I’m the third and final generation of wheelwrights. The craft will die with me.
Jan Jager was born on 28 January 1955 in the village of Eibenthal in Romanian Banat (recorded by the authorities on 8 February). He grew up in a family with a wheelwrighting history and became the third successor of this now gradually defunct craft. For long decades, the Jager family produced and repaired not just wooden wheels, but also assembled whole ladder wagons. The witness’s father worked as a miner in the local anthracite mines and only had time for his craft after the work shift was done. The witness lived the same way, after completing his eighth grade of school he worked for several years in the family workshop and looked after their small farm. At the age of seventeen, he attended a mechanical trade school, earned his truck driver’s license and worked as a driver during his military service. After returning home he worked in the surrounding asbestos mines. In the following years he completed a powderman’s course, but because he refused to join the Communist Party, he was unable to practice his new profession until the end of the 1980s. He worked in the local mines for over twenty years. In the year 2000 he retired and apart from his craftsmanship also participated in the activities of the Democratic Association of Czechs and Slovaks in Eibenthal. At the time of recording he was still living there (September 2022).