Zdeněk Adamec

* 1934  †︎ 2017

  • “I got to know one Hungarian woman there, because there were many Hungarians living in Chomutov; there were many Slovaks, and Romanians, some Greeks, too. The reason for this was that there was a lack of people after the Germans had been deported, there were only a few Czechs, and therefore they tried to repopulate the place by bringing people from the neighbouring countries. It was a kind of an international community. There was a large factory in Chomutov, the Mannesmann pipe rolling mill. It was quite lively there. I was there for some time and then the events in Hungary took place. Since all of us were young hot heads, we agreed that it was not possible for us to stay aside. One young guy, who was the leader of the group of young people, said that we needed to write some protest declaration. We thus described how we imagined our country to be in case a revolution took place in the future. We drafted the document and our leader Ladislav Krejza said that he got somebody who would deliver it to the Radio Free Europe, which was nonsense, of course. This person had not been screened before, and already when I saw him for the first time, I could smell some trouble. And I was right. The guy was from the StB State Security. Certain Dr. Houšť, who had served as an informer to Germans under the Protectorate, and then to the communists. It was obvious, after the coup d’état the communists summoned him and told him: ´You see, you have worked for the Germans, so we will put you behind the bars, but if you work for us, we will leave you alone.´ This man turned us in and we got arrested.”

  • “Jana Horáková, the daughter of Milada Horáková who had been executed, was in the same class with me. I remember there were many things happening. They executed her mother and I remember that some teachers treated Jana very nicely. I even saw professor Smetanová, who was consoling her outside the classroom. On the whole, they treated Jana very decently. Even the principal Hanušová, who was a Party member; she had to be if she was a principal. Or, I don’t know if she was a communist by conviction, but she did behave very well to Jana. For some time, three men would sit in our classroom every day. I don’t know if they were from the StB, but they probably were. And I think there was somebody from the ministry of education among them, too. They were paying attention to what was being taught in the class. And our head teacher was calling Jana frequently on purpose in order to show that she was an diligent girl and in order to help her somehow. I was a close friend to Jana Horáková. When we graduated, Jana Horáková was told that she would never be allowed to study medicine where she sent in her application, and so she eventually ended up as a nurse in the dentistry department of the hospital at Karlovo Square.”

  • “I was without a job and I was wandering through Prague. As I was walking by the National Theatre, all of a sudden I hear: ´Hello! What do you do now?´ Karel Pecka. I said: ´Well, Karel, I’ll tell you what I do. I am looking for some job.´ ´Come to us then, you will be moving the props.´ I replied: ´That’s a better job than working for the railways, so why not.´ He led me to his boss. In the National Theatre, the position is called a mechanic manager. It was probably derived from the word mechanism, because there were no machines there. Everything was being done manually. He led me to the personnel department. Somehow it came out that I was a former prisoner. The lady in the personnel department exclaimed: ´Oh God, we’ve already got four prisoners working here. This can’t be, because even the President comes here for performances.´ The mechanic manager told her: ´It doesn’t matter. These guys know the job well. They are actually our best workers.´ We were used to hard work in the mines, so we didn’t mind. And so they hired me and I worked as a stagehand.”

  • “I had a German language textbook. And I was reading it, and since I had already finished my shift, I was sitting in the room and writing something at the desk. A warden stormed in. The wardens were doing random checks. He snatched the paper out of my hand. That’s it. I got punished by three days in a ´correction´ cell for that, because I was writing something which was not allowed. ´Correction´ meant that you were getting food only every other day, and besides that only coffee and black bread. A warden was guarding me there I think it was before Christmas and this was very interesting: the warden was a young guy and he wanted to talk to somebody. He began talking to me and he said: ´I am so unhappy. When I was doing my military service, they came there and did a recruitment campaign for us to join the police. He applied and as a policeman he was assigned to prison wardens. He said: ´When I see it, I feel so bad about it. I don’t know how to get rid of it.´ This boy nearly started crying. It was simply not his fault. They fooled him, he applied, and that was it. That was my only talk with a warden.”

  • “Once before Christmas we got drunk. It was before Christmas and we boarded a bus from Štěchovice to Prague. As I was tipsy, I began swearing in the bus, exclaiming that Stalin and Lenin were murderers and criminals. And I was saying some other nonsense, too. Nobody noticed. The people were perhaps afraid or they didn’t notice. But one man was getting of in Vraný, he was some manager or deputy manager of the nearby power plant, and he told me: ´If I knew your name, I would inform the police.´ The driver, a good communist, said: ´They are teachers from Štěchovice.´ That was it. I said: ´Jirka, we are in trouble. Now we gotta wait what will happen.´ Nothing was happening for a week, and about two weeks later I was looking out of the window from the classroom where I was teaching, and I saw two gentlemen with briefcases coming to the school. I knew that that was it. One could recognize that they were from the StB. I quickly ran to Jirka to tell him that they were here: ´So what shall we do?´ ´The one whom they will try to accuse will take all the blame on himself. If it is me, I will take it, and if they press on you, you will take it.´ At first they asked for Jirka and they told him that something had happened on the bus and he said that he didn’t remember anything anymore, and they asked him whether Mr. Adamec had said something. ´No, he was quiet.´ But it was him who had been quiet and I had been shouting terribly. They told him that if Mr. Adamec had said it, he would have been terribly screwed up, because he had already been in prison, and the things that had been told there were serious matters. He told them that he did not remember anything because he had been drunk. The principal then told me that they would summon me to the school authority. They did, but they didn’t proceed further, and Jirka was later transferred to a different school.”

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A troublemaker teacher

Adamec dobovy orez.jpg (historic)
Zdeněk Adamec

  Zdeněk Adamec was born February 9, 1934 in Prague. His life was severely affected by the 1950s. Already while he was a student at Drtina Grammar School in Prague he experienced how the communist regime handled its opponents. His classmate and a good friend was Jana Horáková, the daughter of executed Milada Horáková. Seven years later, Zdeněk himself had a direct experience with the communist judicial system. After the events in Hungary he participated on drafting a document which condemned the intervention in Hungary and proposed the future of our country without the leadership of the communist Party. This document was to be delivered to the Radio Free Europe. For this reason, in 1957 the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem sentenced him to eight years of imprisonment for high treason. After an appeal to court, his penalty was commuted to four years. He spent more than two and a half years in the corrective labour camp in the uranium mines in Bytíz. He was released in the extensive presidential amnesty in 1960. He then worked as a stagehand in the National Theatre for four years before he managed to find a teaching job again. He worked as a teacher in the elementary school in Štechovice for over twenty years. Due to his friendship with Vilém Hejl, in 1977 he was summoned to the StB State Security police station in Bartolomějská Street in Prague. They wanted him to collaborate with them, which he strictly refused. As a result, the school authority then forbade him to teach civics and history. After the fall of the communist regime, he served as the school‘s principal for one year. He lived in the small village Hamry, where he spent time in his studio painting canvases which draw upon the cubist and futuristic conception of figural composition. Zdeněk Adamec passed away on september, the 2nd, 2017.