Josef Hlubek

* 1939

  • "Uncle Vilém, who had returned from captivity, brought me a tin cup, which I had hidden in the straw in the stall where the calves were. We had watering cans and a water supply, so I always rinsed the cup and I milked the milk with the foam. I drank it so my mother wouldn't know because she was afraid, she wouldn't meet the supply. And my uncle also taught me to drink eggs. I had a headless nail in the henhouse for that. I was weak, too small, so I drank eggs. I always had a little sugar first, we only had crystal sugar back then. It crunched between my teeth. So, I learned to drink eggs and I still drink them. You weren't allowed to back then. I had to dispose of the shell quickly, the chickens ate it immediately. If my mother had found out, I would have got spanked again."

  • "My father was once taken from the field. He was plowing at a brickyard where they were burning bricks. They came for him in a car, took him from the field and didn't say anything to my mother. He wasn't home for three days because he was locked up with the cops. The horses stayed in the field until the evening. And because every horse hits home when it started to get dark, they came home with the plow they were pulling behind them. The plow was always carried on the wagon, never on the road. They came down the road from Ostrava to our gate and there they roared. Mother opens the gate and sees the horse and plough. She was worried about where her husband was, where dad was. She and her neighbour Emil Kočí took lanterns, there were no torches, and went to the fields. They walked around the field looking to see if he was there, if he had fallen down or had a heart attack or something. In the morning they went there again to look for him, but again they didn't find him. They saw where the plow had finished plowing, they saw where the horses had turned around and were pulling the plow behind them. So, the mother went to the cops and they said: 'We got him here. When he signs the JZD [unified agricultural cooperative], we'll let him go.'"

  • "An order came that grandpa and grandma had to be deported because they had put the children in a German school. My parents had a mixed marriage, so they wouldn't have to, but my mother said: 'No. They're not going alone. If you want to expel them, my husband and I and the children are going too.' And they said: 'Okay. You want to go, you'll go too.' We had a wide gate, like they used to have on the farm, and it was open. I remember we were standing in that gate and my parents were saying goodbye to the farm. And the new owner was already standing on the well in the yard, with his legs apart. He was waiting for us to leave. But as chance would have it... A commissioner walked down the street, at that time after the war, there wasn’t a not the chairman of the national committee, but a commissioner, and he knew my mother very well. Then he told my mother to give him the order, he tore it to pieces, threw it on the ground and told the waiting man: 'You get up and go away. They are staying here.' He had the power here because when the Russian army was approaching from Darkovičky and from Děhylov, he and a few more accomplices took the Czech flag and went to meet the Russians. And the Russians immediately made them the leadership of the town."

  • "I was in detention once, I don't know what for. It was in the autumn, the cows were grazing in the meadows. Suddenly I heard our horses. I knew them by their footsteps. And I heard my father's 'prrr'. The schoolhouse was wooden, and I could hear my father's footsteps coming down the hall. He opened the door, whip in hand, and said: 'Home! Home at once! What are you doing here?' The teacher, Čermáková, a teacher of Czech language, told him I couldn't go home because I was in detention. My father said: 'You're not going to feed my cows. Go home immediately and don't let him be in detention again. He has work at home.' She said it in the staffroom and all the teachers were afraid to let me in detention."

  • "The supplies were really high. We had five cows before they took the cattle to the common housing, milked by hand. Every morning I had to take the milk to the collection point. It was in a jug. I had a hook on my bicycle, and I would hang the jug can on it, or my mother would hang it on my bicycle, and I would go to the collection. One day my jug fell, the lid opened and the milk spilled out. How I got spanked! It was actually guarded. If the milk wasn't turned in, they asked where the milk was. I got spanked so much I couldn't sit still at school. The teacher, her name was Čermáková, asked me why I didn't sit down. I said I couldn't because I had a boil on my bottom. But if she had pulled down my shorts, she would have seen how blue my ass was. I got spanked this much. It was cruel."

  • "Before the Russians came, an order was issued that we had to move out, go somewhere else. It was called ‘flichtovat’, it was from German. My father prepared a wagon with a tarpaulin and we went as gypsies, but only to the neighbouring village of Malánky. We were hidden in the barn of a friend. We kids slept in the barn, my parents slept on the wagon in the barn where there was hay for the horses. But we were there only for a day and we went back because we had cattle at home that needed to be fed. In the evening we drove home across the fields. That night a bomb fell in that barn. We were very lucky. If my parents had been there a few hours longer, I would have been an orphan. We came home and by then we had two horses and also a foal. When the Russians came, they took the foal away from us. Again, we didn't sleep at home, but at a neighbour’s house so they wouldn't know we were back. I watched through the cellar window as the Russians shot my favourite foal. They took the meat, the hams, and the rest of it to the sandpit. It was very stressful for me because I saw it. Then we went back to our house and in early April 1945 a phosphorus bomb fell on our barracks. It also hit St. Markéta Church and another house in Vinohradská Street. The house immediately started to burn down with the stables. My grandmother and I stood in the barn and watched it burn. People carried buckets of water from the well, but it was useless. The roof burnt completely. I remember because my grandmother cried a lot. She was holding our hands and shaking."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 30.05.2022

    (audio)
    duration: 02:17:37
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
  • 2

    Ostrava, 06.06.2022

    (audio)
    duration: 02:19:56
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
  • 3

    Ostrava, 09.06.2022

    (audio)
    duration: 01:38:14
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

If it was not for the communists and collectivisation, I would have been a farmer all my life

Josef Hlubek / around 1959
Josef Hlubek / around 1959
photo: archiv Josefa Hlubka

Josef Hlubek was born on 17 September 1939 in Hlučín, in the former German Reich. His parents farmed a farm with sixteen hectares of fields, one of the largest in Hlučín. He remembers many dramatic events from the World War II in Hlučín. Their farm was heavily damaged by a phosphorus bomb in April 1945. After the war, the family escaped deportation to Germany at the last moment. After 1948, the parents resisted pressure for several years to join a unified agricultural cooperative. The father was publicly denounced by the communists as a kulak. Joseph was expelled from agricultural school because of his background. After compulsory military service, he started working as a truck driver. For almost twenty years he worked as a foreman of freight transport in ČSAD Hlučín. After the Velvet Revolution, he got back twelve hectares of fields and meadows which used to belong to his parents in restitution. He then farmed privately for more than twenty-five years. He was instrumental in the repair of many crosses and small religious monuments in Hlučín. In 2022 he lived there.