Master of Fine Arts Jan Neubert

* 1952

  • “They did not have much time for me, and my grandpa was retired, so he was spending time with me. We were listening to Radio Free Europe together, for instance. At that time it was forbidden, but nobody would be able to inform upon us in the villa. He explained to me who Peroutka was and how it all was at that time. Back then, when I was some five or eight years old, I was already aware of what politics was. He taught me a wonderful thing, how to read between the lines. And it still comes useful to me, even now. He taught me how to grasp what is hidden underneath the text in various commentaries. It helps me even today and I find it amusing when I see our politicians and I see the nonsense which they wish to keep hidden.”

  • “He knew how to help us get rid of political bullying, and he was protecting us just like a hen protects its chicken. Some idiots from the ministry were coming with their idiotic ideas on how to strengthen socialism. He was ahead of his time. He had something like computers and light displays at railway stations which we have today: he had a board behind his back and it had holes in it, and he had several hundreds of colourful pins and rubber bands and threads and paper tags with names of the individual students on the board and he had a kind of a mechanical computer and a display. When some of the idiots from the ministry wanted to know what the students were doing, he convinced them that he was informed about what the students were doing, He did away with every committee perfectly. They left and we were left in peace. It was a oasis of calm and liberalism. All this nonsense did not affect us. We were receiving great subscription magazines from the West.”

  • “I come from a family that was quite untypical, because my family was considerably well-known and wealthy before 1948. My grandfather did some outstanding service during the war, he was an intelligence officer. He was receiving news and he knew with whom to share them. He had many soldier friends who were obviously suspended during the war, and they had contacts to paratroopers and radio transmitter operators. My grandfather Karel Neubert was the owner and editor-in-chief of Pestrý Týden (‘Colourful Week’ – transl.’s note), which was a weekly magazine for the whole family, I would compare it to something like present-day Reflex, and he had excellent photos and articles in there. He had a great number of various contacts.”

  • Full recordings
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    Dobřichovice, 23.03.2016

    duration: 03:11:20
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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My grandpa taught me to read between the lines

Jan Neubert in 2018
Jan Neubert in 2018
photo: Hynek Moravec, Post Bellum

Jan Neubert was born on August 1, 1952 and he is a descendant of the well-known Neubert family. Among his ancestors were great-grandfather Václav Neubert (1852-1936), a bookseller, printer and publisher, who operated a printing shop in Prague-Smíchov since 1877 together with a publishing company which published textbooks, books and picture books. Jan Neubert’s grandfather was Karel Neubert (1894-1973), who started the publication of the magazine Pestrý Týden (‘Colourful Week’), of which he served as the editor-in-chief until its abolishment in 1945. Jan’s father was photographer Karel Neubert (1926-2003), one of the pioneers of colour photography in post-war Czechoslovakia. Among his relatives was photographer Ladislav Sitenský (father’s cousin), who served in the Royal Air Force during WWII. Jan Neubert studied photography at FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague) and in the 1970s and 1980s he worked as a freelance photographer. In the 1990s he started his own business and he established a publishing house. He also taught photography at a private university or at the grammar school in Radotín. He was a long time member of the municipal council and a councillor in Dobřichovice. In his free time he plays the contrabass and he creates art works from metal scrap.