Zdislav Chalupa

* 1922  

  • “It was hard work, but one got used to it. It was very hard at the beginning. You had to scrape out the rock, the coal, the rock. Then jackhammering three meters ahead. Then it was stripped, drilled, blasted off, picked up. Furthermore, you had to lay the tracks, ventilate, extend the water supply. When there were three of us, we collected up to fifty carts of coal. Two guys shoveled up front, another one walked with the cart, then we switched positions. Well it was some work! I lived in the barracks for over five years. I came back to Krnov for the weekends. When there was extra work, it was only once every two weeks.”

  • “Well what am I supposed to tell you? A harvesting work team came to Albrechtice. So we had to go there. We were there for three days. They told us the district would pay us for it. We never saw a penny. Then we went to Úvalno to dig potatoes. Also three days. Also nothing. But I still had to pay my own people. An employer has to pay his employees their weekly paychecks. This happened two or three times. Then the shops were instructed to complain about the goods. I brought my product and they complained about it. That was just too much.”

  • “Confiscated property. They called us gold diggers. But when you came there, locked all the broken doors, fixed the roofs, windows and everything and brought it into operation, then you did much more work than the entire business association, all those sitting on their asses in Prague.”

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    Ostrava, 30.06.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 01:50:14
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I started my business in 1947. One year later I had to hand in my business license

Zdislav Chalupa, 1960s
Zdislav Chalupa, 1960s
photo: archiv Zdislava Chalupy

Zdislav Chalupa was born January 24, 1922 in Opava. His father Rudolf Chalupa was an assistant at the local prosecution office. In 1936 the family moved to Brno where Rudolf Chalupa had been transferred to. Zdislav graduated from a Gymnasium. During the Protectorate he worked in the textile industry. After the war, he and his friend took over a destroyed textile factory in Krnov in the re-colonized borderlands as national administrators. They did well and had one hundred people working for them. In 1947 Zdislav got his business license and opened up a knitting workshop in Krnov. He planned to expand and had a good grasp of the area. However, he had to end his business after the 1948 communist coup d’état. He used to get into arguments with the communist officials in Krnov. One of the reasons why was the life story of his brother Vlastimil Chalupa who had collaborated with Petr Zenkl, leader of the National Socialists, emigrated and became an agent of the State Security. Because of various obstructions from the regime, Zdislav had trouble supporting his wife, two kids and other relatives who lived with them, which is why he started working as a miner in Ostrava in 1957. He worked in the mines until his retirement. Subsequently he found a hard manual labor in the Vítkovice Ironworks. In 1986 he got married for the second time with a woman almost forty years his junior. He has another two kids from this marriage.