Memory of Nation


Tomáš Šponar (1968)

  Tomáš  Šponar (1968)
It was only up to us whether we would accept that role

We stared at her as if she had come back from Mars

“You know what the propaganda said about the West and the United States. There was a large company in Ústí nad Orlicí, it was a stated-owned company at that time, and it produced textile machinery. Those machines were not produced in any other place in the world and therefore people from the West were purchasing them as well, and the technicians who were setting up these machines were traveling there and living there. When I was in the fifth grade, a classmate returned to our class who had been living with her parents in the United States for a year or two. The teacher introduced her to us and we stared at her as if she had come back from Mars, because we had that image of America as imperialism and poverty. The teacher invited her mom and for two hours, or maybe even longer, she was talking to us about what it was like in America, how children played there, where they went shopping, what good things they had there to eat. She spoke enthusiastically and nicely about everyday life and thanks to her we were able to see that it was good in America and that it was not as bad as we were told in television and newspapers. The teacher did not feel that she ought to balance it in any way, and she invited her and let her talk freely about how things were good in America. The teacher in her and the honest person in her have prevailed.”

  • born on September 6th, 1968 in Svitavy
  • after completing grammar school in Ústí nad Orlicí in 1985 he began to study at the Institute of Mechanical and Textile Engineering in Liberec
  • August 21, 1988 – went to Prague alone to join a protest rally on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Soviet occupation and marched through Prague together with the protesters
  • as a university student he was involved in the student theatre ensemble T. S. Garp, which was under the patronage of the Socialist Youth Union
  • on November 16, 1989 he was with the theatre ensemble at a festival of university art ensembles in Prague, on November 17 in the morning he went with the ensemble to a festival in Karl-Marx-Stadt (present-day Chemnitz)
  • after his return to Liberec on November 19 and hearing the news from Prague about the events on Národní Street he immediately joined the activities of the students
  • member of the student strike committee, actively involved in it until the election of president Václav Havel in December 1989
  • completed his university study in 1991, worked in printed media and in the Czech Television
  • conversion to Christianity in 1998-1999
  • living in Prague with his wife and three children
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