Václav Vaněk

* 1926

  • "They didn't exclude; rather, they didn't accept. This is what happened. I know that students applied and that the directors took name after name and that already for some names, there was an order from the district committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia not to take them. Then those boys or pupils had to go to Jaroměř, they were accepted there and commuted. Either to Hořice or Jaroměř every day. And that in our country, they refused to take them, and that was by name. The list of those who had applied and the lists of names had already come from the district committee - 'Not to accept them."

  • "The communist district committees controlled it. I have this memory: When I was already in school as a cantor, I was alone when the phone rang, I answered it, and the local district party leader answered and said she wanted some cantor to answer the phone. I said, 'I don't know, he's not here,' like, 'Well, find him!' Such a shrill voice. 'Then look for him and get him on the phone!' That kind of order, all of a sudden, made me so angry. So I tried, I got hold of him somewhere, the director or whoever they wanted. But the tone I got over the phone threw me for a loop and taught me a lesson about what we live in."

  • "One guy, I can't remember his name, was visibly pro-German. So we were a little afraid of him. He had a military look, wore military boots, and was in class with us, so we were wary of him, and the cantors were too. He was a traitor. We ignored him, but he took it militarily. Then they didn't let him, I think, graduate; somehow, he faced some consequences I think. But he was in the classroom, so I know the cantors had to keep an eye on him. They were lecturing on Czech literature; it was in Czech, so they were on guard against him; everybody knew who he was."

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    Hradec Králové, 03.02.2022

    duration: 04:16:30
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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He had a legionnaire dad. He was kicked out of the school system by both the Nazis and the Communists.

Václav Vaněk, 40s
Václav Vaněk, 40s
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Václav Vaněk was born on 6 February 1926 in Černilov near Hradec Králové. His father, Václav, was a teacher and former legionnaire. His mother, Klára, worked in a farm cooperative. In the 1930s, they moved to Hradec Králové, where they lived through the Second World War. Václav Vaněk Sr. had to retire early. In the last year of his studies at the gymnasium, the witness had to go to forced labour in the Škoda factory. In 1945 he entered the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, majoring in English and Czech language. After the communist takeover in February 1948, his father had to go into forced retirement again. In the 1950s, his sister’s husband and brother-in-law were arrested, and both were imprisoned in the uranium mines in Jáchymov. After graduation, Václav Vaněk was placed in the Liberec region. He taught at various elementary schools for nine years, and as a non-partisan, they did not want to take him to grammar school. Thanks to his mother-in-law, however, he eventually got into the grammar school in Hradec Králové, where he stayed until his retirement. The grammar school often could not accept students for political reasons by order of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. In his spare time, he coached a women’s volleyball team. He married Jarmila Čižinská, and together they had two children. In 2022 he lived with his wife in Hradec Králové.