Jan Francl

* 1940  

  • “Well and this is how it started with the signaling. Because Vily, as a musician, played the trumpet with the firefighters. When there was a fire, he played the trumped to signal fire. There used to be a pub where the community center stands nowadays. He stopped at the pub to have a beer and that’s when he heard somebody signaling the fire alarm on the trumpet. He previously already had to hand in his own trumpet because the Bulgarians were supposed to manage it themselves but now he heard that fire alarm. He was fully consumed by that trumpet signaling so he went home and took the keys to the church tower. On his way to the church, he met Ondra Mikoláš, a Bulgarian. He asked him if he hadn’t heard the fire alarm. Ondra said he didn’t. So Vily ran up the tower to get a view of the village. Meanwhile, Ondra waited for him downstairs, looking after his bike. Vily didn’t see anything so he came down again. But before he could even walk down the tower, there were police men waiting for him. They took him to Drnholec to the police station. Because of course, he had taken his flash light with him to the tower and somebody saw it and reported it to the police. They even did a police reconstruction of it and found out that the beam of the flash light was barely visible from the pub. So they then let him go. But at first they took him to the police station in Drnholec, where they interrogated him. They thought that he was trying to signal to somebody in Austria, to make it possible for saboteurs to come to Czechoslovakia.”

  • “I went there again in 1975. It was around August, during the summer holidays. When I was getting the permission, I asked if I may take my camera with me. He said: ‘if you want to get rid of it, you should take it with you’. So I didn’t take it with me. When I saw the village I felt like crying. For the extent of devastation was simply overwhelming. It took just five years to devastate it. It really came as a shock and a big surprise to me that such devastation was possible. When came back home, I told my father about it. He said: ‘what makes you wonder about it?’ I don’t want to blame the people who came there after the Croats but it is a fact that many of them were gold diggers who came with nothing and left the place with carts loaded with all possible belongings.”

  • “My father worked at the machine station in Mikulov. There he got sawdust and wood shavings. We would store it in the neighboring house. We heated in the sawdust boiler and had to bring the sawdust to the boiler. As it was an old building, the roof was like this and the sparrows slept up there. We looked for them and lit it up with a flash light. Somebody saw it and because there was no way he could have said that we were signaling to Austria as from that side it could not have been seen, they claimed that we were sending out signals outside of the border zone in the direction of Drnholec for the saboteurs to be able to return from the border zone to Austria.”

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    Luhačovice, 11.10.2014

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    media recorded in project History and language of Moravian Croats
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Deported for being politically unreliable

Jan Francl was born in 1940 in Frelichov in south Moravia. His father was Czech and his mother was German, however, the majority of the dwellers of the village where he spent his youth were Moravian Croats. Jan Francl vividly recalls the year 1945, when the front line passed within a few meters of his house. Between the years 1948 - 1950, nearly all Moravian Croats were deported from the village for their alleged political unreliability. The Francl family was deported in April 1952 - being one of the families with the deepest roots in the village - on the grounds of the same argument. Their new home became the village of Jasenice in the district of Třebíč. Jan Francl has an active interest in the destiny of the village where he comes from. He presently lives in Luhačovice.