Vladimír Nádraský

* 1945  

  • “So they drove us two hundred and fifty kilometres, a beautiful highway. We spent a long time driving through Beijing. We saw how it grew in width, like Dubai. Just like Dubai grows wider into the desert and the sea, Beijing grows further and further to the south. And the smog is everywhere, but very slowly, as you start leaving Beijing, it goes away, but then there are all these factories. There are factories, industry, heating plants around Beijing. So as we learnt when the wind blows from Gobi, the rain turns red, when it blows from Siberia, there’s dry freezing weather, and when it blows from the sea you can smell the chemical plants by the sea and those factories around Beijing. So we saw Beijing, we saw the buildings fade away slowly and the factories and heating plants, and then we drove a long time through this – nothing, only trees were there. These are practically the lungs of Beijing, where they planted these weird forests that breathe. Even in the city you see green shrubs planted along the houses and roads. And then we were arriving, you spend a long time on the way and then you see a city in the distance. We asked that chargé d’affaires what it was. He said it was a village. We spent maybe half an hour travelling around it. It was bigger than Prague and he says village! There were several such cities in the distance, modern ones, with buildings with at least twenty-five floors. So next to the highway you see a wall of twenty-five floor buildings and that’s supposed to be a village. And it’s just like when you pass Prague. And then Mr. Jirsák told us that while Dubai has about a million inhabitants at night and three million during the day, this place has ten million at night and thirty million during the day. That’s like three of our republics.”

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    Praha - Motol, 22.09.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 04:16:27
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The friendship of the grateful Chinese outlasted the era of political animosity

Mr. Nádraský as Young
Mr. Nádraský as Young
photo: archív pamětníka

Vladimír Nádraský is the son of “Vašek” whose name is known even in China. His father Václav Nádraský was a professional car mechanic, focusing on race cars, but he was also close to agriculture. An active Communist Party member, he reached a prominent position at the ministry of agriculture and in 1956 he led a team of experts sent to help a Chinese state-owned farm. Meanwhile, Vladimír witnessed the local agricultural cooperative take over the farm estate of his mother’s parents, effectively destroying it. This was a traumatic experience at his young age. His passion for machines brought him to a factory where the Jawa motorcycles were manufactured and where he studied to become a machinist. Following his basic military service he came back to Jawa but the company had since moved on to a different field that was not very interesting to Vladimír. Instead he worked several jobs that would hopefully enable him to acquire a flat for the family. He worked even after retiring and during a technical job at the Motol hospital he was invited to a celebration in China where his father had been working. He travelled there as one of four descendants of the Czech expert group led by his father.