Doc.,JUDr. Václav Mezřický

* 1934  †︎ 2018

  • "We haven't spoken to the broad public. Ever. A sociological survey would have crossed the border and put into jeopardy our existence and our goal of a complex analysis of the state of environment in the country. I have one important thing to add here: From the very first moment I considered environmental issues to be a destabilizing factor for the communist regime. It was clear to me that as soon as the fallacy of eternal abundance of everything for everyone was exposed, along with restrictions due to the limits to growth, it would put the regime into a very awkward ideological situation."

  • "At a conference in late-1980s, the key issue was air pollution. Many local thinkers - I don't know whether they were bought or just ideological - kept claiming: 'We are not responsible for any pollution which takes place abroad. Due to the prevalence of winds from the West, it is clear that it is them who are polluting us.' In the end, it turned out that the intensity of our local pollution was so strong that even with the lower prevalence of eastern winds it was rather us polluting Germany than the other way around."

  • "First of all, it should be said that at the moment when we started with the vetting we had practically no legal tools at hand to drive those people who had participated in the illegal processes of the 1950s out of the prosecution. The prosecutor general Miloš Čeřovský tasked me with getting rid of Karel Čížek who took part in the trial against the priest Josef Toufar, and prosecutor Ludmila Brožová Polednová who took part in the show trial against Milada Horáková. In the first case, Čeřovský summoned Čížek and two other prosecutors for an interview. I was supposed to persuade him to give in to the will of the public and leave the prosecution. I will never forgive what he told me as we were drafting our opinion: 'Had we not done what we have, you wouldn't have been here now.' Many times I pondered what he actually had in mind but probably he meant to say they were fighters for the good and we acted against the interests they represented."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 26.10.2016

    duration: 01:04:56
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 16.11.2016

    duration: 02:13:53
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 3

    Praha, 19.01.2017

    duration: 02:03:57
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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The environment was a destablizing factor for the communist regime

Cut-out from an archival photo of Václav Mezřický
Cut-out from an archival photo of Václav Mezřický
photo: archiv pamětníka

Václav Mezřický was born on 11 November 1934 in Kolín into a family of a vet. After graduating from high school in 1953 he began studying at Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague. Just before the final exam he had to suspend his studies due to cadre vetting. He only graduated two years later after undergoing military service. He first worked as candidate attorney, then from 1968 till 1969 as secretary to the prosecutor general Miloš Čeřovský. Among other things he ran vetting commissions for prosecutors implicated in show trials of the 1950s. He then left the prosecutor’s office for the Institute of State and Law of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences where he stayed up until 1989. In 1978 he co-founded the Environmental Section of the Academy of Sciences, the first-ever institution to undertake a complex analysis of the state of the environment in Czechoslovakia. Following the 1989 Velvet Revolution he served as first deputy to the Minister of Environment. He later continued working in environmental protection in the US and in London. Je mostly dealed with the topic of globalization on which he gives lectures at Charles University and other prestigious universities around the world. Václav Mezřický passed away on march, the 26th, 2018