Stanislav Navrátil

* 1941

  • "We knew that Professor Patočka's funeral was to be held on Thursday. We were wondering where it should be. It was impossible to find out. A day earlier, on Wednesday, we were driving our assembly car past Markéta (St. Markéta's Basilica in Prague, Břevnov) and we saw helicopters flying over Markéta and off-road motorcycles lined up on the hillside. They stood by them in leather jackets and pants as if they were racing and revving up. There is a cemetery next to it and lots of people were running to the gate. So we parked the car and ran there in work overalls as well. It was very interesting. Students walked through the gate and when they saw that there were cameras on both sides, they put their scripts and notebooks in front of their faces. There was also a postman with a bag full of undelivered mail. We had the advantage that no one knew us, no one noticed us. We went without camouflage. There were a lot of State Security officers there, and I think they might have thought we were one of them, because it was said that some of them were even in disguise. The professor's funeral was symbolic, it characterized that time. Landovský (actor Pavel Landovský) and other Chartists were there. You couldn't hear what anyone was saying because the helicopter was flying very low over the cemetery, the motorbikes were also roaring, but there were still a lot of people there. It made a very strong impression on me. I thought this might be a sign that we weren't on our knees. I remembered my dad's prediction that one day it would crack. That's when I thought it might crack."

  • "The era of background checks has begun. I got into the interesting company of the commissioners who were checking us out. It was a Don Quixote´s fight, because whatever I said, I was accused of lying, and how dare I. They said I was a sell-out to the Western imperialists. I discovered with horror that any kind of discussion was impossible. They spewed one phrase after another at me and made me out to be an enemy of the nation that must be dealt with. For a few moments I was anxious. Bruntál was full of Russian soldiers and for the first time I admitted to myself, knowing what the 1950s were, that it could go the same way. I started to worry about myself, but mainly about my family and friends. That was the first time I really felt something like fear. I was afraid of how it would all turn out."

  • "The day before I was in a café with my friends. We celebrated something, but in silence. It wasn't a big party, but we didn't part until after midnight. We went home and there was a loud banging on the door at night. I went out into the hallway, the neighbor Mr. Andrýsek was there and he shouted: 'You're sleeping and they're occupying us!' I asked who. He said the Russians and I thought he was crazy. We had no signal about it and suddenly such horror. The neighbor went one floor higher, where a soldier, a lieutenant colonel, lived. He also stirred him up: 'Go, you have to blow up bridges.' He was in a very combative mood. At first, I was unsure by the situation, finally I went to the office. In no time we started meeting there. We were all shocked. Those were traumatic moments. We didn't know what to do. The head of the district department of culture was Jaroslav Morávek, father of director Vladimír Morávek. We agreed to start a radio broadcast over the wire. We started collecting information about what is happening, what people are saying. We made “štvavé vysílačky” (foreign radios) for our comrades. We were in the newsroom of radio by wire 24/7, we slept there. It was broadcast non-stop. We also received news from elsewhere. We also contacted a large (Czechoslovak) radio station. We were taking tapes with our contributions to them. So, we had a radio war there. Leaflets were also printed. About a week later, a notice came that we should stop it."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 20.07.2022

    duration: 02:05:35
  • 2

    Ostrava, 21.07.2022

    duration: 01:39:17
  • 3

    Ostrava, 02.08.2022

    duration: 01:57:35
  • 4

    Ostrava, 03.08.2022

    duration: 01:27:41
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I don’t understand how I could believe that communism could have a human face

Stanislav Navrátil / around 1959
Stanislav Navrátil / around 1959
photo: archive of the witness

Stanislav Navrátil was born on July 29, 1941 in the village Vír in Vysočina region. His father made a living as a worker in a textile factory. He graduated from the educational school for librarians and cultural workers in Brno. After graduation, he was placed in Bruntál, where he worked in the department of culture. In 1968, when the troops of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia, he was the director of the Bruntál House of Education. With his colleagues, he distributed leaflets against the occupation and organized illegal radio broadcasts. During the communist checks in 1970, he was expelled from the party, which he joined in the mid-sixties. He had to support himself as a laborer. He worked on construction sites in Czech, commuting to his wife and three children only on weekends. In November 1989, he experienced major anti-communist demonstrations in Prague. After the fall of the regime, representatives of the Civic Forum in Bruntál offered him to return to the office as head of the culture department. Between 1990 and 1999, he served as the head of the Bruntál district office. He was a member of the Civic Democratic Party and later the Freedom Union. In the years 2002 to 2006, he was the mayor of Bruntál. In 2023 he lived in Bruntál.