Jiří Hájek (born June 6, 1913 in Krhanice near Benešov , Austria-Hungary ; † October 22, 1993 in Prague ) was a Czechoslovak Communist Party (KPČ) politician , later dissident and spokesman for Charter 77 .
Hájek joined the youth organization of the Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) as a young man and was also the organizer of an anti-fascist group. These activities resulted in his arrest in 1939 and being in German internment camps during World War II .
After the Second World War, he was elected a member of the National Assembly as a candidate for the ČSSD in 1945. After the merger of the ČSSD with the KPČ in 1948, he remained a member of the National Assembly until 1958.
After working as a lecturer at the University of Politics and Economics, he was appointed professor for international relations at Charles University in 1953 . He was then Ambassador to Great Britain between 1955 and 1958 , before he was Deputy Foreign Minister until 1962. From 1962 to 1965 he was permanent representative of the Czechoslovak Republic to the United Nations (UN) in New York . From 1965 to April 1968 he was Minister of Education in the government of Prime Minister Jozef Lenárt .
In 1968 he was one of the supporters of the Prague Spring reform course initiated by the new General Secretary of the KPČ, Alexander Dubček . Under Lenárt's successor as Prime Minister, Oldřich Černík , he was appointed Foreign Minister on April 8, 1968 . During the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet army units to crush the Prague Spring in August 1968, he was on vacation in Yugoslavia . During these events he traveled to the UN in his capacity as foreign minister and denounced the invasion of the Soviet troops there, but on the other hand he rejected any interference by Western Europe . After his return to Czechoslovakia on September 19, 1968, he was forced to resign from his post as Foreign Minister.
As part of a political cleansing within the KPČ, he was expelled from the party in 1970. In 1977 Hájek was among the first to sign the Charter 77 , a petition published in January 1977 against human rights violations by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. At the same time, he became, alongside Václav Havel and Jan Patočka , one of the leading spokesmen for the opposition movement that emerged from Charter 77 . In 1988 he finally founded the Czechoslovak Helsinki Committee , a group to monitor compliance with human rights in the Czechoslovakia.
Hájek has received numerous awards for his services to human rights:
- Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize , first prize winner 1987
- Knight of the French Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur), 1993.
- Literature by and about Jiří Hájek in the catalog of the German National Library
- Short biography in rulers.org
- Czechoslovak Ministries
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Hajek, Jiri|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Czechoslovak politician and leading figure of the so-called Prague Spring (1968)|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 6, 1913|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Krhanice , Austria-Hungary|
|DATE OF DEATH||October 22, 1993|
|Place of death||Prague , Czech Republic|