Jiricna, Eva (1 of 12). National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2015-09-15, 2015-10-23, 2016-02-08, 2016-04-15, 2016-06-06, 2016-07-06

  • Recording locations

    British Library

  • Interviewees

    Jiricna, Eva (1939-) (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: [01:48:07] [Session One: 15 September 2015] Eva Jiricna (EJ) explains her full name. She was born in 1939 in Zlin, a modern town built by Tomas Bata. Her father was an architect and worked for Bata. [00:02:11] Her mother grew up in northern Bohemia and was born during the First World War, EV maternal grandparents owned a factory. Mentions food shortages during the war. [00:04:11] Discusses the family factory which closed during the Second World War, a relative who invented an automatic loom. [00:06:43] EJ memories of her maternal grandmother, her business acumen and her character. [00:07:33] EJ grandmother grew up in Vienna under the Austro-Hungary empire - her view of German culture. Her emphasis on educating her children. [00:10:41] EJ remembers their limited diet during the Second World War. Grandmother’s name was Magdelena. [00:13:14] EJ paternal grandmother: her kind nature and sense of humour. Her paternal grandfather: he was a Czech patriot and rejected Austro-Hungary by joining the Protestant church. His character. [00:16:55] EJ describes the development of Czech nationalism, modernization of the Czech language [00:19:33] describes the Czech language. Architecture in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period. [00:23:05] EJ on the importance of the founding of the Czech state for her grandfather. [00:25:33] EJ explains the significance of the link between Catholicism and the Austro-Hungary empire. Discusses her friend who was not baptized. [00:30:52] EJ describes her home town of Zlin and its founder Tomas Bata [00:35:00] EJ recalls German bombardment of the town and the family losing everything. [00:37:19] EJ and her mother escaping to Prague during the Soviet occupation at the end of the war. [00:39:19] Their apartment being taken by the Soviets in 1951 and re-allocated to another family. How her family coped with the situation – EJ making her own toys as they had none during the war. [00:42:08] Mentions her uncle who was imprisoned after inventing the automatic loom. EJ on how her parents’ explained the situation to her and her siblings. Her father’s work as an exhibition designer [00:47:23] bringing foreign items home from trips. EJ attending the Russian grammar school in Prague: visiting sites in Russia. [00:52:02] EJ explains why the family were considered capitalist; EJ father did not allow her to join the Communist Pioneers. [00:57:23] EJ describes her first school – [00:59:46] the influence of the Communist Party on education, how this affected EJ critical judgment. The high quality of her architectural education – how this compared with those educated in the UK. [01:03:45] Current Czech architectural students. [01:04:23] EJ describes her schoolroom with images promoting industrial production – EJ on the extent of state control and consequences of transgression. Describes a childhood scout trip to the countryside. [01:12:34] Cultural heroes during the Soviet period – EJ reflects on the effectiveness of soviet propaganda. [01:17:03] EJ explains which subjects were considered more prestigious at school – explains that abstract art was not taught. [01:21:03] EJ describes the family home in Prague in which she grew up: mentions her father’s collection of modernist furniture and art. [01:27:16] EJ describes mealtimes at home: their diet. [01:33:00] Celebrating Christmas [01:30:38] EJ describes favourite childhood books – enjoying the physical experience of books. [01:43:00] Childhood games. EJ mother dissuading her from active sports. Her happy childhood – family holidays.

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