I was happy to be able to return
Josef Cejpek was born on 14 April 1944 in Boňov near Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. His parents were among the many people who went to resettle the Czech border region after World War II. They appropriated an abandoned farm in Leštnice (German: Lexnitz) near Slavonice. The witness was only one year old at the time, and so he came to see the village almost as his native home. When the Communists came to power in Czechoslovakia, security was increased on the borders with non-socialist states. In 1951 a forbidden border zone was created along the state border, and this affected a number of the villages around Slavonice, including Leštnice. In December 1951 the inhabitants living in the forbidden zone were evicted. The Cejpeks were forced to find a new home further away from the border, and they settled in the nearby Slavonice. His parents were promised a flat in the town under the condition that they would take up employment at the Czechoslovak State Forests. Josef Cejpek attended primary school in Slavonice, he then learnt the craft of coachbuilder in Brno, completed military service, and got married. He was not allowed to return to Leštnice until after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. However, by that time almost nothing was left of the village.