Actress, politician and civic activist Táňa Fischerová dies at 72

Táňa Fischerová, photo: Michael Erhart, Czech Radio

The well-known Czech actress Táňa Fischerová has passed away at the age of 72. Fischerová, who was also an MP for some years and ran for the post of president, will be remembered by many for her civic activities and charity work.

Táňa Fischerová,  photo: Michael Erhart,  Czech Radio
Actress Táňa Fischerová, who died on Wednesday at the age of 72, appeared in films by such directors as Antonín Máša, Jaromil Jireš, Miloslav Luther and Karel Kachyňa.

Equally well-known as a stage actress, she was thrown out of the renowned Prague theatre Činoherní klub in 1973 for political reasons and was then little seen for around a decade and a half.

Fischerová signed the A Few Sentences petition in spring 1989 and following the fall of communism eventually entered politics.

She was elected as an independent for the liberal Freedom Union in the 2002 general elections and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2013.

Speaking to Czech Radio a few years ago, she said had gained a lot from her time as a politician.

Táňa Fischerová and Waldemar Matuška,  photo: Barrandov Film Studios
“That insight into the whole system and into individual people was very interesting.

“At the same time, I learned a great deal about many different fields, because if you’re voting on something you want to know about it.

“Not that you can master everything. You can’t know everything about 200 items on the lower house agenda and you need to rely on somebody else.

“But most of the time when I relied on our party’s deputies group I didn’t vote correctly, as I hadn’t looked into the whole thing for myself.”

But as much as regular politics, Táňa Fischerová, who had a mentally handicapped son, poured her energies into civic activism, working with numerous NGOs, charities and foundations.

Among those activities, she served as chairwoman of the Czech Helsinki Committee, and its director Lucie Rybová had these words of praise for her.

Táňa Fischerová,  photo: Vlasta Bicakova,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 4.0
“Mrs. Fischerová was one of the most selfless, bravest and kindest of people.

“Alongside looking after her son, she devoted her time to helping all kinds of organisations, including the Czech Helsinki Committee.

“Though she was seriously ill for some time, she never forgot those in need.

“She had a lot of energy and above all she didn’t think about herself but put others first. That’s very rare in today’s world.”

Among the many others to pay tribute to Táňa Fischerová was Dagmar Havlová, who said she had been her best friend over four and a half decades and described her as unselfish, sophisticated, educated and loving. Indeed, Fischerová was one of the witnesses at her fellow actress’s wedding to Václav Havel.

One-time dissident and current ombudswoman Anna Šabatová said she particularly valued Fischerová’s civic and political engagement, which she said was moderate when it came to words but courageous, wise and visionary in terms of substance.