Miloš Petera

* 1937

  • "I had a very unpleasant experience. The first days after the occupation there were tanks around the city, of course with patrols who had machine guns. We went to the cinema one night, it was a hit movie and the cinema was sold out. Around eight o'clock, a crowd of people rolled out of the cinema and the patrols at the Polish tank interpreted it as some kind of attack on them and started firing into the air, warning shots into the air. But people started screaming, the crowd started to run, we ran into these narrow alleys where we knew the tank couldn't go and we knew we would get lost there, being locals. My girlfriend Marcela ran with me, but her heel got between the cobblestones and her shoe came off. The crowd kept running but she went back. I said, 'For God's sake, forget the shoe, it's dangerous!' I couldn't stop her, she went back to get the shoe, luckily nothing happened. So that was the atmosphere, these patrols with machine guns were walking the streets, there was an atmosphere of fear and apprehension, so the streets were more or less deserted, not many people went out in the evening."

  • "I was summoned to explain my paintings I planned to exhibit in the Orlická Gallery in Rychnov. I was asked to come to the regional office. So I went there, but I looked very provocative, because I was dressed all in black, which is fashionable nowadays, but it wasn't then in 1963 or '64. I had an English black umbrella and a black beard, which was wrong then. So I presented myself at the reception, where there was a militiaman, and he eyed me suspiciously for a long time to see what I wanted. I said that I was invited to see Comrade Šilutek, and he said, 'Well, wait, comrade, I'll ask.' He called him up and was told that he couldn't see me right away, that I had to wait. The militiaman told me to go and sit in the park because I didn't look at all suitable to sit in the hallway. So I sat down in the park but they didn't like that either, they said it was a provocation that I was sitting in front of the roses with a black umbrella, dressed in black in front of the office. They found it horrible too, and after a while they called me in and he had these photographs in front of him - my burnt pellets and the required things, structural sands and wood and things like that. He was unhappy about it and said, 'Comrade, why are you doing this to me? What is this?! What will the working class say to that? This is horrible!'"

  • "We needed a singer. But no one knew English lyrics to swing back then. So we put out a sort of audition but we couldn't find anyone for a long time. Suddenly a beautiful girl came in, blonde hair halfway down her back. She knew the English lyrics and she sang absolutely fantastic. We took her on straight away, of course. It was Eva Bojanovská, who was then at the Brno Business Academy, I think. She became famous later as Eva Pilarová. We used to have rehearsals of our band every Wednesday afternoon at the International Variety Theatre Rozmarýn, I think it's still there today. We didn't rehearse in the main hall, but upstairs in the offices where the boxes were. Once, we were rehearsing and after a while this inconspicuous gentleman came in and listened. And we played hits like O Cangaceiro with those rumba balls or Třešňový květ (Cherry Blossom) with that trumpet solo, it's still played today. And this inconspicuous gentleman was standing back there in the dark listening to us and then he took Eva away from us! It was Erik Knirsch, the chief conductor of the Czech Radio in Brno, and that's how Eva started her career."

  • "The Netík family lived upstairs in the Sochor colony. Their son, Václav Netík, fled abroad via Poland in 1939. He found his way to England, became a pilot in the RAF and flew in the Wellington bomber as a crew member to bomb German cities. In one raid on Essen he was shot down and killed, he was twenty-three or twenty-four years old. It was a family of patriots and his father, knowing that his son had died in that combat flight in forty-one or forty-two, went with a group of patriots to attack those Hitler Youth on May 5th. They wanted to get into the building from back, but the fanatics figured out that somebody was coming at them from behind, and Mr. Netík got shot in the legs with a machine gun. I was peeking through the slit of the closed curtains. My mother said that during the revolution the curtains had to be closed so that no one could see inside. I saw two men walking on the other side of the road wearing white armbands with a red cross on them. They were carrying a stretcher that was covered with a white sheet, and there were big blood stains on the sheet. It was Mr. Netík, the father of the son who was shot down over the Germany."

  • "It was wartime and there were Wehrmacht soldiers, SS, Hitler Youth, all around me at that time. My first drawing attempts in my sketchbook were Wehrmacht weapon badges and I had almost all of them except one, and that was the Luftwaffe. So I was unhappy that I didn't have the Luftwaffe. I went to the cinema with my mother. There in the lobby of that cinema was a German Luftwaffe lieutenant, and I broke free from my mother and went to look closely at the lieutenant's belt. It was rather embarrassing in front of the other Czechs that a Czech child rushed to the German officer, so my mother grabbed my hand and pulled me back. However, the German officer scolded her that if a Czech boy was interested in a German soldier, she shouldn't pull him away like that."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Hradec Králové, 20.01.2022

    duration: 02:41:24
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 25.01.2022

    duration: 03:00:26
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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He exhibited his paintings in Western Europe. The Communists wouldn’t let him go to his vernissage

By the Labe river in Hradec Králové, 1962
By the Labe river in Hradec Králové, 1962
photo: Archiv Miloš Petery

Miloš Petera was born on 1 November 1937 in Hradec Králové into the family of a First Republic police officer. Before the war began, he and his parents moved to Dvůr Králové nad Labem. His grandmother looked after him. He liked to draw. During the war, his father had to serve in the orderly service in the Terezín concentration camp. After the war, his father was promoted to the command corps in Herlikovice, but the communists sent him into retirement. Miloš went to Brno to study at the School of Arts and Crafts. While studying, he played in a band with Eva Pilarová and after school he joined the design studio of the Juta 1 company. As a holder of blue booklet, he was exempted from military service, he got married in 1967 and lost his job in 1969 for writing anti-occupation slogans. In 1973 he began selling his paintings to the West through ART Centrum Praha. In 1981 he obtained registration with the Czech Fine Arts Fund. He exhibited alone and with other artists in the Czechoslovakia and abroad. From 1990 to 2003 he was a member of the board of the Union of Visual Artists. He received several awards for his lifetime work, and in 2022 he lived and painted in Dvůr Králové nad Labem.