Ing. Marek Šlechta

* 1961  

  • “After I was kicked out from the military department because I failed to complete my military training, I said to myself that I will quit the SSM (Socialist Youth League). Being in the SSM was key to any kind of life in those days. Everyone was a member. So I went to the SSM offices at the university where I encountered a young lady, a functionary of the organization. I told her that I no longer want to be in the SSM. She did not believe me. I asked again what I should do to quit the organization. She did not move, just sat there breathing. I was at the offices for ten minutes or so and she did not even move a muscle. So I left.”

  • “I was interested in everything that was off limits. If someone had books or records, for example Slade or Deep Purple, of course, everyone else wanted them. We listened to Radio Luxembourg. It was amazing. I had a mic and old tape recorder and I recorded songs even though the authorities scrambled the radio reception. Why they scrambled Radio Luxembourg I have no idea. Later I would joyfully play the songs.“

  • “My parents had an agreement with my teacher Ms Ulrichová, whom I am deeply indebted to, that I didn’t need to attend school on Saturdays. Each time I had to bring in a note signed by my parents that I won’t be coming to school due to serious circumstances. The first year it was every Saturday and the following year it was every other Saturday. Later it was no longer an issue. Once I forgot to give her the note and brought it in on the following Wednesday and she reproached me about it. This is what I remember.”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 12.03.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:56:02
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 05.04.2018

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    duration: 01:19:06
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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I refused to carry out my military service duties on Saturdays because of my faith. This was major trouble.

Marek Šlechta during a music performance in Prague, 1982
Marek Šlechta during a music performance in Prague, 1982
photo: archiv pamětníka

Marek Šlechta was born on April 19, 1961 in Pardubice. His parents were Seventh-day Adventists and raised their son in their faith. Seventh-day Adventists do not go to school or work on Saturdays. Šlechta had problems because Saturday was a school day and a working day during his early youth. Saturdays became part of the weekend before he graduated from a gymnasium and the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Brno University of Technology. While there, he refused to participate in training exercises that were part of his compulsory military service while at school. The military department of the university did not accredit his service and Šlechta was threatened with the proposition of two years military service after graduation. He went to work in a mine near Karviná because miners were exempt from military service at the time. Šlechta studied the English language and met with other persons of faith while he worked at the mines. He was interested in Judaism and everything related to Israel. After the November revolution in 1989 he reached his full potential, skills and knowledge. Šlechta worked in management and also traveled. A health condition led to an early retirement. He dedicates his time to music and Holocaust studies.