Josef Hrdý

* 1944

  • „Představte si, já jsem byl tak blbý, že jsem nechtěl nic. To znamená, že za ty roky, co jsme byli vystěhovaní – za nájem za nové stodoly, nové prasečáky, nové vily jsem nechtěl ani korunu. Hlavně, že dostaneme zpátky statek. Tak vypočítali, počítalo se to tenkrát podle hektaru, co nám sebrali, ukradli. To znamená: stroje, dobytek, takže jsme dostali náhradu – tenkrát asi dva miliony sto korun. Takže polovička byla pro maminku, dva brášky a mě a polovička celá připadla mamince. Představte si, kdybych chtěl nájem, tak to mohlo být o tři miliony víc. Byl jsem ale optimista, tak jsem to prostě tak bral.“

  • „Začaly represe. První represe byla, že tátu odsoudili na měsíc do vězení – to bylo někdy v roce 1953 – jen proto, že zúrodnil louku, kde tekla voda na Hořánku, na kopci směrem na Komárov, a osel to. Řekli, že se chce obohacovat, že zemědělský plán takový nebyl a dali mu měsíc basy a 200 000 pokuty. To bylo první seznámení s režimem. Pamatuji se, že tatínek byl uvězněný v Chrudimi a dělal na Křižanovické přehradě, kde jsem byl s maminkou za ním na návštěvě. Pamatuji první mříže. To mně zůstalo také v paměti.“

  • „There was the court verdict, dad was sentenced to ten months in jail, loss of all civic rights, confiscation of all property and he was not allowed to reside within 20 kilometres of Ředice. My mom, because she co-owned the estate, half of it was hers, and she donated it, voluntarily and with great joy, to the Czechoslovak state. Dad was forcibly moved at the autumn of 1955, and, so that I could finish the semester at the school in Holice, so we moved to dad half a year later. We were in contact, we telephoned, we had a telephone central in our house. When we came to that Šnakov to which he was forcibly removed, it's a part of Vysoké Mýto, we lived in one room and father commenced his imprisonment. I and mom were all alone for ten months.”

  • "Kdo měl víc jak deset hektarů, tak byl kulak. Já vzpomínám, když jsem byl malý kluk, tak v jedenácti letech, vyvěsili na stodoly - to nebyly jako dneska všude baráky, to byly stodoly u silnice... Tak vyvěsili plakát, kde dali takovéhle břicho - aby bylo vidět, že je ten kulak přežranej, že vykořisťuje ty ostatní. A napsali tam Špatenka, Hrdý a tak dále - všechny ty, co měli víc jak deset. A já jako malý kluk pamatuju, že jsem šel ještě se dvěma nebo třemi večer - to byla odvaha, ale mně to nedošlo - jsme ten plakát šli strhnout. Aby tam nebyl." "Who owned more than ten hectares of land was declared a kulak. I remember when I was a little boy, about eleven, they hung up on those barns - it was not like nowadays, houses all over by the road, then it was barns by the road... so they hung a poster where there was [a man with] this big stomach so that everyone could see that the kulak was so fat, that he exploited the others. And they wrote Špatenka, Hrdý and so on, everyone who owned more than ten [hectares]. And I remember, that as a boy, that I went with two or three others in the evening - it was quite reckless but I did not get it beforehand - that we went to pull the poster down. So that it wouldn't be there."

  • “So they sent us, as a school, to pick potatoes or thinning up beet or cutting of the beet green, to help some agricultural co-op. Because the kulaks working on their own who did this in two people, at the co-op, there was a plenty of people but, well, they never managed to do it on time, so these work groups were invited. And, I, even back then, used to say, 'So tell me what to do and I'll do it, and yes, sure, when you will have it done, you're finished, you'll be left in peace.' Imagine, well, this is another memory. So I was done with my job in, dunno, say, three hours, the others were supposed to be doing it for five, so I was finished and sat down. A teacher came, the who was to look after us, and he says, 'Go help that one, he can't manage'. I was really stubborn so I said 'Right, I'm going nowhere, you said and so on and so on who will do that.' So I was called to the Headmaster's office and so I got my first Headmaster's reprimand. I never had any other issues but I got the Headmaster's reprimand because I did not go to help a schoolmate.”

  • „So I took some paper and wrote to Comrade President Novotny – obviously to his hands – but it went to his office, and now I elaborated on how I trained in this and that, that I had… there were no photocopiers back then so I just claimed that I had excellent grades and so on. That I was accepted for study to technical school of agriculture and it ended up this and that way and that I would be grateful if they could review it somehow. Imagine, in a month – and now I don't know whether I took it with me, maybe I did – I got a reply from the district committee of the Communist party in Chrudim in which it stood: Dear So-and-So, and how I would have to quote if I was reading this, well, just, we reviewed, it was transferred to our office, that your request or complaint to the President's office regarding your study at the secondary technical school, we, after a review, are presenting this resolution. You were not recommended for study at the secondary technical school of agriculture in Litomyšl from the local chapter of the Communist party and then because of how you behave in your workplace.”

  • „The truth to be told, I was graded somewhat differently, it's true but it was good for something because when I got a 3, as a boy, I felt that it was not fair but the Headmaster said in the pub: 'You know, Pepík, we gotta do it this way.' And that was it. We took our revenge, though, I ganged up my schoolmates aged six to ten and then, they started to introduce 'Hail to the labour!' and 'Comrade!' and I told the boys, and we would say 'Good morning, Headmaster!' Well, it was terrible, wasn't it. I don't know, maybe there was no sense in it but I felt it as a sort of resistance, and when I saw how scared they were that they wouldn't manage to introduce that people are addressed 'comrade' and greet 'Hail to the labour' so then I had that little good feeling.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Horní Ředice, 03.05.2019

    duration: 50:56
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Hradec Králové, 14.01.2020

    duration: 03:48:40
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

They could return to their own house but first, they had to buy it back from the state

In a dance class. Štíty, 1960
In a dance class. Štíty, 1960
photo: archiv Josefa Hrdého

Josef Hrdý was born on the 19th of October in 1944 in Pardubice to an old family of estate holders who lived in Horní Ředice near Pardubice. After the Communist coup in February 1948, hard times fell on the family. The father was declared a kulak and enemy of the state, as such, he had to meet higher produce quota and he got lower prices for the produce he delivered. During the 1950’s, the estate was searched many times, during one search, the officers confiscated a family chronicle that charted the family history back to the end of the 17th century. Josef Hrdý senior refused to join the Unified Agricultural Cooperative which was established in 1955 and in the same year, he was sentenced to ten months in prison, loss of civic rights and confiscation of all his property. A part of the punishment was banishment to at least 20 kilometres away from the previous place of residence. From HR, the family thus moved to Šnakov in Vysoké Mýto. After some time, they moved once more, to Blížňovice near Chrudim. Josef Hrdý junior could not pursue any higher education so he started working in the repair shop of a state farm. After some persistence, he was allowed to go to a trade school to apprentice for a smith and farrier. He graduated from the school as best in class but he was not allowed to study further. Only after having finished his compulsory army service, he was able to take distance courses and graduated from the secondary technical school in Chrudim. In 1968, the family was allowed to return to the estate in Horní Ředice, however they had to buy back a house that was a part of it. In 1970, Josef Hrdý got married, they had two children together with his first wife. Apart from his day job, in his glass house and in his garden, he grew vegetables for sale. During the Velvet revolution, he was the head of the strike committee in the Moravany branch of the Czechoslovak Automobile Repairs. After the company was unsuccessfully privatised and fell apart, he started an agricultural business. He grew and sold cattle, which he kept doing until he was diagnosed with a grave illness in 1995. In present, Josef Hrdý lives on his estate in Horní Ředice.