Lumír Sokol

* 1959  †︎ 2021

  • “You could see liberalisation of the society, that something was coming, it started with Germany and so on, I think that it must have been heading towards it; or at least during the historically last phase, let us say during three quarters of the year or during the last year, also considering the situation in the world, in Europe and in Eastern Europe. So, as I say I was not very surprised by it, however one could never be sure. It was not sure that it would end like this. When I and Milan Vít went from the first meetings during the first days of Civic Form, the Volga cars were still driving around us and we said goodbye in the following way: ‘Look Milan, if we don´t see each other, it was worth it, we at least got here.‘ It was the week before the government fell, so it was not sure, the tanks could have come, we did not know it yet. That is why we said good bye like that, they could have killed us somewhere in front of the wall. It was not sure. These ways, everyone thinks that it was nothing but it is not truth. It was really scary. And when the government fell, well, sir, all of sudden there were so many people who actively started to participate in activities, there had not been so many of us before just to put the record straight. These were not mass activities. Or the activities were mass, however, everyone was going with the flow and only few people would have had problems eventually. That is my opinion on it. But I was satisfied at the beginning. All of sudden, one could... I got a passport, I immediately went to Italy, to Bibione to see it there; oh boy, that was something, I would not go there again. So, simple pleasures like this started but there were also more worries and mainly the problem that one lost their enemy. One lost someone who was very clearly defined and whom he could stand against. And politics started. There were Civic Forum and various parties, Mr. Klaus and other issues connected with politics and what should one stand against now when he spent his whole life opposing something.”

  • “But I remember it because I went through a huge experience when we were going from Černá za Bory quarter to my grandmother´s in Slovany quarter which is a quarter in Pardubice and Polish soldiers were lying in the forest, they were Polish Armed Forces not the Russian ones as I later read somewhere. And they had entrenched tanks, various armed vehicles and guards on the road. And my dad, who absolutely hated them as he basically went through trauma in 1968, shook his fist at them. I still remember his words. I and my sister were riding bikes and he shook his fist at them: ‘Guys, you´ll pay for this, you´ll pay for this!‘ and the soldiers were staring. Well, and when he was telling it to mum at home, she was not excited. She was saying: ‘They could have shot you!‘ Which they could. You can´t say if they could or could not. Then we as small boys heard somewhere that it was necessary to make orientation as difficult as it was possible for them. So, we turned the road signs in the village of Staročensko.”

  • “We then returned back because they dispersed or forbade it, a State Security officer arrived from Náchod with the mayor and it was the end of the event. So, we went to Chvaletice, Lucie or Alice band was performing there, I think that it was already Lucie band and they said what had happened and that a strike was being prepared. So, we arrived in Pardubice, it was Sunday and nothing was going on and the first events were on Monday. I went to work and Civic Forum was founded but only on Tuesday, we were at the statue of Lenin in front of the theatre on Monday and a group of people put me and Milan on a dustbin to say that we knew about it; so, we said what we knew about it; well, and Civic Forum was founded the following day, I was at work in the printing company, so I went there and that is how I became a founder of a coordination centre of Civic Forum. Well, and the work there was ... Well, it was interesting; the beginning was interesting because they threw us out of the theatre, then we went to a Mrs. Karásková behind the theatre where Civic Forum was as it is not completely true that theatre actors supported us, not really, they simply threw us out, they even did not provide us with sound system, I had to get it from rehearsal room of Oscar Band along with the bassist Míra Novák and we actually used it for the two first meetings in front of the theatre. Well, and then I became a member of the coordination committee, I was in charge of culture and creation of a new culture concept that... Well, the culture of that time did not mean anything, it was created only now after thirty years. But it was interesting, I and Franta Vít went to Milan Vít, Franta´s brother, who was my former boss in the printing company and who was a director in gallery, and the coordination centre was there and it moved to LTC tennis club later on. So, the work consisted in taking over materials, declarations and signature sheets from various Civic Forums, and they were archived, however I still wonder where all the documents are now. The thing is that nobody knows it.”

  • “We built the sound system, lights, everything. We had the records, we put it on one disc as a programme, or we cut it from three tape recorders where we divided the records using pieces of paper because the technologies were not good at that time, you put it inside now and it is done, right Well and we organized it in Dubina in Dubinský Forest or in U Capoušků pub in Pardubice. Basically, [we organized it] in these two places. They did not allow us to be elsewhere and they wanted to make money there, so they did and as a matter of fact they let us do what we wanted.” - “Did it mean rebellion or fun for you or both?” - “Both. Well, we of course enjoyed it and on the other hand one met there many people and talked with them about issues that were interesting for him, such as Charter was at that time as we started to do it after 1978, 1979.”

  • “We did not have problems, on the contrary, we just differentiated ourselves from the greyness by wearing [long] hair and haversacks in Big beat era, the more ripped the better, and of course by wearing Super [rifle] jeans, not Wrangler ones but the Super ones because they looked more like Big beat ones; well, it was fun. But it made sense because one differentiated himself from the greyness of the society and the greyness was really there. There weren´t many possibilities.”

  • “That is the question. It is actually a very broad issue. It is rather an issue connected with feelings. It includes dandies, [issues] of dandies, of fellowship, of friendships, as well as of making opinion on world, on everything. It means [opinion] on art, music, politics, on what is happening in the world. To revise my own opinions, not to change the basic principle of my thinking but to learn my lesson and not to let new things, new trends enter me but to continue being in underground - it means to approach issues from my point of view, not to let issues influence me the way media of different parties, which I do not agree with even though I respect their opinions, do it now. That is as a matter of act underground for me.”

  • “One interrogation was followed by the other after the events; I organized let say from three to five events in a year. It was not so possible back then, so I did those twenty, twenty-five events [in total], and most of them were followed by the arrival of comrades to work on Monday, the Volga car stood there and they were announcing via a loudspeaker: ‘Comrade Sokol, come to the reception.‘ Well, it was very clear to me what was happening so I smeared myself with soot so that they could see that I really worked hard for military production and for comrades. So, they seated me in the Volga car and they either took me away or the interrogation took place in Volga or in the booth that was in the reception or I got a summon. It was no use to hinder it in any way. Basically, it was better to go there.”

  • “There was one big advantage - I had access to printing presses and a Minolta copier machine. The Minolta copier machine may not seem as much nowadays because these days you come and can copy anything anywhere. It was not easy to make a high-quality copy at that time and in 1986 or 1987 it was one of two or three Minolta copier machines. Those were big machines where you could copy whole books and everything. I got information on Charter so I made ten copies and we handed them out during the events. However, it was risky, they were after me because I worked in the printing company and I was at source but it never leaked. When we printed materials for Charter, I arranged it with Milan Vítek and he bought paper and when they brought it, we put it to Volga that went there and the print started.”

  • “It does not look like it today but to spend ten, fifteen or even twenty-four hours at the Secret Police station, one could not know if they would come back, one could remember the 1950s when it of course was not like that. Credit where credit's due to everyone who survived the 1950s and tried to rebel against the Establishment, against communists. That is for sure. On the other hand, I would like to say that considering underground or the reason why, we definitely started to wear long hair and to rebel already at elementary school where they forced us to cut our hair two centimetres above the collar which we refused to respect and the first problems started there. It was horrible at our school, I mean at the vocational school. They even gave us money to have our hair cut. We of course took the money and went to a pub and had a fried cheese and two beers there.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Pardubice, 11.10.2018

    duration: 32:49
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 30.09.2019

    duration: 02:21:16
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Underground is still alive

Lumír Sokol and his band Oscar band
Lumír Sokol and his band Oscar band
photo: archiv pamětníka

Lumír Sokol was born on the 9th of December 1959 in Pardubice. His father and namesake Lumír (Lubomír) Sokol signed Charter 77 and arranged an access to samizdat literature for his son. The witness faced problems connected with long hair already at elementary school and after his return from military service he got involved in activities of underground in Pardubice for good. He started a band Oscar Band (1985) and organized concerts of so called second wave of underground. He faced several interrogations by State Security because of his approaches and organizational activities. He worked in a printing company since 1986 and he secretly copied samizdat literature there. He was in touch with leading representatives of underground and dissidents, he visited Václav Havel in his cottage in Hrádeček. He was prosecuted because of an incident with State Security officers during a concert in Rosice in 1987 and he got a suspended sentence. He participated in origin of Civic Forum in Pardubice during November 1989 and he was one of the founders of Pardubice Independent agency (PANAG) and he founded Radio Panag rock radio, he also founded and run Žlutý pes rock club (1992) and Ponorka club (1999). He got a Commemorative badge of a participant in anti-communist opposition and resistance in 2017. Lumír Sokol died on 24 March 2021.