Miroslava Tupá

* 1963  

  • “Drahomíra recorded her story about a student lying in the street. I don't know what she told them. I guess that the Paynes gave me some bread. That I could feed myself at least. Anička Šabatová came, I guess it was after Dana left, or maybe she was still there? Anička Šabatová came, no, this is how it went. Petr Payne took this tape by Dražská and brought it to Anička. Then they would listen to it at home I guess. Anička came with the tape, I would say, I don't know if she met Dana Dražská. I remember Anička asking me: 'Do you believe her?' That was quite an important question. Petr and Anička were deciding whether they should run the story. Petr and Anička were deciding if Dražská could be trusted, if she was credible. Well she was credible but also vague and she didn't answer some of the questions. So the situation was quite difficult. And my answer to this question was: 'I don't know.' But right after that I said: 'Why would she make up something like that?' So they would run the story in the end, and Petr Uhl was arrested for scaremongering, which was bad, as you could end up in prison for quite a few years with this charge.”

  • “I was exhausted, so I made myself coffee, this ersatz coffee with milk. And as I would sit down, a phone would ring, Paetr Payne was calling. He was attending a seminary in Mikovicova street, a seminary for theology students with someone from abroad. Petr Payne asked me who did I know about Martin Šmíd's demise. I told him I met Dana. So he said: 'Could you come, come right away.' So I got up and went to see him and I met Petr Hampl and his friend, a ČVUT student. I told him: 'Lets go visit the Payne family.' So they went with me, and we met Mrs and Mr Šorm. Students leaving their flat were spreading the rumor of the killing of a student, Martin Šmíd. I would sit down and Petr brought Anička Šabatová. Then I would tell them about the police intervention and they would record it. After that, Payne asked where Dana was. So at seven o'clock we went to where Dražská had been working and we took her with us.”

  • “It was around 10 AM when Dana Dražská called me, I didn't even finish my breakfast. She said she wanted to see me. So we agreed on meeting – I am not sure whose idea it was – we agreed on meeting during her check-up at the hospital. I offered to accompany her to Karlovo Square so she could see me. She took the underground from Jižní Město. I got in at Pražského Povstání station, we were to meet there at 10 AM. I got into a train from which she got out at Pavlák. We went to Pavlák. And at Pavlák, as we headed towards the hospital, on the main street right next to that secondhand bookstore, she said there was something she needed to tell me, that there was a student who died there. Tears started running down my cheeks. She was quite calm, she would even light up a cigarette. I was quite surprised how calm she was. I said? 'A friend of yours? Did you know him?' She said she didn't know him so well. And from that moment, she became evasive.”

  • “We got out at Karlovo Square, we went to the hospital, there was an emergency. We got there after 10 PM, so the wounded were already being treated there. That was something, this dark corridor, all silent, just nurses running back and forth, letting us know they were on our side. That was just beautiful. We would whisper, as we felt the gravity of it all, that those people were indeed beaten and injured. And that their injuries could be so serious, that they could be affected for their whole lives, that there could be serious after effects. That's what you were talking about while ago, while asking me what did I feel as I saw wounded people. I saw them at this place and I felt that it was quite a horrible thing for sure.” - “Tel me about Drahomíra, how did she behave? Did she looked like her abdomen hurts?” - “She kept holding her stomach, she would sit there. And I went with her. There were these two young people holding each other, covered in dust from head to toe. We asked them how come they were so dusty. They would just nod their heads, telling us they don't know. Maybe they got so dirty as they were rolling there in the street in all this rubbish. On the right, there was a room where an unconscious man was lying on just an ordinary table. That was quite weird, as these four guys carried him on a plank, so he could go for an X-ray or so. I didn't talk about it, as it looked like a scene from some novel by Kafka, this young man lying on the table unconscious, then being carried away by four civilians, four boys, so he could be examined. Later I found out from Lída Rakušanová, from her memoirs, that there was some young journalist who was unconscious. So I guess it was him.”

  • “But I couldn't stop thinking about internal bleeding, as I knew it could be quite serious. So I asked Peter if we could go back and take her with us. So I went back and those girls were already leaving. I told her we would take her to the hospital. And just for a second, she would look at a man who was sitting next to her, it didn't make much sense. And he would just nod slightly, like with his eyes, as: 'Sure.' I almost didn't notice that, but the following year, in March, I saw this photo of Zifčák in a newspaper, and I dare to say there was a certain similarity. But I couldn't be a hundred percent sure, of course.” - “Just this little detail. You were saying: Dana Dražská. You mean Drahomíra?” - “I knew her as Dana, she introduced herself as Dana, but her name was Drahomíra Dražská.” - “One more thing. You don't remember much from that evening. So it's quite strange you remembering such a detail like someone sitting next to Drahomíra nodding. Couldn't you just create this memory, as you were trying to interpret the situation? Are you sure?” - “I am sure. No, it's just my intuition. But, well, ask Dana Dražská.” - “So are you sure, or is it just your intuition?' - “I don't know. I am sure, but she is the only one who can corroborate that.” - “When you saw Drahomíra Dražská for the first time, on the pavement, what was your impression of her?” - “She looked like this girl who had no problem claiming she was ill during a physical education lesson, so she wouldn't have to exercise.”

  • "And before that, or maybe it was later, I went to the other side towards the National Theatre. There I stood face to face with this group of men who were brought to intervene. It's quite interesting that nowadays no one pays much attention to them. That was the most dangerous moment, but at the same time, it was quite an experience, to be confronted with the Red Berets units with training in hand to hand combat. For the first time in my life, I saw someone who looked like a human being, yet he wasn't one. As they all had this similar face expression, there was emptiness in them, like nothingness. Later someone claimed they were on drugs, that there was some chemistry involved. But I don't agree with that. It seemed to me that their personalities had been twisted somehow, that they were different, in quite a bad way. I stood in front of them and it was quite scary. You could feel the vibes, there was violence in the air, you could anticipate something was going to happen. It was quite intense, this quiet before the storm. We were in the front, so I started the whole thing, looking straight in their eyes without flinching, to let them know I was, that I would prevail by spirit alone. It was quite funny, as this was the only thing you could do. I think there were more people around me doing the same thing, we were looking into their eyes, into the void. It was just unforgettable, it was difficult, hard and exhausting. It was like confronting a mask with nothing underneath it.”

  • “No, no. We met again on Sunday. I tried to stay in contact with Drahomíra. I took interest in her, so I invited her, I asked her whether she wanted to come on Sunday to this mass at Topolka, where Petr Macek was preaching. I said there were nice people there and that she didn't have to hang out with this old gang of hers. And she came indeed, at 10 AM, and before mass, before this congregation at 10 AM, Anička Šabatová showed up and said we would go to the Fórum Hotel to record something with some journalist. So I said goodbye to Harriet, I would just wave at her. There were those masses being held at Topolka, I think Petr Payne attended this one. Masses dedicated to what had happened at Národní Avenue. We went to the Fórum Hotel, where we would wake up this young photojournalist. I didn't know which station he was working for. I can't remember. Dražská would sit down and tell this story into a TV camera that Martin Šmíd was dead. I was quite shocked by it. I don't, it seemed to me that... I don't know, I don't know what I was thinking to be honest. I found it quite weird she was saying he was dead, yet she refused to tell us where Martin Šmíd lived, that I found quite strange indeed.”

  • "Let's get back to that moment, on 17 November, when you met Dražská. You said that she was the kind of woman who would make things up so she wouldn't have to exercise during a physical education class. Let's get back to this question Anička Šabatová asked you. Did what Dražská was saying sound like something that could be trusted?” - “She was like this different person. Why wouldn't she be telling the truth?' - “At the beginning, you said you thought she was lying, that she was making it up.” - “It wasn't at the beginning, it came gradually. She was vague sometimes, but even when she was vague, she was able to persuade you. Like someone selling a milking machine to someone who has neither a cow nor electricity. She was able to put it in a way she would just persuade you. But that was something I realized only after it was all over, I didn't notice at that moment. First of all, if someone is slightly questionable, you take those inaccuracies as a part of his personality, as something that he or she does. You wouldn't suspect this person right away. As if he or she is telling the truth, it looks just the same. That was the case. I let myself be tricked by her. I started doubting it the moment I was telling this to Anička. So I said I didn't know. But maybe it was decisive for Anička, that it was me who brought Dana, as she probably saw me as a person she could trust, someone credible. That was the problem with the transmission of this story, that I gave credibility to this story by Dana who herself wasn't quite credible. That's something I am aware of. But I tried to be as careful as possible. I would always say: 'I don't know'. But this message 'There's a dead student' was stronger than this 'I don't know' of mine and it would just stick in people's heads. Do you follow me?”

  • Full recordings
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    Praha, 04.03.2021

    duration: 01:58:27
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    Praha, 29.06.2021

    duration: 01:54:09
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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How the rumor concerning the death of Martin Šmíd came into being. Do you believe her? - Why would she make up something like that?

Miroslava Tupá in 2021
Miroslava Tupá in 2021
photo: Paměť národa

Miroslava Tupá, née Litomiská, was born on 8 April 1963 in Prague. She came from a Protestant family, her maternal grandfather was a priest. She attended language school and graduated from grammar school. In the 1980s, she studied special education at a university. In 1989, she had been working as a teacher and an educator at a school for the visually challenged in Prague. Due to her contacts among Protestants she got involved in the dissident movement. On 17 November 1989, she took part in a protest in Prague, at Albertov and Národní Avenue, where she witnessed police action. Right after that, she met Drahomíra Dražská. Next to her, she saw a man who she would later identify – ‘with 80 percent certainty’ – as Ludvík Zifčák, a State Security officer. On Saturday, 18 November 1989, she learned from Drahomíra Dražská that during the police intervention at Národní Avenue, Martin Šmíd, a student, had died. On the same day in the evening, she witnessed Dražská assuring a couple of dissidents, Anna Šabatová and Petr Payne, that Martin Šmíd did indeed pass away. On Sunday, 19 November 1989, the State Security took her to Náměstí Míru for interrogation, together with Hana Marvanová and Anna Šabatová, but on the same day she was released. During the week after 17 November 1989, the State Security summoned her for interrogation regarding Martin Šmíd’s suspected demise, yet she refused to give a statement. She was interrogated twice even after the collapse of the totalitarian state – by the criminal police and the Military Prosecutor Office. In 2021, she had been living in Prague.