Pavel Zajíček

* 1951

  • “Decisions like that impact personal lives of the persons closest to you. Of your wife and daughter. She was a little girl, she attended elementary school, she had girlfriends there… If you try to imagine what it felt like in her children’s world, it had to be hard for her. We were already on the way to the airport, and Míša got up and she said: ‘I’m not going anywhere!’ That was intense. It was in vain trying to explain to her that it would be nice there, that she would meet new people… Insane!”

  • “The period of normalization arrived. When I was meeting these people, my peers from the same generation, I was wondering how it was possible that they were transforming so quickly. At that time it didn’t fully occur to me yet what this normalization was really about, that it was no fun at all... People were literally transforming before your eyes.”

  • “The reason why I eventually came back after all were my parents. My mom and my dad. I thought that I would never see them again. It was some time in late spring or in summer when I got in an airplane again. Mejla Hlavsa was waiting for me at the airport in Prague and we went to Radotín. I greeted them as if I had left the very same day in the morning: ‘Hi mom, hi dad.’ Well, they were surprised.”

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    Praha, 16.05.2015

    (audio)
    duration: 01:30:28
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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One should live in such a way that one would never have to be ashamed of anything

Pavel Zajíček - Prague, May 21, 2015
Pavel Zajíček - Prague, May 21, 2015
photo: Jan Kotrbáček

Pavel Zajíček was born April 15, 1951 in Radotín near Prague. He has been involved in the arts and artistic creation since he was a young man. The Soviet occupation in August 1968 and the beginning of the so-called normalization period brought about not only the termination of his studies of civil engineering, but his hopes for officially recognized artistic activity became lost as well and Pavel joined the underground movement. He continued in his creative activity and together with Mejla Hlavsa he established the music band DG 307 in 1973. He worked as a theatre stagehand, as a forest worker or he earned his living by making paper bags. In 1976 he was sentenced to one year of imprisonment for alleged riotous conduct in the trial with the band Plastic People. He subsequently signed Charter 77 and in 1980 he emigrated as a result of increased pressure and bullying by the police and the communist regime (so-called operation Asanace). At first he went to Göteborg in Sweden and later to New York, where he focused mainly on visual arts. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 he returned to Prague, at first only temporarily and later permanently. He continued in his artistic, literary and musical activities and he performs with the band DG 307 as well as with other art projects, such as in the autobiographic theatre performance Pustina (“Wasteland”).