"I remember when the parade went by. But that was the afternoon one, the communist one. I don't remember the morning one. I climbed up to the window. Now I look at red flags and say, 'Mom, there's a parade.' There was a billboard in front of the theatre. We were looking right at the theatre. Now some people run out of the parade and beat up the billboard. At that point, my mom pulled me back, and I went to the other side of that apartment as it was across the tract. I wasn't allowed to leave it there."
"I go, and there is no one. It was about six-thirty. Suddenly a man comes up to me on the bridge in Sušice and starts swearing at me: 'What are you for?! How come you are not fighting?' I thought to myself that he must be drunk. I went on to the division, but there at the door, it was clear. By noon, there was already a garbage can at the division, where the officers threw the party's legitimacy cards. It was a mess. A big mess. Basically, I hadn't left the division since August 21. I've only been in the division. Frankly, they didn't know what to do with us. There were tanks around the division. Around and around. They wouldn't let anybody out. So that was the rest of my war. It was crazy... it was terrible, it was boring."
"This is one of the first memories I have. I was building a town at home, and suddenly the men in black coats came. They went to see my parents. As a child, I felt the tension. They didn't know how to walk past my town when they came. I was scared they were going to stomp on it. But then they found the square. They crossed it and went to the next room, where my parents had closed with them. From then on, I knew something wasn't quite right."
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a builder but wasn’t interested in playing soldiers or with toy cars. I was always building something
Jan Soukup was born on 6 December 1946 in Pilsen. In his childhood, he liked to build, so he wanted to be an architect from an early age. But his father was a tradesman. After February 1948, the family lost its business and bright prospects for the future. Class background thus initially played a significant role in his life. Originally he was supposed to be a bricklayer or chimney sweeper, but the relaxation of the 1960s allowed him to study at an industrial college. But he never got to university. So he began basic military service in Sušice, where he witnessed the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in the summer of 1968. He then returned to Plzeň and joined Stavoprojekt. In the first years of the emerging normalisation, he was finally allowed to study at university. At that time, he was already very interested in historical buildings, but at that time, there was almost no monument conservation. Nevertheless, he gradually managed to get to the first reconstructions of historical buildings in Pilsen. After the change of regime, he devoted himself entirely to conservation from his studio in his hometown. From there, he worked on countless projects and became one of the most sought-after experts in reconstructing historical monuments. In 2022, Jan Soukup is still doing conservation work from his studio, which is housed in the building where his father owned the family business until 1952.