Richard Alain Belcredi

* 1953

  • "Then we drove in, we came from the west, to Brno. We had arranged to meet our relatives, my cousins and my aunt, at the Grand Hotel by the train station. And we were to drive in. There were no city maps in that direction, no navigation system. I thought to myself, we'll somehow get in there, because the train station is such a central point. And then my father says, ‘now you turn left, now you turn right.’ I said, ‘tell me, how do you know your way around so well? Do you live in this city?’ Of course, he laughed. He said, ‘nothing has changed at all. It looks just like it did when I left.’ Then we met here, at the Grand Hotel, had lunch with them, and then my father said, ‘so now I would like to go to Líšeň.’ And when you drive from the Grand Hotel to Líšeň, you drive up a hill, and then down and then up again and then all the way down. And as we drive up, my father says, ‘when we are at the top and when you look down into the valley, that's where the Belcredi family's property begins.’ And when we're up there and look down, my father says, ‘for heaven's sake, what happened here?’ There were these residential building, these typical communist prefabricated buildings, one next to the other."

  • "I think it was in Vienna, at my grandfather's place. At some point, he was allowed to leave [the country], and then he lived with my grandparents. My first impression of him was that he wasn't a healthy person. He was a heavy smoker, which, of course, leaves a negative impression when you’re at that age. But I couldn't communicate properly with him; my grandparents mainly spoke Czech with each other and were happy to see their eldest son again. I couldn't really establish communication with him, which was a pity, of course. One must also understand the situation. He was just glad to get out; he was surely under surveillance, too, and he had to sign all sorts of reverses just to get out at all. And one thing I also remember - there were the famous Tuzex vouchers. The Communists organized a kind of shopping system, Tuzex, where you could buy groceries and all sorts of things with these vouchers. And these Tuzex vouchers were bought abroad; my father took Deutsche Marks and bought Tuzex vouchers, put them in an envelope, and sent them to his brother. And so the family supported their son and brother in Czechia in his sustenance."

  • "There's the famous Telex from Heydrich to Himmler, in which Heydrich informs Himmler, roughly saying: 'For the continuation of our efforts towards the resettlement of deserving Germans towards the East, I recommend the complete expropriation and destruction of the following families.' And then all the family names are listed, including Belcredi. And something like: 'I request approval or permission to carry this out.' And this letter was sent by Heydrich a few days before his assassination. So, in other words, history sometimes takes a very... It's decided in a few moments, even one’s personal fate, in seconds. Because if the assassination hadn't happened, then these expropriations and the destruction of these families by Heydrich would have been carried out, and I wouldn't be sitting here today."

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    Brno, 26.01.2024

    duration: 01:43:03
    media recorded in project Bohemian nobility
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Behind the Iron Curtain, everything was gray and depressing. One was grateful to have grown up in the West.

Richard Alain Belcredi, 2024
Richard Alain Belcredi, 2024
photo: Natáčení

Richard Alain Belcredi was born in Munich and lives in Vienna, but he spends a lot of time at Brodek Castle near Prostějov, which his father acquired after 1989 through restitution. The son of Richard Belcredi, who was a refugee from communism, a journalist for Radio Free Europe, an organizer of foreign aid, and later the Czechoslovak ambassador to Switzerland, he acknowledges that as he gets older, he feels his Moravian family roots more strongly. The story of his family reflects the history of Czech nobility in the hostile twentieth century, including Nazism, post-war expulsion, and emigration after 1948, as well as post-war return and partial property restitution, which did not apply to all families. After his father died in 2015, he became the main caretaker of Brodek Castle near Prostějov.