Jiří Bárta

* 1934  

  • “The Russians behaved in their own way. At first they asked us whether we had vodka. We offered them vodka. But then they asked what time it was. My dad pulled out his watch. They told him to give them the watch. Dad did not want to. He said: ‘That’s a keepsake from my mother who had bought it for me.’ But they forced him in quite a harsh way to surrender it, and dad had to give the watch to them. The front passed through here on Friday, and on Saturday the army continued in a skirmish line towards Klimkovice. I could see that the line was spreading apart as the soldiers were advancing, because our field slopes down from north to south in the direction of our village. I could thus see the soldiers spreading on that slope all the way to the horizon, which is about one kilometre. I saw them advancing, but we did not witness any more fighting.”

  • “At that time it was already somehow obvious, and it was getting worse when they were confiscating our machinery and ordering delivery quotas which were impossible to meet. This led to an increase in agricultural tax. Our situation was complicated by the fact that our cowshed building was not completed yet. The constructor who was building it for us withdrew from the project, because his business became nationalized, and the construction was taken over by a state-owned construction company. This company had different standards and our parents therefore had to take other loans for that. They got into an even greater debt and the situation became critical. On top of that, they confiscated our machinery, and then there were penalties and imprisonment for not being able to pay these penalties, and so on. It was such a burden for my father that in 1953 he died. What made matters even worse was that my older brother Otakar, who was drafted to the Auxiliary Technical Battalions at that time, had to stay there for an extended service period and father thus remained alone for all the work on the building, which was an extremely demanding task. People who were helping us were drafted to the military service. It was intentional to bring my dad to a situation like this. This caused him a lot of stress and eventually it led to a heart attack, which was the cause of his death. The funeral of my dad was a kind of protest, because about four thousand people attended. We have photographs. Since the Poruba housing estate was being constructed at that time, it was no longer allowed to bury people in the cemetery in Poruba. The funeral procession thus walked to the neighbouring village. The procession stretched from the cemetery at the outskirts of Vřesina all the way to the Poruba city limits. It was a massive event, there so many people. As our fellow citizens later told us, plain clothes StB officers attended the funeral as well.”

  • “I applied to study at the university. I changed the school, because due to the circumstances in my family I decided to let go of my original plan to study forest management. Therefore I applied to the College of Mining in Ostrava. I was admitted. But when I enrolled, some gentleman, I don’t know whether he was the head of the personal department or who he was, came to me and informed me that I would not be allowed to study due to my negative personal political profile. He said that I didn’t have a recommendation from my village’s administration office and that they were not interested in allowing me to study. And so I found a job and my mom and I focused mainly on earning a living for us. We were gradually getting ready to move. In the following year I applied to study at the university again. The outcome was the same and I thus had no other option but to start the compulsory military service.”

  • Full recordings
  • 4

    Ostrava-Poruba, 18.05.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 02:01:00
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The communists have destroyed my family and I cannot understand how come that the Communist Party can still exist

Jiří Bárta
Jiří Bárta
photo: Sběračka Scarlett Wilková

Jiří Bárta was born January 9, 1934 as the middle one of three sons of Bohuš Bárta, a respected and successful farmer who worked on the lands in Poruba, which is now the city borough of Ostrava. Their farm was damaged during the liberation of Ostrava in 1945 but the family managed to make it prosperous again soon after. The Bárta family however got into debt during the renovation of their farm. The communist regime made use of their situation in 1948. The authorities determined that the Bárta family was unable to deliver the required compulsory delivery quotas of agricultural products to the state and they classified them as kulaks. The family’s property was taken over by the Unified Agricultural Cooperative and the family was evicted to a small lodge without any water supply or bathroom. Bohuš Bárta died in 1953 at the age of fifty-three years as a result of the stress he suffered. His eldest son Otakar had to do military service in the Auxiliary Technical Battalions and Jiří was repeatedly not admitted to the university. His personal-political profile stated that he was a son of a kulak. He has been working as an ordinary construction technician all his life. After 1989 it took the Bárta family five years to settle their restitution claims.