Božena Mannová

* 1941  

  • "The award is presented at the Park Lane Hilton Hotel, there is a lunch for a thousand five hundred people, and the four candidates know they have a chance to get it, but they don't know they got it. So we went to the barber, I borrowed some clothes and we went. Now we were sitting there and suddenly we heard that we got the prize, so we went upstairs. We practiced such a thank you together, if, God forbid, we were ready to thank you. And when we got there, I don't remember much, but I remember this quite well, that she started talking what we had learned, so I started answering and now suddenly she changed the subject of the thanksgiving and said that when she first came to Czechoslovakia, so she thought that she was coming to a developing country, but that this was not the case, and that she was very sorry that in 1939 Great Britain was one of those countries that signed the treaty, that at least it happened to Czechoslovakia... the Munich Agreement. The audience rose there. Then I don't remember anything."

  • "When I celebrated my next birthday a year later, on August 21, 1969, we celebrated it with my friends from school and with my husband's friends, and of course we sang and drank. And the neighbors had already invited the police and picked us all up because we had been protesting against August 21, 1968. My husband lost his driver's license at the time, because at that time, it was August 21, 1969; it was a sign that we were protesting against that we have Soviet troops here in Czechoslovakia. He didn't get the driver's license only until four years later, when he returned from Canada."

  • "It was very difficult to find out when there was not enough information, not enough books. I remember at home, I said I grew up in a happy family, I had two younger siblings, one more sister and a brother. There were a lot of books at home, a big piano at home, Dad played the piano. And when they turned off the electricity in the '50s, so we knew in the afternoon that there would be no electric power from six to eight in the evening, so there was nothing you could do, but my dad, a physicist and mathematician, was charging the batteries and we had a twenty-watt light bulb hanging over the table, and we sat around it. My mother made us tea and smeared bread with lard, and my father explained various stuff from history and mathematics to us, and we sang various Smetana operas and things like that. And I remember, it was really beautiful, but it was terrible."

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    Praha , 20.11.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:03:18
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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I always knew I belonged here

Young Božena Mannová
Young Božena Mannová
photo: archiv pamětnice

Božena Mannová, née Radová, was born on August 21, 1941 in Čáslav. Her father was a mathematician and physicist, and Božena also showed a talent for mathematics. She graduated from the Faculty of Radio Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Poděbrady. During her studies, she married and had a daughter. After completing her studies, she joined the company Aritma in Prague. She lived on today’s Evropská Street and therefore saw the arrival of the occupying troops from the Ruzyně airport. In August 1969, she and her husband and friends were detained during her birthday party on the anniversary of the occupation. In 1969 she went to Canada with her family for four years and in 1973 she returned. After the Velvet Revolution, she collaborated extensively with foreign colleagues in the field of programming and in 1998 received the important European Woman of Action Award. Today she still works at CTU.