious that he was a very intelligent man. There was no good to avoid. Well, they asked what I was carrying there, and then they saw half a suitcase of big pine cones."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 03.04.2021

    duration: 01:19:23
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    V Praze, 08.05.2021

    duration: 20:11
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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We taught the machines to speak

A period portrait photo of Vlastislav Maláč, Prague around 1945
A period portrait photo of Vlastislav Maláč, Prague around 1945
photo: archive of the witness

Vlastislav Maláč was born on December 22, 1921 to Czech parents Antonia and Gustav Josef Maláč in Vienna. His father worked here as an evangelical preacher in the Czech church choir. After relocating to Czechoslovakia, the family often moved - from Bratislava to Pilsen, to Slaný and later to Jihlava. Vlastislav always inclined to technology. He graduated from “Realshule” (a type of high school focusing on natural sciences and languages) in 1940, and since the universities were closed, until the end of the war he was employed at Kolben’s plant in Vysočany. After the liberation in 1945, he began studying at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, later at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. He graduated in 1949, the last two years of his studies he was also employed at the Research Institute for Communication Technology (VÚST). He first worked on the development of headphones, meters and speakers, later on the analysis and synthesis of speech. Together with the phonetician Blanka Borovičková, they published a number of scientific works on this topic, on the basis of which he obtained the rank of candidate of science. After the February coup in the 1950s, the witness’s father Gustav Josef Maláč was accused of espionage and imprisoned as a preacher, and his brother Bořivoj emigrated to the USA in 1949. In the 1980s, Vlastislav Maláč signed a collaboration with the State Security to see his brother after more than 30 years and to help the church maintain contacts with the world. He was involved in the Methodist Church all his life, he was a lay preacher in the Prague congregation for 60 years. As a representative of Czechoslovak Methodists, he was repeatedly delegated to General Conferences held in the United States. He learned English and translated mostly works with church Methodist themes. After retiring, he was the technical editor of the Methodist Church’s magazine Slovo a život. The pre-November communist regime did not allow Vlastislav Maláč’s four sons to obtain a high school, neither a university degree.