Anna Midelfart roz. Hyková

* 1947  

  • “My class, I mean the chemists from the Faculty of Science, they still managed to leave for a student exchange in Germany in September. While there, we had meetings with German students, they were asking us many questions, about how we had envisioned the revolution, and what mistakes we had perhaps made that it ended with the occupation. We had to argue a lot, we thought that these German students had good conditions for studying, good economic conditions, but still they were suggesting that we had been paying great attention to economy and neglecting the philosophy of revolution. I remember one thing very well, we had a meeting and one student from that leftist organization of German students arrived to the meeting in his Volkswagen and he wore a nice woollen jacket. One girl who was studying there with me exclaimed: ´What a great car, what a nice jacket.´ He was standing there and still wanted to argue with us, claiming that we had led the revolution poorly, and that we had been oriented too economically. This was a paradox. We did not understand each other. Their conditions were very good, for example in Prague there were six of us students in one room, while there all students had their own rooms or shared a room with only a few others, and overall the dorms were nice. On the other hand perhaps it was more authoritative there, we did not understand these aspects.”

  • “The students displayed great courage. When the electricity was turned off while we were preparing for our exams, it took courage for the students to go out and say: ´We want light.´ They showed enormous courage, because at that time nobody dared to go out in the streets like this. Students from the Strahov dorms called us that they were going. Suddenly we saw that the lights in the Prague Castle went out. To dare to go out like this was very bold. We said we were not demonstrating against the regime, but for having the conditions for being good students. Then somebody took over and said: ´The students are not protesting against the regime, they want to have suitable conditions for their studies.´ (...) It slowly gained momentum. Articles were written in the Literární Noviny newspaper. (...) What I remember most was that we invited the Minister of Education to our Faculty of Science to tell us what plans he had for schools. As we were approaching the auditorium, we found out there were tens of people heading there, older people, workers from various factories. We were a bit scared, for we did not know how this meeting might develop. I have never experienced a situation like this, workers and students together joining in such a group of resurgence. (…) The auditorium was packed, suddenly we realized what power this movement had. Suddenly shouts were being heard from the auditorium, we had to silence them. (...) In the committee we had to make decisions every day: what events we were able to support, which would be in the interest of the students, but at the same time not a threat to our student life.”

  • “Our arrivals to Czechoslovakia were always quite traumatizing for us, because we had to register with the police. We always spent many hours there. When we got inside to that office, we were being asked various questions, about what we thought about the political situation in Norway and other questions, but we could not complain to anybody, we had to be there. It took two, three, four hours. (...) Whenever we arrived, we always had to register with the police within 48 hours after our arrival.” Interviewer: “Did they interrogate only you or your husband as well?” “They could not speak German so well. And often he was not in the best mood, either, when we had to wait there for a long time, he would have liked to complain somewhere. At times like this I had to calm him down, explain to him that we would not get anywhere with complaining. Kids were thirsty, etc. They had different information and I never knew whether I was answering correctly. Today we walk by that villa with great joy and we think how many hours we had spent there. And it’s gone.”

  • “My name is Anna Midelfart, born Hyková, and I was born in 1947 in Strakonice as a South Bohemian. (...) My parents had a farm in South Bohemia and unfortunately they became victims of the communist regime and they had to leave the farm and for several years they were experiencing great persecution by the communist regime. (...) The farm was then returned to them, but in a very devastated state, and I think this was what helped my father regain such a new zest for life, but it costs great effort to put the farm back to its former shape. I was happy that my parents have lived to see the revolution of 1989 and the change of the regime.”

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    Praha, 16.09.2008

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    duration: 44:25
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“It is not good to fear, it is necessary to display courage all the time. It is important to show an initiative, not to give up.”

Anna Midelfart in 2008
Anna Midelfart in 2008
photo: Hynek Moravec, Post Bellum

  Ophthalmologist and professor at the Trondheim University MUDr. Anna Midelfart was born in Strakonice in 1947 as Anna Hyková. Her parents were victims of the collectivization process. Fortunately she spent the worst years as a child; she began studying only in the more liberal 1960s. Thus it was possible for her, a kulak’s child, to study at a secondary school and to apply for a university in Prague. She chose the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague. As a student she directly witnessed riots in the Strahov student dorms in 1967, she was also a co-organizer of the student movement at the Faculty of Science. In summer 1968 she was on vacation in France, the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army occurred while she was in Germany on the way home. She began studying in Germany already in the academic year 1968-1969. There she met her future husband from Norway, where she later moved. In Norway she graduated from a faculty of medicine, she now lives in Trondheim. In the 1970s she rectified her relation with Czechoslovakia, as a legally married spouse of a foreigner she was allowed to travel to Czechoslovakia even during the normalization period.