Peter Zajac

* 1946  

  • “Well, it was a very peculiar upbringing. It was like a combination of the first-republic upbringing and at the same time of upbringing inclining towards proletarian internationalism. It was unbelievably intertwined. However, I would say, we were raised very well, as none of us three (siblings) had never had any tendency to enter the communist party or to apply for the membership. It is very interesting that as we observed it at home, – although only from the distance, since our parents didn’t talk to us about that – that’s how we behaved later. They were moving away from the regime and once we matured, we had no temptations to get close at all. That was the unintentional consequence of our upbringing.”

  • “I worked as a prose editor and I started to publish works of my contemporaries, what was great. It was really nice job and I enjoyed doing it. However, in 1971 the censorship of texts began, some of those texts had negative reviews, so they couldn’t be published anymore. In 1972 I was fired from that publishing house, because I was quite stubborn and I was an editor of the texts that became banished. They were printed out, but couldn’t be distributed. For example, there was a book of reports of Peter Repka named Vstaň a choď (Stand Up and Go), or Anton Baláž’s novel Bohovia ročných období (Gods of the Four Seasons), what was more of a Solzhenitsyn’s type of text, but many other things that I had reviewed, as well. I had there also some manuscripts, which were then published twenty years later, like works of Pavel Hrúz, Ivan Kadlečík.”

  • “It is very strange that today everyone imagines the VPN (Public Against Violence movement) as some kind of organization existing within the social system. People imagine, it had a structure with certain hierarchy and particular leadership, but nothing like that existed. Firstly, until December 1989, the Public Against Violence as well as the Civic Forum were still illegal. Only in the end of 1989 there was a law passed, allowing the existence of such type of the civic associations. And secondly, it was the time of horizontal structures. No hierarchal structures existed in VPN. There was no chairman, no vice chairman, no committee.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Bratislava, Slovensko, 06.06.2018

    duration: 02:12:00
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Today, everyone imagines the movement Public Against Violence (VPN) was in its beginnings a hierarchically organized structure with elected chairman and bodies, but nothing like this existed at all

 Zajac Peter
Zajac Peter
photo: pri natáčaní ED

Peter Zajac was born on February 3, 1946 in Bratislava. He graduated in Slovak and German language at the Comenius University. During his fourth year of study, in years 1967-68 he attended a foreign study stay in Tübingen in West Germany. After graduation in 1968, he worked as a literary reviewer and editor in Smena publishing house. Shortly after the normalization era began, in 1972 he was dismissed from this job and until 1980 he worked as a university teacher at the Faculty of Education in Nitra. Later he employed as an expert worker at the Institute of Literary Science in Bratislava. In 1989 he co-founded the movement Public Against Violence (VPN) in Bratislava and was actively involved in events of the Velvet Revolution. In 1990 he became the first president of the Slovak Centre of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers. During 1995 – 2001 he was a member and later also a vice-chairman of the Democratic Party. He was a Member of the Parliament in years 1998 – 2001 (SDK) and 2010 – 2012 (Most-Híd).