Bohuslav Neumann

* 1947  

  • “The committee was sitting there. Five people, the director, the cadre officer... Simply expressed, the management. And I was completely new there. I had been there for fourteen days.” - “Comrade, do you agree with the entrance of troops?” And I said: ‘No.‘ – “You, really? Why would you not agree? After all, you have here, and will have here an important technical position. You have to agree with it. It is the elemental issue, your fundamental political approach.” And I said: ‘I don´t think so.‘ And they: ‘Well, under these circumstances we don´t have to continue having this conversation. The doors are closed for you here.‘ And I said: ‘And can I work here?‘ - “We´ll think about it! Go out!” One of them came and said: ‘Mr. Neumann, I was rowing with your father. Do not ruin your life! You will have a family, children.‘ I told him: ‘Sir, if I came home now and said that I had agreed with the entrance of troops! And you would want me to join the party and I would remember my grandpa who hanged himself because of you.‘ They summoned me in a moment and told me that I could not have that technical position and that I had to get closer to working people. So, they sent me to work in oil filling plant.”

  • “The actors arrived in Kolín that day. Radek Brzobohatý personally. And I was returning from work, where the Kolín theatre is, there is a wide pavement in front of it, a road and another pavement on the other side of the road. And other people were also going from work and it was interesting to watch it. Nobody knew that they would come. We went from work and they came in the right time. It was around three o´clock and they were standing there and started to read the declaration. And invited people for a meeting in the theatre - people who were interested, should come. The people, who saw [them] and knew what was going on that there was a problem and that they could get into troubles because of it, they were all walking on the other pavement. Some of them were turning around to pretend that they even did not want to hear it. Some of us stayed there standing across the street. However, the theatre was full in the evening.”

  • “We were walking from a training. It was just four of us and it was in the evening. And we were walking across, I believe, Smetana square. It was empty there - there had always been [o lot of] people - it was completely empty. We were going across the square and all of sudden cars came from all directions and started to shine at us. Policemen rushed out and started: ‘What are you doing here? You were there yesterday!’ And we found out only at that moment that there had been a huge demonstration and that they had attacked their Soviet stand there.” “In 1969?” “In 1969. They had thrown away the side-cars, had set fire to them and had pulled them up to a tree. We did not know it. Because we arrived [from a volleyball training camp] and went directly to a training. Then we were walking from the training and they rushed to us. And we were surprised what was happening. They started to spray pepper spray to our eyes. So, we were calling them names. They were shouting at us and beating us. They picked us up, stuffed us into cars and took us to the police station. A bloke came and was holding a photo. It was a picture of the crowd that had gathered there. There were huge heads in the large common picture. And he came and said: ‘It is you. That is Šumný. And this is that one.‘ And I said: ‘Have you gone crazy? I wasn´t there!‘ ‘We do not care about it at all. You were there ant it was you. You can go.‘ He sent me to the other room. Other two [team mates] came there after a while and we sat there until late morning. Fortunately, father of one of my team mates was a lawyer. And he was the enterprise lawyer of a chemical plant Ústí. So, he started to look for his son. And he found out about this, so he got us out.”

  • “The only thing that we did was that we went to a parade station. They were all over the place between the buildings and did not leave [the tanks] at all. There were approximately two hundred tanks in the plain where the football pitch and the main assembly point were. We went there barehanded. There were about fifteen hundred of us. We were furious because we had heard the news about shooting in Prague. My sister was there, everybody had a girlfriend there and so on. Well, and the first thing that we had to do was that we had a paper bag in a locker... I told them at home. But to tell the truth, if we had died in combat, they would have put our personal belongings to the paper bag and would have sent it home. So, an idiot came up with an idea that we had to put our belongings in the paper bags. And I was afraid that they would send it home. And my parents knew it. Shots were fired everywhere. Well, and we went against the tanks. They started the engine, no one got out and they started to drive towards us. So, we stood there for a while then we packed it in and went away. There was also resistance, for example the commander of the garrison, who was quite cool, ordered to close the water supply, not to turn on water to them. So, the water supply was closed, then they revealed him, put him against the wall and ordered him to open it. He [said] that he would not do it. A young man came running and opened it, because otherwise they would have shot him. I saw things like this with my own eyes. They started to get out after some time. I was looking at them and they [were] staggered, half of them had Asian eyes. They did not know where they were. They told them that there was a revolution and no one was shooting at them so they did not know whether they were coming or going.”

  • “When you are five, eight or ten years old, you don´t care. We sang Czech songs at home, dad painted with us and played football with us which was amazing. He paid attention to us as a good dad and he did not talk about [politics] in our age. When we were older, he of course complained about communists. I listened to it daily. ‘What nonsense they´re saying again!‘ We turned off the TV and radio as well. As soon as the news were on, my dad switched it off, the way I do it today. I don´t watch the news, so I´m often not informed because for me it is enough [what I get to know] by hearsay. Later in the sixth year I had been familiarized [with the regime], so I said it to my best friends. Some of them knew, so they were in the same situation as me - they had been educated about it at the same age. Some of the did not know. There were some children whose parents were members of the party and they did not want to listen to it. When I went to the secondary school, all of us knew about each other, who, which position and where they were or had. Someone was careful, someone did not have to anymore because you could say that [for example] the young man, whose father was regional secretary, was completely normal and considered his father a fool as he believed it. Or he understood later that he did it for money that he did not resign because it was a good job. It was clear then at the secondary school.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 02.07.2019

    duration: 02:06:02
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 01.10.2019

    duration: 01:04:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“It seemed that nobody was able to reach them.”

Bohuslav Neumann in 2019
Bohuslav Neumann in 2019
photo: natáčení

Bohuslav Neumann was born on the 10th of July 1947 in Kolín where he spent a significant part of his life. He graduated from Secondary general school and was admitted to Faculty of Civil Engineering of Czech Technical University in Prague where he studied Civil Engineering. He suspended his studies in the second year and started his military service. He spent the military service playing volleyball for the league club Dukla Mladá. Having returned from the military service, he continued playing as a league volleyball player in the club Chemička Ústí nad Labem. At the same time, he remotely studied and graduated from School of Civil Engineering in Děčín. He got married and returned back to Kolín. He refused to agree with the Soviet occupation in 1968 during the screenings that took place in the enterprise in 1971. He worked in construction industry over the years. He raised five children. He was one of the founding members of Civic Forum (OF) in Kolín in November 1989 and he became its spokesman. He ended his political activities after the first free elections in June 1990. He worked as the head of the construction department of the Municipal Office in Kolín from 1991 to 1992. He later established his private engineering office and has run it to this day.