“First order to appear in Bartolomějská street for interrogation – I was really scared, I got to admit that because up until then I practically didn’t get in touch with the cops with the exception of HSTD, the General Administration of Press Oversight of the Communist Party. Those guys would always come before the jingle at 7 p.m. with a round rubberstamp, go through the news, cross something out or correct it. We couldn’t have said a word on top of it. It was amazing in the spring of 1968 when the HSTD guy stopped appearing or when the editor-in-chief called to tell me that the writer Pavel Kohout was coming for a debate to the TV news. It was loosening up for those six months, the spring was completely unbelievable. Now back to Bartolomějská. I was scared shitless and called my friend Věnek Šilhán for advice. He said: ‘Don’t even talk to them. First, they are wiretapping it of course, and can twist any of it later. Don’t talk to them, keep shut and if you have no option, say yes or no.’ Then I received more and more orders to appear in Bartolomějská. I somehow ignored them so they came to my apartment, rang the bell, I told them I wasn’t going anywhere. They said: ‘Should we drag you along? No problem!’ So I started coming to Bartolomějská. At the beginning they acted wannabe decent and tried to pressure me with my daddy – an adept communist – saying I can’t do this to him. I replied: ‘I can! I am here representing myself only, I am an adult and there’s nothing I can add to that!’”
“In the evening I went to my grandpa’s in the upper town and on the way came across a procession of sorts composed of Germans accompanied by the Russians. They were really young guys, my age, and one of the Germans said: ‘Wasser…’ I burst into that little house of ours, took a glass of water, ran along the crowd of Germans and handed it over to this guy who took it from me. People were standing along on pavements, throwing cobble stones on those Germans. As soon as I passed him the water, I got also hit by one to the head. I thought: why? I was just giving a man some water. What about him being an enemy? A strange encounter…”
“Right after that I entered the studio and began broadcasting. At the beginning, there wasn’t much. It was no proper TV news coverage – it was a service to the population, reporting on what was happening, where there was shooting, which way the Soviet tanks and transporters were driving. My basic impression was anger – I was really trembling with rage about how those bastards dared… Of course we were all scared about what was going to happen. The situation had been difficult for a long time but none of us predicted they would cross the border militarily. There were more news coming in from the streets of Prague but also more remote places, reporters began arriving, so it wasn’t about the center of Prague anymore. Whatever they brought in I was immediately reading and reporting. As I was in the process, the cameraman Jirka Průcha moved the camera and I could see there that there were two Soviet soldiers standing behind me, aiming with assault rifles at my back. Since I was in rage, it didn’t scare me off at that point. It was not a matter of bravery, I was just really pissed off, trembling with rage and went on. The directors were telling me: ‘Kamila, you have two armed Soviet soldiers behind you, we suppose nothing will happen but don’t get out of the studio because we won’t be able to get you back in – they are guarding the entrance.’ So I sat there and then just went to pick a phone call in this studio. It was Jirka Pelikán, the director, saying that I had to cease the broadcasting. I asked: ‘Are they holding you by the throat?’ He said yes. I replied: ‘I don’t give a damn, I will keep broadcasting up until they cut it off.’ I don’t recall exactly what time it was, probably around 9:30, when they turned off the Cukrák transmitter. I was still sitting in the studio, shaken, as they began poking my ribs with their rifles. So I got up leaving with them right behind me. Outside, three officers were awaiting me. Somehow, I managed to escape them through the passage to Jungmannova street.”
People, mind what is happening on this beautiful planet
Kamila Moučková, née Nová, was born on 8 April 1928 in Jihlava. Her parents were politically active in the Communist Party and she was initially raised by her mother’s parents. In 1934 she moved with her parents to Prague, and later to Olomouc and finally Ostrava where her father worked for the communist press. In 1939 he imigrated to England, working as BBC broadcaster. In 1940 Kamila and her mother returned to Jihlava to her grandparents’. Then the Germans arrested her mother and Kamila underwent an interrogation. In 1942 her mother was sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. In 1945 the family moved to Ostrava where her father became regional secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Shortly afterwards her parents divorced. In 1946 Kamila attempted to study acting at the Prague Conservatory, then for a while she worked in theaters in Teplice and Jihlava. In 1947 she got married to a colleague actor and a year later gave birth to a daughter. Following a divorce, she got married again in 1949 to the medicine student Josef Moučka. The same year saw her father arrested and imprisoned. In 1951 she gave birth to her second daughter Bára. In 1952 she got the job of a program broadcaster at the Czechoslovak Radio. In 1956 her son Ondřej was born and at the same time she began collaborating with the newly-established Czechoslovak Television. In 1959 her second marriage broke up. Throughout the 1960s she consolidated her job position and became a known public figure. In the first hours of Soviet occupation in August 1968 she broadcasted from the studio with soldiers behind her back, up until the transmitters were turned off. She took part in the illegal broadcasting from Prague’S Tesla factory. In 1969 she supported student protests related to the self-immolation of Jan Palach. In spring of the same year she was fired from the TV as well as from the Party. She actively supported the distribution of anti-regime documents and in 1970 found herself jobless. She was one of the first signatories of Charter 77, also helping with its distribution. Up until 1989 she worked in the least qualified manual professions. After 1989 she was rehabilitated and served in various positions in the Czech TV and Radio Free Europe. She was also elected to Prague 1 municipal assembly, underwent hundreds of discussions, received many honors. She (co)-authored four books. Kamila Moučková died in 2020 at the age of 92.