Josef Žanta

* 1932  

  • "Of course we ... the boys told us that there were some Partisans here. And whoever wanted to be the commander or the leader of a boys' group, he had to see a Partisan. I know that one boy was very popular because he saw a Partisan somewhere. That's how we knew and envied him. We were quite happy that we also had some armed forces. The Partisans who will eventually defeat the Germans and that we will win."

  • "I trained there as a teenager. I remember, it was such a happy atmosphere. As if that February had fallen. As it was like before. I know that people from Haná region shouted in the procession: "Don't worry, Praguers, the Haná people are still here!" That's what they shouted. And there was terrible enthusiasm. People were relaxed, untied, speaking freely. As if it wasn't February. But then I learned, that the arrests were taking place already at that time."

  • "When Heydrich died in the hospital after the operation after the assassination, it was a postoperative syndrome or something like that, the image of Heydrich was everywhere in black. And we had it on the school desks too. So, we draw his mustache there. In other words, if the Gestapo found out, we would end up very badly. But that's how the boys made fun. We made a caricature of him. We draw his mustache; we blackened his eyebrows. So, we made it out of him... But we were lucky, we were lucky, that they didn´t find out about us."

  • "I only remember it was the anniversary, when Jan Palach burned himself to death. So, there was a peaceful gathering in front of the statue of St. Wenceslas. And now we were attacked by the National Security Corps. The crowd began to run away. And of course, I ran away too. Cars with fire extinguishers drove by and sprayed on us. But I just looked back and found out that they had all escaped, except for four girls who had resisted the armed National Security Corps. Then, I saw them there, lying on the ground and kicking as they defended themselves, and the girls had high heels. So, it was pretty sharp, yeah. But then... then I didn't find out anymore and I ran away. I hid in one of the side streets, and as I ran there, I noticed a girl running along the sidewalk. Like the others. And she was chased by a police officer and he had a baton in his hand. And when he... he was about to hit her, he slipped and stretched both wide and long, with general merriment and laughter of people around. The girl escaped."

  • "The political pressures were there, it was sensed. Mainly because we had to go to those political lectures. And otherwise, I was afraid, then we had ... certain subjects were important. I was not about what I know from chemistry, but what I know from civics and politics. So, there was some eager Marxist there, he lectured us, it was something as Marxism education or I don't know what it was called. That's how it was, it seemed to me that it was a decisive test. And if you didn't do it, you couldn't study, even if you have knowledge like Gay-Lussac..."

  • "After February, it was said, until the 1950s, until those trials, that it would break out one day. That's what they said. And that the so-called reaction wins. These were the National Socialists, the People's Party, and a part of the right-wing members of the Social Democracy. But when the trials began in the fifty-first, which, my father watched them as a lawyer, it was already clear that the regime would probably not fall so soon."

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    Prlov, 02.07.2019

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    Prlov, 04.07.2019

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Be glad, that we have freedom

Josef Žanta was born on March 18, 1932 in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm into the family of the first republican lawyer Josef Žanta. He grew up in a functionalist villa built by famous architects, Mrs. Šlapeta’s siblings. During the Second World War, his father Josef Žanta took part in the anti-Nazi resistance, made a partisan link and passed on information from Vsetín’s Zbrojovka about the local production of weapons. Josef Žanta’s mother, although she was of Austrian origin, she was an enthusiastic Sokol member and patriot. Josef Žanta himself watched the execution of partisans as a child. His family had long-standing problems with the communist regime, whether it was the closure of his father’s law firm or the difficulty of the witness’s admission to university. During his basic military service, he took part in a combat alarm, when he and other soldiers arrested a saboteur. During the August occupation of 1968, Josef Žanta took part in protests and strikes in Tesla Rožnov. In 1987, he signed Charter 77, took part in a silent Catholic protest organized by the activist Augustin Navrátil, and in anti-regime demonstrations in Prague in January 1989, known as Palach’s Week. He faced interrogation of the State Security several times. The witness’s son Aleš also took part in anti-regime activities before 1989.