Jan Hanzlík

* 1944

  • “People used to go to Prague on 28 October, Foundation of the Independent Czechoslovak State Day. Back then, a boy told me that there were crowds of people near (the statue of) St. Wenceslas. So when they were choosing people because they wanted to send a bus to Prague, I told my manager that I would go there because I was interested in it. It was something, we got off the bus, all the streets around the Wenceslas Square were full of yellow Antons (police vans) prepared for people. Back then, Štěpán was giving a speech there, and he was already changing (his opinion) a bit and was talking also about Masaryk. When we wanted to go to the toilet, we could not go to the metro, there were People´s Militias everywhere so that nobody could escape to the metro, they were ready in case something happened so that they could beat people and there were many police officers everywhere. At that time they were handing out banners, and a Mr. Holý from Kamýk, I did not know he was a convinced communist. They were handing out banners and I told him to go before they gave one to him and in a moment, he was walking with the banner and I thought that he was an idiot. I was curious what would happen there so I was there and you could already feel that it was about to end but I would never think that the regime would fall in a few days.”

  • “Not to fulfil contributions was sabotage and there was a punishment for sabotage. My father was first imprisoned for a month at Christmas of 1952. He and Mr. Alois Bučil were in Pankrác Prison and they did nothing the whole month. They could not lie down on a pallet, they caught Mr. Bučil sitting on the pallet so they cut the father of six children bald. They spent their time hollowing out a chessboard in the wooden floor and playing checkers, making the pieces out of bread. It was worse the following year. They arrested dad in 1953 and imprisoned him during the harvest season, so he was imprisoned in August, for six weeks when he was supposed to harvest. However, the farmers came, and they helped us to thresh, so we somehow overcame it. What else I should say... The following year on 7 September 1954, a policeman came to our house and said that when dad came from the field, he should take his ID and military identity card and he should come to the police station. So when dad came from the field, he did not even eat and went there. And he did not return for a long time, so our mum sent us to look where he was. Well and Mrs. Šedivá who lived in front of the police station told us to send mum to see her. Well, and she told her that they had taken dad away.”

  • “The village of Milín was bombarded a lot. When I was little, burnt cars were standing by the road from Smolotely to Milín. And (there was) a lot of ammunition, when we were children, many of us would bring the belt to the machine gun, we [as boys] would throw it in cans, light some alcohol and throw it in and it would fire. There was a lot of ammunition everywhere after the war, in Milín forests and also in Smolotely forests. The boys would wear belts, burnt vehicles were standing there, and the plasters of the houses were blasted off from so-called strafers. You could tell that the war had been there.”

  • “I remember that in 1962 or 1961, they came to imprison a Mr. Vondrášek from Těchařovice and he was working with horses close to the village. A woman told him: ‘Mr. Vondrášek, policemen had arrived at your place.‘ And he knew what it was about, that they were going to arrest him, so he took the reins off the mare and hung himself. Back then, his funeral took place in Chraštice, which is about three kilometres far from Ohař, so we went there, I do not know if we were two or three in the horse-drawn carriage and my father let us sleep in the carriage. But at the funeral, it was a farmers´ demonstration. The village of Chraštice was full of horse carriages, roadsters, it was a silent protest.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Krašovice, 19.01.2022

    duration: 01:25:03
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Krašovice, 06.02.2022

    duration: 56:07
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The relationship to the landscape that a person develops since childhood is missing here after forty years of communism

Jan Hanzlík during his military service in 1963
Jan Hanzlík during his military service in 1963
photo: witness´s archive

Jan Hanzlík was born on 30 July 1944 in Smolotely as the second of four sons. His parents owned a farm in Smolotely where they successfully farmed since 1936. He remembers how they played as little boys in the neighbourhood of Milín with military ammunition which had been left there after the combats at the end of the war and how charred military vehicles were standing along the road. When Jan´s father Karel Hanzlík repeatedly refused to join the united agricultural cooperative, local communist officials started to take interest in their family. His father was sentenced for not fulfilling contributions, first at Christmas in 1952 and then during the harvest time in 1953, always for only several weeks. They took him to pre-trial detention in Příbram in September 1954 and in November 1954 he was sentenced to five years in prison for sabotage; The Court of Appeal in Prague reduced the sentence to one year. He spent the year in Jáchymov and he was granted amnesty in May 1955. The family was evicted to Žebrákov near Zduchovice from where they moved again after five years, this time to Krásná Hora nad Vltavou due to the filling of the Kamýk dam. The witness was not allowed to study at secondary school. He worked in agriculture and he graduated from a vocational school in Hluboš and Štěbroholy. After his military service in Jihlava, he graduated from a secondary school in Mladá Boleslav as an extramural student. He got married in 1966 and had two daughters. He saw a signing book The Two Thousand Words in Na Můstku street in Prague. He witnessed the Warsaw Pact troops occupation in August 1968 when the soldiers were staying in the meadows surrounding Jelence near Příbram. He could go on a sightseeing trip to the Soviet Union in the 1970s. In 1989 he was touched by the revolutionary events, and his daughters went to Prague for demonstrations. In 1990, he and his brothers asked for the farm in Smolotely to be returned, they only succeeded after four years. They farmed the land shortly but finally sold the farm. During the time of recording in 2022, Jan Hanzlík lived in Krašovice near Krásná Hora nad Vltavou and his biggest hobby and occupation was bee-keeping. He has about 150 bee colonies.