PhDr. Pavel Žák

* 1928  †︎ 2014

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I dug a well so that others could drink from it too

Pavel Žák was born on 4th of June 1928 in Strážnice. He was involved in scouting from a very young age, and since he wanted to continue working with the youth professionally as well, he enrolled at the Faculty of Education at the Masaryk University in Brno. Shortly after the February of 1948 the university life soon became subject to the oversight of action committees, and students and teachers who disagreed with the new regime were expelled. As a reaction, Pavel Žák and his friends founded SKŘEL (short for “Studentská křesťanská legie”, or “Christian legion of students” in English), an organisation whose members were dedicated to non-violent resistance to the communist regime. One of their activities was publishing illegal printed materials. After having been given away they all got arrested. Pavel Žák himself was charged with high treason and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. He passed through the prisons in Jáchymov, Leopoldov, and others. On the 10th of May 1960 he was released on the basis of an amnesty. He worked in construction, participated in the restoration of the Junák scouting organization, and led a scouting troop. After Junák was banned again he worked with young people in a church. Following the Revolution he participated in founding the Civic Forum, was rehabilitated, and granted the honorary title of Philosophy Doctor as well as numerous awards: the St John Sarkander medal, the Karel Kramář medal, and the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Pavel Žák died in 2014.