Zdeněk Slezák

* 1953  

  • "In 1968 we were with a scout unit in the autumn, five of us went, we went on a trip here around Karlštejn, Mořina, Serbia, etc. And we came back from that trip and we went here in Serbia through the quarries nearby the river of Berounka. And because they've been filming there before, I think the Arkansas Gold Diggers or something, and the barriers that prevented people from falling into the shafts down the elevators, were removed. Of course we didn't know about that, because how could we have known, and we went there, I went first with my friend, and we heard such an echo, so we came back, but the other two boys, our friends, they went there and just fell down, one was killed on the spot and the other, who was my friend, he died three days later in a hospital in Beroun."

  • "And one day we came back to the hotel like that in the evening and there we were all sitting around the table and we were tired, so we ordered some food, and next to the table we all sat and listened to the radio. From my point of view there was an idiotic play on the theme of how tanks attack Czechoslovak Radio and shooting in Prague. And I was wondering, why they're fooling around, maybe we've been through it all, May 5, the Prague Uprising and so on. So what is it that suddenly interests people? But gradually we have found out that it did not entirely deal with World War II, but it regarded the present."

  • "Grandma, a witness to the two world wars, immediately said, 'Children, we have to buy some supplies, you have to prepare for the fact that there may be a war.' So they bought some groceries, took me to the sports shop and bought me shoes there, because she said, 'Look, you're going to be this old and maybe you'll have to go somewhere, so we have to buy you good shoes for the trip.' So I had boots at the time that lasted for about twenty years, because they really were sturdy shoes at the time. So it still reminded me of that time."

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    Dobřichovice, 23.03.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 29:36
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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Listening to machine gun fire at night is no fun

Zdeněk Slezák in 2019
Zdeněk Slezák in 2019
photo: PNS

Zdeněk Slezák was born on November 13, 1953 in Prague into a medical family. He spent his childhood in the vicinity of Prague’s Eden, on the then outskirts of Prague. I went to Vladivostocká Elementary School here. He remembers mainly the period of the Prague Spring, which brought him the opportunity to enter Junák with his best friend, and the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, which he partly experienced in the Tatras and partly in Prague. The planned trip to the seasonal job of picking strawberries in the Great Britain in 1969 was no longer possible. After entering the Přípotoční grammar school, he had conflicts with a communist professor.