Memory of Nation


Ing., Arch. Martin Říha (1945)

Ing., Arch. Martin Říha (1945)
Wherever we thought something mattered we were the opposition indeed

Normalisation officials and constant supervision

“A new garniture of officials arrived at the Committee and they saw us as a kind of intellectual lair, the one that plays at being a parallel power centre and wants to decide about matters in our district while they believed it was them who had the right to decide. The people who came were, in my view, incompetent, both politically and professionally, but they were the members of the Party and were installed by the Party. A man named Vája was the chairman, some Palounek was his minion, the deputy was called Šedivý a he was the real villain. I had a beautiful conflict with him while I was still employed at the Committee. They turned us into kinds of political servants and asked us to supervise certain towns and villages in our district. People employed at the Committee were delegated to these communities as supervisors. I was assigned Těchlovice on the Elbe bank, just a short way upstream. They used to send us there during election to supervise, to take part in public meetings and to file in reports on what happened there. I rebelled since this was a task which was not in my job contract and was not paid for it; we were expected to do it in the evenings and in our free time. So one day I sat down and wrote them a letter saying I was giving up this honour and that I didn’t want to do it anymore. This deputy Šedivý summoned me to his office and started shouting at me what I dared. That my dad would have never dared. And I told him: ‘My dad is for me exactly the model of how not to end up. I won’t be serving you for thirty years in order to be kicked out only because I have my own opinion on something, like the occupation by these armies.’”

  • Born on October 22, 1945, in Varnsdorf
  • His parents arrived in the border region as "settlers"
  • His father was an ardent communist, mother a Catholic
  • Passed his school-leaving exam at the Secondary Educational School in Děčín in 1962
  • Graduated of the Construction Faculty, Czech Technical University, in 1968
  • In 1969–1978 served in the office of the chief architect, District Committee Děčín
  • In 1978–1989 a member of the department of development and planning at the Regional Committee, Ústí nad Labem
  • In 1990–1992 deputy to the Minister of the Environment, Bedřich Moldan
  • After 1992 served at the Ministry of Development and Transport
  • After 2000 served as the Director of the Department of Development, Ministry of the Environment, he was a member of the Department of Development, City of Prague
  • Awarded the Josef Vavroušek Prize and Ivan Dejmal Prize
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