Marie Vaculíková

* 1925  †︎ 2020

  • “You pass the entrance exams and go into the factory. There was the impression that we were going to a school while in fact we went into noise, stench and shouting. The masters shouted and abused the workers whenever anyone stopped the belt. I had difficulties to cope. I was fragile, even psychically, nervously…”

  • “He didn’t tell Ivan Klíma and his closest friends. They only agreed who would criticise what. Vaculík didn’t tell them. He knew they would not let him. He went beyond all limits. When he was writing the statement, it was without their knowledge. The Convention had already started and he was still writing. They sent a taxi, urging him to come that it was his turn already. I asked him: ‘What is it that you are writing?’ I sensed he was rather excited. And he replied: ‘What you’ve told me for the past twenty years.’ I immediately knew that it would be dangerous. Then the taxi took him away and there was the scandal indeed.”

  • “Kriegel approached Wichterle, asking about the scientists. Everybody has stood up and commented on the situation, but the scientists kept silent. So the scientists began to think. I can only remember the name of professor Poupě and professor Kadlecová. They were doctors. They had someone else among them… they met and found out that they wouldn’t be able to put it so nicely as Vaculík has done. That they were not used to thinking in this direction, let alone write. So they invited Vaculík to Parkhotel and asked him to write it. He asked them what they wanted to have in it. They told him but then added that he knew better anyway. They gave him freedom to write. He wouldn’t have let himself be coerced anyway. Even if they had dictated something to him, he would have written it his way.”

  • “He didn’t want to have much in common with Charter 77. But it happened that Havel made him edit it, as Vaculík was an excellent editor and stylist. They met at Havel’s place, Havel, Kohout and Vaculík editing. But he did not make the text. And when they caught him with Charter 77, it was almost a comic coincidence. He went to see Zdeněk Urbánek over something. The original reason was to exchange shoes. However, Landovský arrived to see Urbánek and there was Havel too. So they took Ludvík along. They took Charter, so they were arrested. The State Police got a pretext, they made Vaculík the chief Chartist.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 03.04.2017

    duration: 02:10:18
  • 2

    Praha, 21.04.2017

    duration: 01:56:15
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 3

    Praha, 11.05.2018

    duration: 02:01:41
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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photo: PN

Marie Vaculíková, née Komárková, was born on November 25, 1925, in Spešov near Blansko. Her mother was an MP, her father worked in Zbrojovka Brno, had a function in the Sokol organisation and was a secretary of the National Socialist party. She had a sister named Miroslava, who was four years her senior. She attended the primary school in Spešov and then secondary school in Blansko. Her mother died when she was seven and her father remarried. During the war she was an apprentice in Baťa factory in Zlín, where she witnessed an U.S. raid in 1944. From here she was transferred to the factory in Zruč nad Sázavou, where she worked first as a correspondent, then as a teacher. In 1948 she moved to the frontier town of Františkov near Benešov nad Ploučnicí. Here she started her relationship with Ludvík Vaculík, whom she knew from Zlín. In 1949 she married him and gradually they had sons Martin, Ondřej and Jan. They started working in Prague as educators, Vaculík then embarked on his path of a writer, editor and journalist. Thanks to her husband, she started working for the Czechoslovakian Radio, in the 1970s, however, she had to leave and take up a job in marital counselling. It was due to her husband’s activities that the Secret Police focused on him since 1967, and it even got worse after Charter 77. Their flat was constantly bugged. In 1990s, two books of her letters to Jiří Kolář were published, followed by a book-long interview with Pavel Kosatík Já jsem oves (I am oats, 2002). Marie Vaculíková died on 16 January 2020.