Mirko Veselý

* 1955

  • “My dad used to go to work at 5 a.m. because it took him a long time to travel by tram to Podbaba. I remember the bedroom door bursting open, lights being turned on, him storming in wearing a uniform. He turned on the radio and was swearing terribly which never happened before. He said there was no way he’d go somewhere in the uniform as Russians were not playing any games. And he disappeared once again. Me and my grandma went to the store to get supplies because she lived through wartime and learnt her lesson. She said times would be hard and that there might be no food. So we went to buy flour. It had calmed down over time in some way but I still recall the torn down and painted over signposts and notices. I was also fascinated by the military camps here in the fields.”

  • “The second summer camp was bizarre. The communists were already completely confident then, and we camped near Říčany, in a valley of a small creek. Twelve children in ordinary, borrowed tents. My mum was already fired from school back then because of one Bolshevik family which accused her of mingling with the scouts. She wasn’t a party member so they fired her from her teaching job. She then went to teach at a village school. We were young, enthusiastic, and wanted to carry on scouting. She said: ‘This won’t end up well. Take something to cover the notice board at least.’ Back then there was a Russian magazine called Ogoniok, and in one issue they published a large colored map of the Soviet Union. We brought it with us to our mini-camp. There was me, my brother, one other chief, and twelve boys. We were having a blast. Suddenly a shiny black Tatra car drove in and parked at the meadow. A woman from a communist family walked out along with some regional officials. They went to check upon those orgies of ours. I only had time to shout: ‘Go to the notice board and put the map on!’ The weekly program was quickly covered by that map. The delegation went for inspection through the camp. There was just a fireplace and a couple tents. On the notice board there was a piece of paper under visible under the map: ‘Dinner – Seton’s pot.’ The woman asked what it meant. I replied: ‘Comrade, it’s the same as the Gipsy pot.’ So they drove off.”

  • “The problem is that as we lived in it continuously, being a Party member was not such an excess. Today it would be different. But everyone knew who was who back then; who was an adept communist; who couldn’t be trusted. They then came to see me, telling me to join the Communist Party. I told them I had no intention to. The head of the party organization called me up, and even invited me to his place. By chance, his wife was a Pionýr chief who joined our camp as a supervisor. He told me I could work as a chief. I told him I had no interest in it and that I didn’t want to join the party. He replied that there had to be a reasoning. I told him that it was easy for me – being a scout. That’s where it ended.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 29.11.2016

    duration: 01:38:05
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 17.03.2017

    duration: 29:43
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We were scouts under the supervision of Pionýr chiefs

Mirko Veselý, 2017
Mirko Veselý, 2017
photo: autoři natáčení

Mirko Veselý was born on 11 February 1955 in Beroun. As a child he moved with his parents to Říčany. In 1968 he became a member of the 1st scout club in Říčany, called Kondoři. It was the times of the first renewal of the scout movement since the 1948 communist putsch which had the scout outlawed. As a result of the so-called normalization, in 1970 scout was abolished once again. The club in Říčany was transferred under Pionýr organization. Mirko Veselý remained a member, considering it the only way to carry on sharing scout ideals within the youth. He organized summer camps based on scout principles. Communist officials visited the events he organized, attempting to find anything they could use to prohibit him from working with children. He quit himself in 1983, tired of all the dodging and searching for sideways. Ever since graduating from a school of electrical engineering in 1974 he has been working as a recording technician in the Czech TV. While working he also managed to finish studies of editing at the Prague Film Academy. After November 1989 he took part in the restoration of the scout movement and was elected chief of the scout center in Říčany.