Zdeněk Štěpán

* 1939

  • "Because it was still warm, I went to work on a motorbike. In the morning I turned on the radio and there I heard Diensbier, who at that time was the supreme head of the youth union. His rhotacism. He said there were tanks here and I thought it was some kind of radio play. But somehow it didn't fit. I was thinking about it on the way to work on my motorbike. There can't be a radio play in the morning. I arrived at Vétřní and there was already panic that we were being occupied. The next day they arrived, the tanks were driving the curbs on the sidewalks. They were making spiteful things. That was not good. He was quite afraid of what would happen, because we were establishing the Workers' Council in Větřní, and then the policemen and I were reversing the turn signals on the streets. I was famous and I was afraid that those communist enthusiasts would slap me when they liquidated someone. In the evening I sat by the window in the dark and waited to see what would happen. And luckily it turned out well. Well, well, I got fired from my job at Větřní."

  • "Dad found out that many young policemen with communist ID were appearing at the police already in 1947, so he reported this to MP Neuman, who was a hostage in Terezín during the war, and we supplied their family with flour and butter , which we obtained in Čtyři Dvory. Because my father, as a traffic policeman, knew when the German military police would be on the Long Bridge, and when they weren't there, my mother and I went to Čtyrák on our bikes. There was a semi-detached house by the old Pilsen railway line, where we bought flour, butter, and milk. At that we picked grass for rabbits on a bag and brought it home. In the evening, the Neumanns came. Mrs. Neumannová and they had a daughter, Alena, and a son, Olík, and they put it in their bag at our home in Klavíkovka. That's how we supplied them, so we were quite friends with them. Dad trusted him and reported it. He wanted Neumann to let MP Horáková know. But then it turned out that Neuman had already agreed with the Communist Party that he would be a minister and he was simply betraying it, and that's why it broke on Dad. And he was fired from the police after February, right at the beginning of March."

  • "My friends from Klavíkovka suddenly had such nice burnt wooden turtles, legs on wires. I asked them where they got it. "Buy some bread at the Kazka place around the corner and take it to the barracks and they'll give you a turtle for it." Mom gave me the food tickets and I bought the bread. There was a bakery behind the pawn shop. Then I ran alone to Mariánské náměstí. There are bars in the ground-floor windows to this day in Husovka. And there in that window were maybe 10 hands with those turtles. I suddenly realized that I only have one loaf of bread. Into which hand to put it. I somehow solved it. What matters is the terrible difference, those clean Americans, well fed. Their supplies were everything from fruit to meat, and the Russians were in a bad shape. There, as a small child, I realized that for one side, a person has a huge value, and for the other half, a person is nothing at all."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Český Krumlov, 12.05.2022

    duration: 41:50
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    České Budějovice, 20.10.2022

    duration: 01:25:58
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 3

    Český Krumlov, 15.11.2022

    duration: 49:43
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

For one party, a person has a huge value, for the other half, a person is nothing at all

Zdeněk Štěpán, a graduation photo, 1957
Zdeněk Štěpán, a graduation photo, 1957
photo: Archive of the witness

Zdeněk Štěpán was born on November 28, 1939 in České Budějovice. The witness’s father, Augustin Štěpán, worked as a policeman in Český Krumlov until 1948. After the communist coup in February 1948, he was fired from the police, after which he could only do manual work. As a five-year-old, Zdeněk Štěpán experienced the bombing in České Budějovice. In May 1945, he witnessed the arrival of American soldiers and Red Army troops in České Budějovice. After finishing secondary technical school in 1957, he applied to the Military Technical Academy (VTA) in Brno, where he was not accepted because of his father. He completed university later while working and became a mechanical engineer. He was fired from his job in Papírny in Větřní in 1969 for his anti-occupation opinion and activities. Due to his expertise, he found employment in České Budějovice, where he worked until 1989. He actively participated in the Velvet Revolution in Český Krumlov. He ran in the first post-revolutionary free elections and was a member of the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA). Between 1990 and 1993, he worked as deputy mayor of Český Krumlov. In 2022, he lived with his wife Eva Štěpánová (née Soukupová) in Český Krumlov.