Zdeněk Zůna

* 1928  

  • "As we came to Silesia, the front was getting near. And as we would climb up some of the mounds, we saw guns shooting – and the projectiles flying. Sometimes, they would start hitting us, right where we were working. And those planes would bomb the railway as we were working. On the one hand, we tried to work as slowly as we could, so we wouldn´t dig anything at all. But on the other hand, it was good to have this hole maybe half a meter deep so we could jump in it as the planes would approach. And then there were those train-busters. We would look sideways as they were attacking the embankment. As you could see those small mounds of earth where the bullets would come in. And as we were observing the planes dropping bombs, looking skywards we had the impression that the bombs would fall right onto us. As if they would be bombing us directly! But it would fall maybe one meter away from us, so we wouldn´t be hit.”

  • “People born in 1928 and 1929 or 1927 and 1926 had the duty to build the trenches. Germans promised our parents that we wouldn´t cross the Protectorate´s borders. And they took us to Olomouc, to the railway station. There, they would get carriages ready and we would go to Silesia. So they didn´t fulfill their promise. I recall that the boys would throw those padded backrests from the windows. They were throwing them out in protest.”

  • “I enjoyed very much the period from 1945 to 1948. As I felt so free and everything was just fine. But one didn´t have information or the news were being distorted. For example, I would hear that students were marching to the Prague Castle (Pražský hrad). It might be at the time Gottwald went to see the President. I was living at a dorm, as I already graduated from gymnasium. So I went out and saw this policeman. So I told him I heard this and that regarding the students and asked him whether that was true. And he told me: 'No, we didn´t hear such a thing.' So I was quite naive to ask a policeman about such a thing. And he was quite unfair to lie to me like this.”

  • “After that, there were these official screenings being done by the the local Party committee which workers had to pass after being summoned. And the most important question was whether you agreed with the invasion. Whether it was a good thing or not. And of course, they would ask me this question. So I said I didn´t agree with that, that no one should interfere in our affairs. So the committee decided – I got it in writing and I still have it in my possession – that I should be expelled from the Party. Which meant not only had I been expelled from the Party but I was also persecuted. So not only that I could no longer work as an instructor at the (Okresní osvětový dům), as after some time, they decided that I couldn´t be employed there at all, so they just fired me. So I was looking for a job and it had to be a blue-collar job. And after trying for maybe seventy-seven times, I finally got this job in Karlštejn.”

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    Praha, 01.02.2019

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One might think he couldn´t make difference, yet he should do all he could for things to get better

Zdeněk Zůna was born on July 8th 1928 in Hostavice near Prague (Praha). He grew up with his parents and his two brothers in Prague´s district of Smíchov. At the end of the Second World War, he was drafted to do forced labor in Silesia, from where he ran away just in time to participate in the street fights during the Prague (Praha) uprising in May 1945. After the war, he joined Youth Union (Jednota mládeže) and developed an interest in photography. He graduated from the Jan Vančura Gymnasium (Vančurovo reálné gymnázium) and started to study at the Jan Hus Czechoslovak Theological Faculty in Prague (Husova československá bohoslovecká fakulta v Praze). After becoming a minister, he had been serving in the city of Beroun and its vicinity. After Czech society had become permeated by the communist ideology, his parish diminished in numbers, leading him to quit his job and joining the Communist party. He started working at the Králův Dvůr ironworks and tried to establish a career as a photographer. He got a job at the District Education House (Okresní osvětový dům) in Beroun where he had been working as a photography and film specialist. After 1968, he didn´t pass the ‘ideological screenings’ and had been expelled from the Communist party; he also had to leave the District Education House (Okresní osvětový dům). After quite a long time, he found a job as an assistant in a smelter shop in Karlštejn and had been working there for eighteen years till reaching the retirement age. After 1989, he helped to found the local Civic Forum (Občanské fórum) organisation in Beroun. He has been an avid photographer and held several exhibitions.