Jarmila Poláková

* 1956

  • "I was a little surprised that, as I saw it, for a little thing, for signing Charter 77 - that's how I assessed it - and offering it to someone else to sign – you were going to go to prison. I never felt that what I was doing, through... we were basically a grey zone, we were doing it through the official... Socialist Youth Union (SSM) was a political youth organization...so that it could possibly go that far. After the first year [of the festival], we had the experience of being interrogated by State Security and of people at my workplace being very interested in it. And when you're in a small town in a factory, everybody knows that three State Security men just come into the personnel department and read your CV and then pretend they know everything about you. I didn't feel like I could have... maybe it was also the fact that I worked in culture afterwards, but there was this feeling that I could always go back to the factory."

  • "We went to see Springsteen in Berlin and on the way we stopped at Hrádeček. All the performers or the organisers and the organizing staff [of the Folk Lipnice festival] were marked with guitars made of modeling clay. At the factory they made for me a metal mould and we baked the clay in the oven at home like a Christmas cake. They had various colours...We arrived to Hrádeček, rang the bell and said that we were organizing Folk Lipnice and that it would be great if [Václav Havel] came there. At that time, Petruška Šustrová was visiting. Olga [Havlová] was kind of suspicious and would go outside to have a look. She thought it was strange that we had been driving by just like that, we rang the bell and came to Hrádeček. That we just hadn´t been checked when the [police] booth was there...So Václav Havel said, 'If I don't have any other dissident duties, I'll come.'"

  • "Those people almost didn't believe their own ears, because they could tell by Havel's voice that he was really Václav Havel. When he came down from the stage, people were coming to him and wanted him to sign their IDs, banknotes, papers and everything. The State Security guy was totally [bemused]... and I said to this Púčala: "What did he say wrong? He didn't say anything'... And he said: 'It doesn´t matter, Václav Havel just appeared in public here!' So I thought, so what ... But because all the documents were signed by Honza Hammer, so Honza Hammer went to State Security interrogation. I was living in Prague at the time and he actually was on the receiving end of it. I'm sorry that Honza got the worst of it like that, because he had... he has had health problems to this day. The pressure by State Security men, actually... I would just put it behind me, I was really quite careless at that time, but Honza didn't have the same character. I still feel guilty about it to this day."

  • "And Jirka Choun came up with the idea: 'Let's make a big festival, where more people will arrive, we will collect a higher entrance fee and we will have money to run the club during the year when people from Prague cannot come. Because now we make one Karel Plíhal concert and twenty people come, or Jaromír Nohavica and thirty people come, because only people from Světlá [nad Sázavou ] and Havlíčkův Brod come.' So that's how Folk Lipnice came into existence, that we would do a festival to have money to run the club during the year."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 15.08.2022

    duration: 02:29:58
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 30.08.2022

    duration: 01:16:27
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The public appearence of dissident Václav Havel after 19 years was an immediate idea at the Folk Lipnice festival

Jarmila Poláková, recording for Memory of Nations, August 2022
Jarmila Poláková, recording for Memory of Nations, August 2022
photo: Memory of Nations

Jarmila Poláková was born on 26 November 1956 in Cheb, where she grew up until she was ten years old. In 1966, she and her family moved to the countryside - both her parents were office workers in agriculture and members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. They lived for more than a year in the Dvůr Králové region and then in southern Bohemia. In 1976 the witness graduated from the Secondary Technical School in Písek and also participated in a Pioneer group activities. From 1977 she studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague and within the university scholarship programme she left to Ledeč nad Sázavou to work at the KOVOFINIŠ company. There, in cooperation with the film club, which existed under the patronage of the company’s Socialist Youth Union group, they organised concerts of folk performers. From 1984 to 1988 she prepared the repertoire of the Folk Lipnice (Songs for Peace) festival. Together with her husband Vladimír Hanzel, they initiated the invitation of the dissident Václav Havel, who at the music festival made his first public appearance in 19 years. Since 1988 she has worked for the music publishing company Panton and since 1991 she has been running the production company Film & Sociology and has co-produced several films by Pavel Koutecký, including the documentary film Citizen Havel (Občan Havel). In December 2022 she was living in Prague.