Pavel Marek

* 1929  

  • "But imagine I was there, and the forced labour camp wasn't even legal. That is, they didn't even need to enact it until I was enacted in about half a year that I was there, and I got the assessment, as I told you, where the reason was written. All right, now you've returned from the forced labour camp, but they didn't want to take you anywhere. My dad, because he was in the Prague ironworks, so he had some contacts, so he got me to the screw shop to Libčice. In a fortnight a report came, yeah, and I was a planner or something, and in a fortnight the party chairman called me and said, 'Look, you can only do a day labourer here, you can't be in the office here.' So I went there and later an acquaintance got me a job in Tesla's office again. I stayed there for half a day and then they came to announce me that I could only go to the warehouse. That's how I worked in the warehouse."

  • "The boys wrote on the wall, 'Brezhnev went crazy,' and some inscriptions like that, but there was nothing like that in the small town.' I remember they called me at the National Committee and the chairman was crying holding his head. And I laughed and he said, 'You can laugh as you want, you never believed the Soviets, but I believed them!' So many of them were disappointed, those people from communism, when they saw… I was never disappointed as I never believed in any of it."

  • "Then I wanted to go to study law, but because the working class won back in 1948, they didn't let me go to college, they didn't let me study law, but they didn't let me study anything at all, and on October 4 they took me to a forced labour camp instead of college. It all happened without any trial, I was simply sentenced to Kladno, then I was in the selection, the reason for my imprisonment was that I was a staunch enemy of the people's democratic establishment, a supporter of Western bourgeois ideology, dangerous to the public and necessary to be isolated and re-educated. So I went to a concentration camp in Kladno for a year."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Velvary, 22.10.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:08:09
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Be glad you don’t have a first secretary anymore

Pavel Marek was born on March 4, 1929 in Prague. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he moved with his mother to his grandparents in Velvary. Here he attended primary school and in 1940–1948 studied at the Velvary grammar school. After the war, he founded a scout unit in Velvary, with which he organized four scout camps before the Communists banned him in 1948. In October of the same year he was sent to a forced labour camp in Kladno-Dubí, and worked in the company Poldovka for almost a year. After returning home, he had a hard time finding work, he was only allowed to do the lowly one. In 1950, he was accepted to a university, where he studied veterinary medicine. In 1952, he was taken to Slovakia for obligatory military service to the Auxiliary Technical Battalions (PTP), built roads and dug coal in Karviná. After returning from the army he was not allowed to finish school. He married in 1957, had a daughter in 1961, and divorced four years later. In 1965, he began distance learning at a university, an agricultural engineer, which he successfully completed five years later. He recalls the time of the Prague Spring and the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968. In the same year, he convened a congress of former members of the PTP in Žofín. He first got a job at Koospol, where he sold horses all the way to England, and later worked at Velaz. In 1989, he took part in demonstrations during Palach’s week, as well as in November on Wenceslas Square and Letná. In Velvary, he was involved in the Civic Forum, he was unable to rebuild the scout unit. He was again involved in organizations associating former members of the PTP. In the 1990s, he unsuccessfully ran for the ODS in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. He lives in Velvary with his third wife.