history of czech

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous (Czech-Related)' started by sarahscott, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. sarahscott

    sarahscott Member

    was anyone on here around when the communists entered czech in late 1960's?

    I would be interested to hear about what was happening then and what it was like for people living there.

    How possible or not was it to leave czech at that time, and does anyone know when the borders were closed so no one could leave any longer?
  2. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    I was born only in 1974 but I'm quite sure communists in Czechoslovakia seized power MUCH earlier - in 1948, and while they were certainly more or less openly supported by the USSR, they were Czech and Slovaks themselves, so using "entered" is not quite right. Same goes for "closing borders" - the infamous Iron Curtain which pretty much enclosed all of the Eastern Bloc appeared earlier than in late 1960s. Did you mean the invasion of armies of five countries of Warsaw Pact (the vast majority of soldiers being Soviets) which which happened in 1968?
  3. sarahscott

    sarahscott Member

    i meant after the entry in 1968. I know people were still able to go in and out over the borders at that time with special visas and stuff even though it was hard, but I heard that in 1970 the borders were actually closed, does this mean no one could cross the border at that time, I can't seem to find anything about this in history books.
  4. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Pople needed special paper from state (výjezdní doložka) to leave country to non-communist country - from 1948 to 1989. This paper was given only to people trusted by regime. Only in sixties was acquisition of this paper easier.

    They say that in period few days after invasion (august 21, 1968) customs officers on some border crossings let people leave country even without passports - but I'm not sure if it isn't just myth.
  5. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    It is not a myth, in the time from August 1968 until approx. April 1969 it was rather easy to cross the border to the west. The border was tightly closed before and later.
  6. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    From what I heard 1968 was one of the years ending in '8' (like 1938 or 1948) during which there were huge emigration waves (my uncle also left Czechoslovakia for Western Germany in 1968, though I don't know how he did it), so it really seems that border controls were quite lax at that time.

    UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK, Typology & geography of European mass migration:
  7. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    During that time it was possible to cross the border on an official trip. A private trip was possible but very limited.
    Either you had to prove, that somebody would cover your expenses abroad
    Or it was possible to go to a funeral of your close relative.
    Or you could travel with a travel agency (usually the group was accompanied by some "reliable" people).

    Another possibility was to get so called "devizový příslib" - a paper from the state bank that it will give you some amount of foreign currency to cover the expenses of the trip (usually 10 USD per day per person) *. At the beginning of the year you could place a request in the bank, and if you were lucky enough (or had somebody in the bank - the corruption here was high), you could get it. There were two kinds of this "devizový příslib" - for western countries and another one for the (now former) Yougoslavia.

    As getting the "devizový příslib" for Yougoslavia was easier, many people had got this and then crossed the border to Italy, which was easier but also not without danger.

    In all these cases you had to have a recommendation of your employer, the men also the consent of the army, often also opinion from the local communist party organisation.

    If you had relatives abroad it was almost impossible to get the permit (it was a bit easier for pensioners). Also it was rather difficult to get the permit for the whole family, somebody had usually to stay "at home". Even here there were no exact rules, you might have luck or not.
    But as with many things that time, there were no fixed written rules and all depended on the "arbitrariness" of the office hodlers.

    The decision to leave the country was difficult, because you had to account with the problems you could create to your (often not close) relatives.
    * During the communist period it was illegal to own foreign currency or gold (the exception was limited amount of personal jewelry) and you had to change all it in the bank against a local currecy (or so called Tuzex bons).
    If somebody denounced you, that you have foreign currency and the police found it, you could go to a jail for several years.

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