Tomislav Vašíček

* 1941

  • “One version that Pavel Sedlacek says about Sputniks is that we lied to the Bolshevik. In part, this is true. When we wrote somewhere that Sputniks were playing, the people who allowed the show might think it would be a party. We didn't say we played rock and roll. We translated it as a piece of rock and a croissant. So we confused them. The second opinion, which I rather hold, is that we did not want to act so that we are focused only on the West, but that we are determined to appreciate what people in Russia were doing. Back then the Sputnik was a world sensation. The Russians were the first to release something into space. So it can be seen from two sides.”

  • “In 1938 came the Victorious February. On March 15th, I think it was, Dad came home all ruined and serious. He said they took our shop. I asked him as a little boy: Who? Thieves? I know it overwhelmed Dad very much. He was lying on the couch in the living room, and there was no talk to him. He was lucky that one of his relatives was a builder. He gave him a course of engineering at an industrial school, so he got a job at Stavoprojekt in Letná, where he worked in the calculation department until 1958. That year came the reorganization. As was customary, suspicious people, that is the members of the bourgeois class, suspected that the economy was not doing as well as promised and they had to go move on the manual labour. My dad went to work from Prague to Karlovy Vary, where he worked with a shovel on the road. Later he would even go to Ostrava, doing something there.”

  • “When we made lyrics to be able to sing them publicly, they had to be allowed. So we put the lyrics for review, but we played them at a time when it wasn't decided. Now the decision has come. There was a text that was completely banned. But then there was another permitted, only one verse was struck out. People from the Chief Press Supervision sat under the podium and watched if we were singing what they were forbidden. We sang and the audience enjoyed it, because where it was forbidden, we sang la la la. The audience knew what was originally there, so what the Main Press Supervisor did not want.”

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    Praha, 24.02.2018

    duration: 02:08:48
    media recorded in project Memory of the Nation: stories from Praha 2
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Communists took dad’s business but he never complained

Tomislav Vašíček was born on December 22, 1941 in Prague. His father František Vašíček came from a very poor family and worked his way up to a textile retailer who employed 27 people and had a house in Prague - Vinohrady. After February 1948 the communists confiscated the shop and František Vašíček had to work as a laborer. Tomislav was not admitted to college after graduation due to family background. For two years he was trained as a telecommunications mechanic to prove that he was related to the working class. Thanks to this he was admitted to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague. Even before that Tomislav fell into rock and roll. He stood at the birth of the band Sputnik, which was very popular in the early 1960s, but at the same time faced a close observation of the communist censors, who personally supervised the concerts. After the break-up of the Sputnik group, he founded the Vocal Quintet of Tomislav Vašíček in 1963. In 1968 he got a job in Austria and after the August occupation he and his wife decided to stay in the West. Later they used the opportunity to pay off, which was allowed by the communist Czechoslovakia to allow people who wanted to stay abroad. But then he was struggling because the authorities did not give him permission to visit their elderly sick parents more often. He stayed permanently in Austria, became a computer specialist and worked for thirty years at IBM.