Josef Hocz

* 1936  

  • “It was an agreement between the two governments. I don’t know if it was under Gottwald or under Beneš. Simply put, they agreed to swap minorities. That the Slovak from Hungary would go to Slovakia and the Hungarians from southern Slovakia would take our places. Except it messed up somehow after a while. But we were already on our way. We had Slovaks come visit us to persuade us to move to southern Slovakia. For instance, we from Gerendás were supposed to go to Kameničná near Komárno, where most of the people from Gerendás live. In short, Slovaks, mostly teachers, would come to talked us into moving. They were well fed, well watered, and they talked.”

  • “They moved us in next door. To number 238 I mean. Except in the meantime Mum’s parents moved to Kameničná [in Slovakia]. About a year later we moved to live with them in Kameničná, and then came back again three or four years later. We got a house in Kameničná in exchange for our house in Hungary. Except there was all kind of bribery, corruption going on there, and they kept refusing to give it to us. Mum took us all and came back here to the Jeseníky. Then we lived in the Four [a part of Jeseník - trans.] for about two years – that’s at the entrance to the city – and then a place freed up over here by the mill. We moved three or four times.”

  • “When we used to take the pigs out to graze in Gerendás, we’d also play football there with a rag ball. There was a sweep well there. We’d pull each other up on the sweep. The boys pulled me up and then let go. I fell down on my arm from that height. It was about four or five metres. I broke my arm, my bones were overlapping. I’m still crippled in that arm.”

  • Full recordings
  • 4

    Jeseník, 10.08.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 01:37:29
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

From the Hungarian lowlands to the mountains of Jeseníky

Josef Hocz - 1951
Josef Hocz - 1951
photo: archiv pamětníka

Josef Hocz was born on 20 July 1936 in the village of Gerendás in Békés County in south-eastern Hungary. His family was part of a community of Slovaks who had settled in the area in the early 18th century, when the country was still part of the Habsburg Monarchy, to replace population losses from the Ottoman-Habsburg wars. Under an agreement on the “exchange” of inhabitants between the Czechoslovak and Hungarian governments in October 1947, the family remigrated to Czechoslovakia. But instead of the promised destination of southern Slovakia, they ended up in the northern Moravian border town of Jeseník. Aged a mere 15, Josef Hocz was employed as a sawmill labourer, where he worked for forty-seven years, until his retirement. As of 2018, he still lives in Jeseník and is now probably the last living native of Gerendás to inhabit the Moravian borderlands.