Jan Janata

* 1936

  • "And I was registered as the son of a kulak, because the elected sectional foreman, who was supposed to work from the first of January, finally did not start working and it was beginning of April, it was thought it would be spring, it wasn´t spring anyway, it came late. I was supposed to take his job, but I was registered as a dangerous [person] that I might harm the cooperative farm. So I was being watched by a police officer, but fortunately for me he had good enough informers, so it wasn´t proved that I wanted to do any harm."

  • "They wanted to evict my father in May 1953, they must already have obtained a lot of signatures. But they came to a lady who had about four hectares, a small farm, they were meeting every obligation, they managed, two healthy people, no problem. When they came to them and they wanted the signature - people were afraid of the Bolsheviks, they would rather evict this Janata to have peace and not worry about it - but this lady was a devout Catholic and she was telling people, 'We can't sign because of the children.' Two years ago, when I went to the archives in Semily to look for these kulaks, I found out that Dad was still being registered [as one of them] in 1958, and from 1 January 1958 the cooperative farm started for the second time and for real."

  • "It was very unpleasant once. There were relatives and some support was needed for them too. The first two war years were terribly wet in the Podkrkonoší region, so there was a problem with the harvest. The straw was dusting, so what was surplus they put in boxes into bags, and covered it with this straw. My dad thought that if it raised dust, they wouldn't want to dig in it. But this one (the inspector) was good, he just found a convenient stick and pierced the whole straw. He started systematically from one side, and if he had pricked one more time, he would have been on the box. It would have turned out really badly for Dad."

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    Jilemnice, 09.12.2022

    duration: 01:10:27
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The communists wanted to evict them from the village, but a neighbour saved them

Jan Janata in 1962
Jan Janata in 1962
photo: Witness´s archive

Jan Janata was born on 28 September 1936 in Kruh near Jilemnice. His family had been running a farm there since the 18th century. During the Protectorate, the farm was checked because of grain, and one of the inspections nearly discovered the hidden stocks, which could be punished by death. During the World War II, the Nazis imprisoned the witness´s uncle Josef Václavík, who was active in the Sokol organization in Vrchlabí. The uncle was later imprisoned by the communist regime for almost ten years as a class enemy. The authorities also labelled the witness’s father a kulak in 1953 and local party officials planned to evict the family from Kruh. The Janatas were saved by a neighbour, Božena Pacholíková, who refused to sign the eviction letter. Jan Janata completed an agricultural apprenticeship in Jánská near Česká Kamenice and then joined the cooperative farm in Kruh as a section foreman. Later he left the cooperative farm and worked as a coachman at Sychrov Castle. In 1962, he married Marie Blažková, whose father refused to join a cooperative farm and was arrested by the communists. They had a son Pavel and a daughter Mirka. After the Velvet Revolution, both spouses got back their family land and farms, they decided to merge them and started farming on them. In 2022, the witness was living in Kruh.