Rudolf Pokorný

* 1966  

  • “(During the protest rally) I was standing right next to Havel or close to him. The Czechoslovak Television was there, but they were mostly shooting the faces of the people who were in the centre of the activity, and the 35 milimetre film that they were using then became one of the illustrative depictions of the revolution after November 1989. But the StB policemen used mainly video cameras; they already had more advanced technical equipment.”

  • “I received the draft notice around the fifteenth of August, and I was ordered to go for a military exercise. I did everything I could so that I would not have to go there, because I intended to go to Prague on 21st August, but instead I had to go to the State Defence authority in Tábor, where the Western Command of the Warsaw Pact armies was, and so I had to go for the exercise, but it was such a short time after I had completed my military service that it was certainly politically motivated. It was obvious, because the way the exercise was conducted was that they locked us up in a room and we were not allowed to go anywhere.”

  • Full recordings
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    Hradec Králové, 13.03.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:11:38
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Testimony from 1989 through the eyes of a photographer

Rudolf Pokorný was born June 15, 1966 in Hradec Králové. He studied chemistry and photography processing. The State Security Police became interested in him already when he was fifteen years old due to an innocent remark about wars in the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the regime regarded him as a troublemaker since then. Rudolf was assigned to do his military service in Martin in Slovakia. From 1988 he was coming to Prague to protest rallies against the communist regime. He experienced a physical attack as well as short-term custody. During these events he captured a unique series of photographs that closely document the crucial events of the revolutionary year 1989.