Ladislav Dosedla

* 1947

  • "I came from the apprenticeship to meet a foreman. When the head of the section said to him, 'Honza, you have a new guy here,' all I heard was, 'I don't want a brat like that, I want a man!' But there weren't enough people, so he had to take me. He didn't care what my qualification class was. I got a shovel and I was a helper to a miner. Fortunately, it was a coal seam where the coal was extremely hard. It was difficult, it was manual extraction. I was working with a guy who was just poking with the jackhammer. I was lying there for half an hour before he dug anything, then I'd use the shovel twice. Then I'd lay back down and wait for him to dig something. He kept making breaks, he was just weak. So I said to him, 'Don´t you want to switch places for a while?' He agreed happily. I grabbed the jackhammer, I don't want to brag, but I really had the strength of a bull, and I literally buried him with coal. At that moment that foreman was crawling down the cave-in space. Apparently he was looking at me for a moment, but I didn't see it, and he kept crawling. And when we came on shift the next day he says to me, 'You're going to be a miner.'"

  • "I was in the street opposite the town hall, where there were tanks surrounded by students. I also climbed on one tank. And one student asked a Russian what they would do if we took out our guns and went after them. The Russian just looked at the [city hall] tower and said, 'Boom, and the tower wouldn't be there.' I took it as a joke. They came to make order. But the Russians said they came to beat the fascists. I heard it with my own ears. They said there were fascists here. I thought, 'Well, they've come and will be gone again.' It wasn't just the Russians. The Poles were here, the Romanians, the Hungarians, the whole of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance [RVHP]. I wasn't traumatized by it, but it's a fact that some people took it too seriously. When I came for my shift, the vast corridor at Red October [Mine] was completely packed. I said to myself, 'What's going on?' The director was standing on the stairs to the showers, he had a microphone and he started saying that it was a dangerous situation, but he would like us to go down the shaft. He wanted us to take it as if nothing was going on. There was a foreman, I can't remember his name, but he had studied to be a parish priest. I guess he had some problems, ended up in the mine and he was a foreman. He literally chased the manager away from the microphone: 'You'd like it if they blew off the tower and we would stay down. Nowhere! There will be no going down the shaft.' So we didn´t go down. It was more or less a strike. I was very young, I was 19 years old. If nobody was going down the shaft, I wasn't going either."

  • "No mining, no plan was being met. Unfortunately. In the end, they [the mine bosses] decided to try with me. However, the team was upset after three previous foremen, they took everything as a joke. I had no choice but to tighten my grip. I told them straight out: 'A month. And if it doesn't work, I'm out and I'm out of the team altogether, and you guys can do whatever you want.' In the end, I remained there until retirement, even though I was removed several times.Because I wasn't in the [Communist] Party and they didn't like it. They threatened me several times that if I didn't join them, they would cancel my posisition. I heard such talk from the production deputy, for example. I didn't care. 'Feel free to cancel me.' They tried a couple of times, but it only lasted a few hours. When nothing was poured into a carriage, they knew it was bad, so they called it off again. And so my career went up until I retired, or rather until the shaft closed down."

  • "I was the last male alternative from my family who could stay there [in the cooperative farm- JZD]. I would have liked to stay there because I quite enjoyed the agricultural work. I was handy and they knew it, so they wanted me. They told me to go and study something. They even offered that I could study to be an accountant or even a livestock specialist. I didn't have any special results at school. I never had to repeat a year, but it was nothing special. I was offered all kinds of things, but with the condition that I would stay in the farm after completing my apprenticeship or school. And I didn't want that. I applied to become a machine smith in Brno at Zbrojovka. They did not allow me to go there. They said they didn't need a machine smith. And at that time there were only two options. Either you went to the army, they couldn´t do anything about that, or you went to a shaft. They couldn´t do anything about that, too. So I stole a march on them, and to this day I haven´t regretted it."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 14.02.2023

    duration: 02:08:07
  • 2

    Ostrava, 23.02.2023

    duration: 02:01:05
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Signing to a mine was the only way to escape cooperative farmers

Ladislav Dosedla, 1987
Ladislav Dosedla, 1987
photo: Witness´s archive

Ladislav Dosedla was born on 25 December 1947 in Znojmo as the second of eight children of Anna and Jan Dosedla. He grew up nearby, in Sedlešovice. His parents bought a farm there and farmed independently. Around 1953, they were forced to join a cooperative farm (JZD). His father spent three months in prison for beating a communist official. Ladislav Dosedla refused to be apprenticed at the cooperative, which was interested in him. He preferred to sign a contract with a coal mine in Ostrava. After graduating from the mining apprenticeship, he joined the Red October Mine in Ostrava-Heřmanice. When he was about 25 years old, his father committed suicide. The witness worked at Ostrava-Karviná Mines for 26 years. At the end of the 1970s, he started working as a shift foreman and then as the chief foreman of the extracting team. After reaching the maximum of the so-called dusty exposure and being transfered to the surface, he earned a living as a masseur. In 2023 he was living in Bruntál.