Rudolf Vévoda

* 1964  

  • “Well, I knew he was in custody. Jaroslav Šabata came home to tell me that. That was nice. He rang - and it was a bit unexpected because we used to see each other in the cafes - and he sais: 'Rudolph, hello, I'm glad to see you.' And I said: ´Jaroslav, glad to see you too.´ He replied: 'I don't say it just like that; two people were detained in the Beskydy Mountains near the border, one of them is Peter (Pospíchal) and we do not know the other. So at least I know it's not you.‘ So we knew that and they were individually picking people from Peter's circuit. One day the bell rang and it was the day I didn't have any school lessons, so I was at home. I opened the door. 'State security, take your papers and come with us!' They put me in a car and we went to Brno. We were silent, and suddenly one of the policemen said, 'You don't even ask why we came for you?' So I was silent for a while, and then I said, 'Well, why then?' - ´You learn everything.´”

  • “I leave disputes over the word totalitarian; I leave it aside. It was normalization, as some say a kind of tired totalitarianism. Terror was not all over. What came out and came to light about the founding period of the communist regime... So I thought to myself: Damn, if at at the age of twenty-one - if it was not 1985 but 1955 – if I had been doing what I do, I would have gone to Jáchymov and get twenty-five years, if not worse. The horror jumped out of it, and so I began to perceive that the free world was much more based on respect for human freedom and freedom of expression. That was one thing, and the other was that I began to perceive religious freedom much more intensely.”

  • „The Poles had a huge trauma. I remember when Adam Michnik almost tore his shirt into pieces in Warsaw in the summer of 1987 and said: 'I was in prison back in August 1968. I wanted to commit suicide when I learned that my parents went there…‘ Till now it sounds in my ears as he told me. It was really a trauma for them and they wanted to atone for it, and maybe they like us better than we do, because they feel such a debt there. It has shown itself a few years ago at the Wroclaw championship, where many Czechs began to think deeper about the Poles. We won over them and now there were groups of Polish fans and shouted, 'Nothing happened!' I think it was good in that respect and it shows exactly the relationship they have with us.”

  • “He (Petr Pospíchal) was primarily trying, like any dissident representative, to expand some space of freedom and narrow the space for the Bolsheviks. Few had any clear idea of how history would evolve. It was actually interesting that as I talked about the trip to Prague, it was around June or July 1985, so I experienced first serious discussion there, just between Miloš Rejchrt and Miluška Šustrová about how much hope and confidence to put to Gorbachev. This, in my opinion, proved to be very crucial and actually what happened in the Soviets had an immediate impact. But this anyone could hardly imagine that it would all go this direction back in the 1955. In any case, the aim was to limit the rate of repression by drawing attention to it. On the contrary, the aim was to expand the scope for free initiatives. And Poland was suddenly starting to seem like a very interesting and powerful player in this process.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 26.07.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:40:32
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 31.07.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:33:00
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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Student connection of the Brno-Warsaw branch of solidarity

Rudolf Vévoda in 1984
Rudolf Vévoda in 1984
photo: archiv pamětníka

Rudolf Vévoda was born on July 27, 1964 in Třebíč. He grew up in Brno, where he graduated from grammar school in Cpt. Jaroše. He read a lot and was interested in history and after graduation he started to study at the Faculty of Philosophy of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Brno, where he studied Czech language and history. During his studies he became a practicing Christian. He became a member of the Saint Gorazd Association, with which under a strict conspiration he went around churches and various events with a band of chants coming from the Eastern Liturgy and reading from legends. After getting to know Petr Pospíchal, he got into the group of Charter 77 signatories and became friends with Jaroslav Šabata. He himself sought contacts and meetings with representatives of the Catholic dissent, including Josef Zvěřina, František Lízna, Otto Mádr and Josef Adámek. Together with Petr Pospíchal, they were at the foundation of the Brno-Warsaw branch of Polish-Czechoslovak Solidarity. He was interrogated several times by the State Security. He contributed to samizdat magazines, such as the Moravian Community. He graduated in December 1988 and on March 1, 1989 enlisted for basic military service. After six weeks of pretending health problems, however, he was released and decided to live in Prague, where he worked primarily with Tomáš Dvořák from the Independent Peace Association and lived through the end of the communist regime.