Jindřich Hašek

* 1934  

  • “Farmers were very cautious, because they knew that something was in the air. And when the Unified Agricultural Cooperatives were started, nobody wanted to join them.” “And when was the cooperative founded here in Úhonice?” “In 1951. When a cooperative was formed, naturally, it was the smallholders who joined, they had no clue what it was all about. And when the wealthiest farmers did not want to join, as a result they were allotted the worst pieces of land, by the forest, where ground was rocky and not much fertile. And then they prescribed required amounts of crops for compulsory deliveries to them. This is a common practice for devastating private farmers, this was generally known. And when the farmers still resisted joining the cooperatives, they were accused of sabotage, of insufficient deliveries, of ruining the crops, etc. This was a common scene in every village.”

  • “I would like to ask about food and accommodation there?” “ It was terrible, terrible… I just remember it. The boys from the first group which arrived there told me there was no accommodation prepared for them; they just showed them a place where a grange was, full of grain! Before they could lie down, they had to put all the grain into sacks, then lie on the ground and cover themselves with blankets. That was the beginning. No toilets, but that was to be expected. And as for food, I don’t know, it varied. When it became unbearable, girls from our group began to cook, they worked in the kitchen. They simply released them from field work and instead they were coking for us, and this was fine.”

  • “The first farmer to get arrested was our father. We were working on a field, and there was a chairman of the local people’s committee, certain Lomoz, he was an electrician, a communist, and while we were doing the threshing, there were repeated electricity failures. And some good friends told my father that it was Tonda Lomoz who was doing this. My father and this Tonda were friends, and so my father comes up to him and says: ´Tonda, don’t do this to me, I can’t finish the threshing.´ But he was making up excuses: ´It was not me who did it, but before long you won’t be doing any threshing, anyway.´ He simply made my father mad, and my father beat him. And the following day we went to get some fodder, I remember we were scything clover and we saw a car coming from Úhonice. The car came directly toward us and they arrested my father right on the field. And he said: ´Bring the fodder home, I’ll be back.´ But he did not come back. He spent six months in detention for physical assault on that chairman. He was not tried at all, but that was normal back then.”

  • “Yes, we had ideological education there. I don’t remember his name, but he was assigned to us as an ideology officer. He was a guy of about fifty. After the first class we took him for a simple man, a self-taught type, you could say a primitive, who, after a two-week labour with us gave it up and said he would not do it anymore. Thus we did not have absolutely anyone above us. That was in the beginning.” “And do you remember what he was teaching you?” “Political things, mainly that the Communist Party meant well with us, that we would have a good time under the communism. General ideological prattle.”

  • “During the summer vacation of 1952 we were called to the office of the regional people’s committee. I did not know why, but there were already a number of other boys and they already knew it looked bad for us, that it was because of our dismissal from schools. Two officials stepped forward and they explained to us that our studies were now being interrupted, and that we had to go to work on collective farms in order to avoid the negative influence of our parents, who were educating us in a wrong way. If you prove worthy after a year’s time, you will be allowed to continue your studies. This is what they literally told us… And a half of us believed that. At least I thought so. We received work placement orders for a state farm in Albrechtice, a cooperative in Osoblaha-Studnice. And we simply had to report there on September 1st. I was still putting it off and I did not go there in the first month. My father was telling me: ´You will not go anywhere, this is injustice, instead you can do apprenticeship as an electrician for instance.´ I tried several places, asking them to hire me, but I was still followed by my personal evaluation given to me by the Union of Czech Youth in Úhonice , where it clearly stated: ´incapable of reeducation, influenced by parents, in no way can be offered employment. Based on the order from the regional people’s committee needs to report for work in the cooperative.´ And this reference, written by the village’s council, followed me throughout my life, all the way to 1989. It is unbelievable, but this way a reference followed people everywhere they went.”

  • “When I got to Schlauderer, who was an owner of a large farm, he had 600 pigs and he was earning his money mainly through auctions organized in his name, he had many relatives. And every Sunday, when there was no work, he would take me on visits to those relatives and there I would have to tell them in my broken German how it happened with that agriculture of ours; they were also asking me questions about it. And the one thing I was never able to explain to them was – how was it possible that three bums could just walk into your farm and say: ´In the name of the people we confiscate this farm.´ This property… They simply could not grasp it and they kept asking: ´But how come, you had such laws, or how could this happen?´ Yes, that’s right, the communists made such laws allowing them to do whatever they wanted. Although I talked to them about it several times, they still could not understand how it was possible. How it was possible for one person to take private property from another! That was peculiar. In their country, property is inherited from father to son, generation after generation, in continual progress. What happened in our agriculture did not happen anywhere else, only in Russia and in our country!”

  • “The place I was in – Osoblaha – is such a forgotten region. Ninety percent of the population there used to be German, and when they were forcibly deported to Germany after the war, there were no people left to work the fields. It was a fertile land, it was even called Silesian Haná! And since the Germans have been deported, there was nobody – there were only Slovaks and Greeks, who fled Greece after a revolution had been put down there and who got asylum in our country. But they did not know how to do the work. Therefore we were assigned to local farms there. We were riding horses. Three boys and two girls, sixteen-year-olds, were milking 72 cows by hand! Nobody can imagine that today! But for children who knew this from their homes, who used to have six cows on their family farms, it was easy. But this was incredible. And the manager, some Polish man, was grateful to them. Eventually, we became very popular there! We did work a lot! And the State Farm Albrechtice recognized that we were really good workers and that it was a win-win situation for them. Then, for instance, when we played soccer on a meadow there, and we tried to organize matches with other villages, they bought soccer jerseys for us, gave us a tractor and a wagon for our disposal, and we toured the entire Osoblaha region and got to know it well. And we even had a group of fans from Osoblaha who were accompanying us to all matches!”

  • “What did 1989 mean to you and your family?” “I was not surprised by it, because we did anticipate it a little bit, but we did not expect the regime to fall completely. But most of all – when I saw the agriculture they had there, and came to touch with it, and saw how well organized it was there, I began to look forward to starting with it at home by myself. This inspired me and I was looking forward to it. But I had to fight for it! I have already fought over the restitutions of my property, while I was working in Omnipol in Germany. This return of our property was not a piece of cake, the affair dragged for four years!”

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    Úhonice, 26.05.2009

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How was it possible that three bums could just walk into your farm and say: In the name of the people we confiscate this farm

Jindřich
Jindřich
photo: pamětník

Jindřich Hašek was born September 6th 1934 in an agricultural village of Úhonice in the Prague-West district. His father, Jindřich Hašek Sr., was a farmer and as an owner of 23 hectares of land, he was marked as a kulak (a village rich) in 1951, arrested and imprisoned in Prague. The Hašek family’s farm was confiscated to be used by the Unified Agricultural Cooperatives. After his release from detention his father was only allowed to work in ore mines. Jindřich Hašek Jr. attended a secondary school of agriculture, from which he was however dismissed after the completion of his second year in 1952 during the so-called ´purging of agricultural schools of kulak children.´ Together with other similarly affected farmers´ children he went to work at the State Farm Studnice in the Osoblaha region for over a year. The farmers´ children did all types of agricultural work there, and so-called ´ideological evenings´ also formed part of their reeducation. After leaving Studnice, Jindřich Hašek joined the army; he also spent six months working in coal mines in the Ostrava region. Only the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 made the return of private entrepreneurship possible. The administrative process for restitution of property was swift and uncomplicated, and in 1992 Jindřich Hašek and his wife began farming on their land in Úhonice again. Former children of kulaks, who began to call themselves ´Green barons,´ still meet regularly.