"Pro to obvinění, které vznesli, nebyli schopni najít nějaký skutečný paragraf, na který by to mohli nasadit, aby mne mohli odsoudit. Pořád proto hledali další možnosti, takže chodili po těch lidech a ptali se, jestli mají ty fotografie a sbírali je od nich. A vždycky se ptali – protože jsem četl ty jejich zápisy – co mi za ty fotografie dávali? Jestli mi dávali peníze. Protože to považovali za možné obvinění, že jsem se obohacoval. A oni odpovídali: My jsme mu dali vajíčka, jablka, brambory... Nikdy jsem po nich nechtěl peníze, protože to bylo přátelské fotografování. No tak ani tak nebyli schopni najít nic, čím by mě mohli nějak diskriminovat..."
"Ale dozvěděl jsem se zajímavé věci. Nebyl jsem podezřelý jen proto, že jsem vyfotil vojáka, ale – a to jsem se dozvěděl až od něho – byl jsem podezřelý, že jsem západní špion, který dělá fotografie pro Německo a mám kontakty se západem a všechno předávám dalším rozvědkám a tak dále."
"Já bych řekl, že se mohu charakterizovat jako jednotka naivity. Protože jsem neměl zkušenosti a vypěstovanou obezřetnost politického charakteru. Takže jsem šel do souvislostí s naivní představou, že by se něco mělo změnit. A s tímto pohledem jsem začal vytvářet fotografické soubory. I když jsem byl pedagog, učitel, tak vznikaly soubory na které se hledělo jako na téměř protistátní. Protože v té době, kdo chtěl vystavovat, tak umělecká tvorba se rekrutovala z toho, aby byla nezávadná pro režim. A já jsem si dovolil režim trochu demaskovat a ukazovat vesnický život realistickým způsobem."
“In 1956 we had to move to the border region, to a small village called Těchanov. The reason for this was that my father mentioned the birthday of president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. They only let him finish teaching his class and they told him: ‘You will either got to work to a factory, or you will go to the border region and teach there.’ My father chose the second option, and we thus found ourselves in the foothills of the Jeseníky Mountains in the small village Těchanov where father continued in his work as a teacher.”
“I considered these photographs which I was taking to be ordinary photographs, because they realistically depicted the way of life in that village. I didn’t regard them as defamatory or aimed against the regime. When I was invited for an exhibition in Prague, I thus displayed them there and presented them as my work. But the secret police came to the exhibition even before its opening and they became interested in these photographs and the exhibition had been closed even before it could start.”
“The secret police came to the exhibition which was held in Prague. They did not discuss anything with me, they confiscated my photographs and they closed the exhibition. I went home in the evening. The following day I went to take some photos as usual, photos of ordinary life. The day after I was at home and somebody rang the bell early in the morning. I went to open the door and the house was surrounded by secret police. When I opened the door, they started a house search which took thirteen hours. They turned the house upside down, including the coal in the cellar. They also searched the school in Jiříkov where I taught. When they were finished, they handcuffed me and they drove me to Prague and put me to a preliminary detention cell. Twenty-four hours later I was transported to the prison in Ruzyně. I spent about four months there.”
The secret police came to the exhibition and confiscated my photographs
Jindřich Štreit was born September 5, 1946 in Vsetín. He grew up in Střítež in the Moravian Walachia region where his father worked as a teacher. In 1956, Jindřich’s father was penalized by being transferred to the small village Těchanov in the Bruntál district and the family moved there. Jindřich Štreit graduated from the grammar school in Rýmařov and then from the Pedagogical Faculty of Palacký University in Olomouc, where he majored in primary school education and arts education. He worked as a teacher at a school in Rýmařov and later as a principal at schools in Sovinec and Jiříkov. He became interested in photography while he was a university student and he was photographing life in the village and exhibiting his works. Jindřich was arrested by the Security Police in 1982 for his documentary photographs and he was detained in the prison in Prague-Ruzyně for four months. The district court in Prague 7 sentenced him to conditional sentence of imprisonment for ten months with a trial period of two years for the criminal offence of defamation of the republic and the head of state. He was not allowed to continue working as a teacher and after the court verdict he also got fired from his job in the District Pedagogical Library in Bruntál. Jindřich found employment as a dispatcher at the State Farm in Ryžoviště where he then continued working until 1990. The communist regime forbade him to publish and exhibit his works. Only after the Velvet Revolution he became allowed to work publicly, travel, hold exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad and publish books. In 1990-2003 he lectured at the Department of Photography of Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Music and Drama in Prague. From 1991 until 1994 he worked as an external teacher at the Department of Visual Media of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. From 1991 he has been teaching at the Institute of Creative Photography of the Faculty of Arts and Nature Sciences of the Silesian University in Opava.