Honorary Plaques of the President of the Pilsen Region for Courageous Civic Attitudes awarded

21. December 2020 18:01, aktualizováno 23. December 2020 08:25, Mgr. Milada Soukupová

Mojmír Fencl, Miroslav Froyda, Georg Kebrle, Věra Tydlitátová and Ladislav Vyskočil are holders of the Honorary Plaque of the President of the Pilsen Region for Courageous Civic Attitudes for 2020. On December 10, 2020, Vice President of the Pilsen Region Josef Bernard awarded them on behalf of President of the Pilsen Region Ilona Mauritzová in the Assembly Hall. The President attended the event online because she met a positive person and did not want to risk infecting anyone. The honorary plaque made of pure silver was handed over to the winners for the fourth time.

“Standing up to majority beliefs, standing up at a time when presenting one’s own opinion is punished and fighting for the right thing - that is bravery. Civic bravery, which, however, acquires higher values and respect over time,”  said President Ilona Mauritzová. “The tradition of valuing civic bravery in the Pilsen Region dates back to 2003, when it was founded by the then President Petr Zimmermann who awarded political prisoner and founder of the Garden to the Victims of Evil Luboš Hruška, and veterinary doctor Václav Poláček. The awarding of personalities continued until 2008. In 2017, Josef Bernard renewed the tradition by awarding plaques for courageous civic attitudes. I am glad that we did not break the tradition at this difficult time and I can now also commemorate brave people and pass on these awards with respect and humility,”  the President of the Pilsen Region summed up the history of awards for civil bravery.

“People who refused to bow and scrape in difficult times and opposed the ruling establishment for the right thing have my deep admiration. After all, it was so tempting not to get into trouble and make life easy. One could build a job career, children could study and sometimes you earned a permit to travel abroad, for example to Yugoslavia. But there were those who rejected this conformity with the regime and waged a small private war for the truth. Without them, we would not be able to return to freedom in our country. Acknowledgment in the form of Jan Palach Plaque and recognition of their bravery is the least we can do for them,”  said Vice President Josef Bernard, the founder of the tradition of awarding plaques for courageous civic attitudes.

The ceremony took place in the Assembly Hall of the Regional Office of the Pilsen Region. As only a small number of people could attend the ceremony due to the current government measures, it was possible to watch it streaming on Facebook and the YouTube channel of the Pilsen Region. You can see the recording of the event HERE. The winners’ lives were remembered in short videos. The event was presented by Josef Bernard.

The Honorary Plaque of the President of the Pilsen Region for Courageous Civic Attitudes was taken over on December 10, 2020, by:

Mojmír Fencl (born in Jarov on April 5, 1930)
In order to acquire the necessary skills to run a farm, Mojmír Fencl graduated from an agricultural school in nearby Kralovice. However, he did not agree to join an agricultural cooperative or the Communist Party. He collaborated with farmer Václav Kožíšek, who refused to collectivize Jarov and its surroundings. They together helped an alleged Western agent and paratroopers in Brdy, which was an action prepared by secret police provocateurs.
In 1951 he was offered an opportunity to leave the republic. However, the attempt to flee abroad was a trap staged by a fake smuggler Tachovák, who was an agent of the secret police. Mojmír Fencl was arrested in March 1952 and sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of attempt to leave the republic, and the crimes of circumventing military service and failing to report crime. He served his sentence in Ležnice in the Hornoslavkovsko Region, and was released on amnesty in May 1953.
In 1953 he joined military service with the technical battalions in Hradec Králové where he was apprenticed as a bricklayer and plasterer. Upon his return, he worked in the United Agricultural Cooperative Jarov, Dobříč, and for some time even as chairperson.
In 1968, Mojmír Fencl joined the K 231 movement, which brought together political prisoners convicted between February 1948 and the early 1960s, and sought his rehabilitation, but unsuccessfully. He was not fully rehabilitated until 1990 and 1993.
You can watch the video medallions HERE.

Miroslav Froyda (born in Pilsen March 7, 1933)
In 1953, Miroslav Froyda graduated from the College of Mechanical Engineering. He completed a gliding course, but was not accepted to the Aviation Academy. Yet he still dreamed of flying. He and his friend fled across the wire border barriers to Austria. They wanted to join the US military, so they sought American intelligence in Vienna. In August 1954, they were sent by the American Military Intelligence Service (MIS) back to the Czechoslovak Republic to build an intelligence group. However, they were detained while crossing the border. In December 1954, Miroslav Froyda was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He served 11 years in Leopoldov, Mírov, Bory, Příbram and Valdice prisons. As a former criminal he could not find a job after his release in 1965. In the end, the West Bohemian Power Plants employed him as a driver. After a year, he was able to start drawing thanks to his education. He worked there until his retirement.
In 2013, Miroslav Froyda was granted the status of a participant in the resistance against communism and a war veteran by the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic.
You can watch the video HERE.

Georg Kebrle (born in Pilsen on November 19, 1938, as Jiří Kebrle)
His father, František Kebrle, was an official of the Czechoslovak Social Democracy arrested in 1949 and sentenced to twelve years for his views.
That is why Georg Kebrle could not study and so he was apprenticed as an electric locksmith in the Škoda Factory in Pilsen. He did not agree with the communist regime and in 1963 he was prosecuted for sedition. During the Prague Spring, he joined the Czechoslovak Socialist Party and became involved against the Communists and against the entry of Warsaw Pact troops. After the occupation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in August 1968, he emigrated without his wife and son to the Federal Republic of Germany and financially supported his family from there.
In 1973, he used the amnesty of the President of the Republic and returned to the Czechoslovak Republic to visit his family. He worked at Tesla Nýřany, from where he was fired in September 1974 for spreading Western propaganda and undermining confidence in the Communist policies. The following year he worked in a uranium mine in Příbram. He constantly had a problem with communists. In 1979, he and his wife applied for eviction from the republic at the instigation of the secret police. West Germany did not give them a visa because he had already once left the country, but the family eventually succeeded at the Austrian consulate. The eviction from the republic took place on the condition of the loss of Czechoslovak citizenship and the waiver of all claims against the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
In Austria, Georg Kebrle began to become politically involved in the social democratic movement. In 1981 he became a member of the exiled Czechoslovak Social Democracy and in 1983 he was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Exile Party at the Congress in Zurich. After the Velvet Revolution, he was involved in the restoration of Czechoslovak social democracy in his homeland. However, he soon broke up with it. He co-founded the Association of Social Democrats, which, however, did not succeed as a political party and became more of a discussion club. He now lives permanently in Austria, but regularly visits Pilsen and the Czech Republic.
(The plaque was taken over by his son Georg Kebrle Jr.)
You can watch the video HERE.

Věra Tydlitátová (born May 17, 1959 in Rokycany)
The parents Věra Tydlitátová, née Šmídová, were persecuted by the communist regime due to the father’s political involvement. She was not allowed to study after primary school, so she worked in a paper mill for two years.
In 1976, thanks to a friend’s contacts, she began studying at the Secondary Industrial School of Graphic Arts in Hellichova Street in Prague. However, she was not repeatedly accepted to the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague.
After high school, Věra Tydlitátová worked at the Prague State Library. Gradually, she became active in dissent. She copied and disseminated various texts, including Charter 77, which she brought to Pilsen at the beginning of 1977 for further dissemination and signed it in 1989. She attended lectures by the so-called housing university.
She was interrogated twice by the secret police.
Věra Tydlitátová married evangelical pastor Jan Tydlitát, with whom she lived in the village of Libenice, where they organized various meetings, lectures and other events that the regime did not like at the time.
She is one of the main initiators of the establishment of the Civic Forum in Pilsen. After the revolution, she studied philosophy, religion and theology. University teacher Věra Tydlitátová is the founder of the League against Anti-Semitism.
You can watch the video HERE.

Ladislav Vyskočil (born in Strakonice on January 13, 1958)
Ladislav Vyskočil’s attitudes were formed as early as 1968, when his father, who was actively involved in protests against the invasion of Soviet troops, was fired from work.
Only thanks to the intercession of a neighbour teacher, Ladislav Vyskočil was admitted to the Secondary Industrial School of Electrical Engineering in Pilsen. He was not allowed to continue his studies.
He was interested in politics and Western music, especially its alternative genres. A friend of his father’s used to send him gramophone records from West Germany, which he then distributed. He distributed cassettes by Karel Kryl and the Plastic People Of The Universe. He organized trips to concerts of western music bands to Hungary with his own car.
In 1976, he distributed the copies of a stenographed judgment on the band Plastic People and of Charter 77. He never signed it so that he could continue to produce and distribute samizdat and banned literature without persecution. His interest in photography and reproduction techniques led him to screen printing. Gradually, he began publishing samizdat brochures, books and magazines. Among others, he screen-printed the cover for several issues of the samizdat magazine Vokno, initiated and produced a samizdat edition of Alexander Solzhenitsin’s book The Gulag Archipelago, and participated in the publication of samizdat fairy tales with colourful screen-printed drawings.
In the mid-1980s, the secret police became interested in him. Interrogations and inspections escalated, and he was detained for 48 hours. In the second half of the 1980s, he took part in several protest chain hunger strikes and petitions for the release of political prisoners. He signed and spread the petition A Few Sentences. He met Chartists and people from underground culture; he also attended home seminars and lectures in Pilsen, and was a member of the Jazz Section. At the end of the 1980s, he co-organized several concerts of banned bands in the Svornost Club in Pilsen.
Ladislav Vyskočil also co-founded the Civic Forum in Pilsen and provided the sound system for the Republic Square in Pilsen at the meetings after November 17, 1989.

The author of the Honorary Plaque of the President of the Pilsen Region for Courageous Civic Attitudes is doc. M. A. Petr Vogel. The minted plaque has a diameter of 70 mm, weighs 169 g and is made of silver 999/000. On the front side, there is a portrait of Jan Palach with the text "JAN PALACH 1948-1969", and on the reverse side, there is the emblem of the Pilsen region together with the text "HONORARY PLAQUE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PILSEN REGION FOR COURAGEOUS CIVIC ATTITUDES”.