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My grandmother is a very devoted Communist.

  • Date: 12 Jan, 2008 at 6:50PM,
  • 1 commentary
  • Dear Daughters,

    After I read about you in Reflex magazine last Sunday, I could not resist sending my opinion to you. The main point for me was that some of you question (at least that is what I understood) whether speaking about the 1950s is worth it.  Or would forgetting about the past be a good thing for everyone, as the son of one of you expressed.

Let me reassure you that it is very important to speak about the past. It took me a long time to come to this conclusion because of the way I was brought up within my family.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am 45 years old. I was born in 1962 into a family that was under the strong influence of my grandmother, mother of my mother. My grandmother is a very devoted Communist.

Even though my father was from a well to do farming family (“the Kulaks” — derogatory term under communism), our whole life was under grandma’s control, therefore we were brought up with a love of communism. I had a beautiful childhood. My school grades were excellent. I was accepted at a prestigious school. I had no idea there was something not quite normal going on in our country.

I was proud to have an important rank, first in the Pioneer communist youth organization, then in the organization of Socialist Youth for teenagers. Although I did not finish my secondary education, I managed to get a very good job.

The break came in 1981 when I met my future husband who wanted to introduce me to his parents. Today, when I look back, it appears very humorous. Sometimes, I tell my daughters about how I was introduced to their father’s family. Before I even stepped into his parents’ home, my future father-in-law, instead of greeting me, asked, “Is your father a Communist?” My dad was the only one in the family who was not a member of the Communist Party. Truthfully, I answered, “He is not.” Only then, my future father-in-law said, “Alright. Come in.” I did not understand what was going on. I must admit it that it took me several years before I understood how confused I was.

I was experiencing an incredible dilemma and it did traumatize me. Especially, when my husband never failed to remind me how his grandmother and grandfather never joined the collective farm, how they worked themselves to death when they were unable to deliver to the State the required quota of agricultural products, and other persecution. Even though we had friends among those who were persecuted for signing human rights Charter 77 and another petition about human rights abuses in our country, it took me a long time to believe what was going on.

Unfortunately, my father is no longer alive, but my mother and my sister still vote for Communists and they still claim that it was not as bad under communist rule as they say today.  I have never managed to help them see that even intelligent could not see how horrendous that regime was.  It is for that reason that I beg you not to diminish your activities; you have nothing to be ashamed of.  Others ought to be ashamed but unfortunately, they are not.

I wish you good health and many good events that you will all enjoy together.

With best regards,

Milena Simùnková