Mgr. Michal Šaman

* 1965  

  • “As they proposed that in an assembly hall I didn't know what I should do. I was uncertain and a bit scared... I didn't know how to react. So I went to see my Czech teacher from the grammar school, who had been teaching at the Faculty of Education at that time, Dr Staněk, I knocked on his door and I said? 'Do you know what's going on?' He said: 'Yes.' And I said: 'They want me to join the strike committee and they want me to be it's leader.' Well, and I liked what he did. He didn't try to manipulate me, he just looked at me and said: 'Michal, what should I say? Look, in 1968 we got beaten so we are afraid. So just go and let your heart decide.' And at that moment I knew I was going to accept the offer.”

  • “After it calmed down a bit I dared to speak. And immediately I found out how it worked. So as the bad cop stopped yelling at me that I would end up in Bory prison, I tried to ask the good one. I told him: 'Well we do have a dean's day today but we still have to attend. So I wouldn't like to be absent...' And it was a chilling moment. As it was more than all the books. As one of my teachers would teach us later: he who didn't experience such a thing, who didn't feel it, could never understand. That smile of his and that gesture he made... He pick up the phone and said: 'Hi, Zdeněk,' - that was Zdeněk Maced, a vicedean at the Faculty of Education – on such a good term with the State Security – 'we have here this student of yours. You will excuse him, won't you?' - 'Sure.' - 'Thanks, stay well, honour to work.' - 'You are excused.' It was unbelievable how they would show you the unlimited power they had. Show you that you were nothing.”

  • “A classic interrogation scenario: a good cop and a bad cop. And this one was the good one. He told me that I was at the literary evening and asked me what my intention was. I told him: 'There was no intention. It's my profession and my life in fact.' He said: 'And do you know that some of the things were... Why did you spread something like that? My answer was: 'I didn't spread anything. It was an official literary evening, so I gave the material to people who were interested so they could read it.' He said: 'And are you aware that some of those things may be harmful?' I said: 'Which ones?' He took my notebook, looked inside and said: 'What about this, as this our unappreciated author writes that every time there is a volcano explosion, the first thing that would fall out from the Red Right (Rudé Právo Newspaper) is culture? Do you mean that the Communist Party doesn't care about culture?' I said: 'Well, that culture is like Cinderella. As you would hear such things, right? Come on, perestrojka is here.' So I was teasing them for a while. They couldn't get me. And as they didn't know what to do, this man came – I don't know his name – this short, red-faced fatso who started yelling at me that I was there for three hours already and he would be done with me in no time. And I said: 'And what do you want from me? To denounce something? I don't know why should I denounce anything.' Of course I knew how it was meant to be understood, but there were no explicit statements like: 'Just fuck them' or 'they are criminals.' There was nothing like that. So I told them: 'You are asking me what my opinion is, so I suppose that it is my right to share my opinion with you.' After that the short one become furious and said: 'That's your right, but you better stop fucking with me! Stop babbling about those nice feelings of yours and books and all, and just answer my questions or I will show you my rights!' And I said: 'Which rights?' He said: 'I will lock you up in Bory prison for the next twenty-four hours, and after that you will yield and sign everything I want, and your studies will be over. You will do a military service and after that you will end with a shovel! That's my right!”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Plzeň, 23.08.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:24:03
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
  • 2

    Plzeň, 28.08.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:19:03
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
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In the end it’s your soul and what’s in it that will decide

Michal Šaman, a portrait
Michal Šaman, a portrait
photo: archiv pamětníka

Michal Šaman was born on December 6th 1965 in Pilsen (Plzeň). His parents got divorced, and while he had a strong relationship with his mother till the day she died, he hasn’t been able to form a bond with his father. When he was three and half years old, the family moved to Nemanice in Domažlice region with his first stepfather where his brother was born. When he was seven years old they had to move again, this time to Nový Kramolín in the same region. After that the family had been living in Ostrov nad Ohří where Michal finished a gymnasium type secondary school, passing his leaving exams in 1984. After that, he started to study at the Faculty of Eduaction in Pilsen, focusing on elementary school teaching and physical education. Even later, he changed his major to literature, of which he had been dreaming of, and he also took civics lessons. After he attended an officially permitted literary evening in T-Klub in Ostrov nad Ohří and had been distributing materials made in its course, he was interrogated by the State Security men. This – as well as troubled family relationships – was the reason why he had to repeat a year at the university. On May 6th 1989 he attended an illegal gathering – commemorating the liberation by the U.S. troops – at Náměstí Míru (A Peace Square) in Pilsen. Right after November 17th 1989 he was elected a leader of the strike committee of the Faculty of Education and helped organize the 1989 student strike in Pilsen. He attended series of protests that he helped to co-ordinate. After graduating he had been teaching at Masarykovo gymnázuim, a s´grammar school in Pilsen, and from 1997 to 2010, he was doing business. After that he had been working as a caretaker at a nursing home and he also was a therapist, a job that nowadays he has been engaged in full-time.