PhDr. Zdeněk Zahradník

* 1955

  • "Because I was an employee of the archive in Zámrsk, I was in the category of so-called civil employees of the Ministry of the Interior. We were regular employees of the regional administration of the National Security Service (SNB) in Hradec Králové. On the one hand, it brought certain restrictions to civilian life, so when we wanted to go abroad, for example to swim in Lake Balaton, we had to ask the regional head of the SNB. It was horrible. But then they thought that since I was already employed, then they could use me more. They offered me great prospects in Zámrsk, they offered me a company scholarship, which at that time was a thousand crowns a month, which was a lot of money at the time, but the condition was that I started applying for membership in the Communist Party. And it kind of came together for me, and I thought to myself: 'I don't want to tie myself like this completely in my twenties.'"

  • “I remember exactly the morning when my dad, who went to work relatively early because he was going to Kostelec nad Orlicí at the time, if I'm not mistaken, woke us up and told us what happened. He left. My mom stayed at home because it was a holiday. The twenty-first of August was still a holiday month and the teachers were not yet at work, as they go to work today for the last week. Suddenly this happened. Suddenly, strange information began to sound on the radio, which we did not even know could come. Such a strange broadcast appeared on television. And we, with such a group of boys, went to a summer job at the unified agricultural cooperative in Solnica, where we helped with the harvest. I remember that I had this great chance or hope that I rode with a gentleman in a horse-drawn cart and we carted grain from the fields to those barns. And the coachman was already such an elderly man and drank a little alcohol, and the horses already knew where to go, and sometimes I drove. So that's how I remember it. And suddenly our parents, not only mine, started to be a little afraid that we wouldn't wander around outside. Some of us were banned from going to work. Of course, we watched and did this kind of activity. That's when it was reported, the radio reported the numbers of vehicles that were supposed to drive to make arrests. So, we sat, we had the signs and we sat by the roads and we watched out for something similar.”

  • "I have such a fond memory of the fact that, because I worked in a museum, the director at the time sent one other colleague and me, I think to Prague on Wednesday or Thursday, just to collect documents. So, we went there and we were tearing down flyers. Of course, we didn't tear them down because they weren't supposed to be there, but we needed them for the collections as documents. Somewhere it was like asking for a spanking. But most importantly, we got to the demonstration on Wenceslas Square that day. That was one of those big demonstrations, and we'd go over there and we'd peek in and watch the keys jingle and him speaking down to people from the Melantrich bookshop and so on. And suddenly we had to catch the train to go home. We were not able to get out of that square. It was a claustrophobic environment. There were tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people crowded together, the atmosphere so full of hope, ringing, singing, shouting, and we needed to get out of that space, out of the square, to the main station, and we almost missed the train."

  • "It was important that students came to Dobruška, but at the time I was working in a museum in Hradec Králové. And they brought us information that was not yet in the newspapers at that time. And it was their view of the matter, because the strike and these actions had already been announced, and those students came there, and I know that I was accepting them into the museum. And just to give you an idea, I was not a representative of the museum at the time, I was perhaps an official. It was a Monday afternoon, I remember, the museum was closed on Mondays. Two students came to see if they could talk to us. I invited them in: 'Come on, feel free, we'll talk,' and they said they were grateful that we were the first to open the doors to them."

  • Full recordings
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    Dobruška, 08.03.2022

    duration: 32:10
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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Twice the state police tried to persuade me to cooperate

Zdeněk Zahradník was born on August 27, 1955 in Rychnov nad Kněžnou. He spent his childhood in nearby Solnica. After studying at the gymnasium in Rychnov and failing the university entrance exams, he started working in the archive in Zámrsk. He liked the work, so he eventually studied history and archival science. He worked in various museums of the East Bohemian Region. In the East Bohemian Museum in Hradec Králové, he worked as the head of the historical department. The members of the State Security (StB) twice tried to persuade him to cooperate. In 1982, he moved to Dobruška, where he got married. In 1988, the StB established a file on him as a person under investigation, in which he appeared under the code name „Rebel“. In 2023, he lived in Dobruška.