Matěj Kalina

* 1942

  • "Whoever signed up with them [the Communist Party] had better rights. But I didn't sign up. My father used to say to me, 'Don't join any ´partir´, this communist meeting of theirs. 'Don't join any of them.' He was also talking about the Germans. It would turn over and they'd kill you innocent, as they'd taken them to Baragan, where they were in a mere field in the willows. They showed it often it on TV. They took them there, they were in willows and water. That's where people lived. Whoever died, died. And the ones that lasted, they made a little bit of a roof for a couple of years and that's how they lived there, in Baragan. Some stayed there, they had nowhere to go. That's how these communists abused them there, who took them to Baragan."

  • "We should have had a field down behind Pârvova, there should have been the village of Šumice. But the Romanians, so they arranged for the engineer, in Romanian public notar, who made the Czech writings, to give everyone a field... The Romanians from Korna made arrangements, took him and gave him money - gold coins, it was during Franz Josef's time, and he gave the field to them. Where our village was supposed to be, he gave it to them, it's doing well there. And he gave us where we were supposed to have pastures. And there was a forest, a big forest. Every night they went to music, to drink, to dance, so I heard. When all the legal matters were done, they said to him, 'Come on, Mr. Engineer, let's do one last drunken dance.' He went and they poisoned him. They split the money and stayed with the field. Then they drove us Czechs out here where we were supposed to have pasture. Those grandfathers of ours had to cut wood with saws, they had a hard time making a living here before they made a field. Our village in the beginning was down, when you go to the cemetery, there is a little ravine on the left and they call it Zakutaty even today. That's where the first houses were built by the first Šumice people under the beech trees."

  • "We also had to plant wheat, rye, oats, whatever we could. But from that we had to give a quota. Under Ceausescu and under Gheorghiu-Dej we gave the quota to the Russians. How much wheat we had, how much we had... of everything we had to give. We took hay all the way to Jablonica with the cows. I was there with my dad with the cows with the hay, we had to give quota from the hay. It was hard to live, we had to give everything."

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    Šumice, 14.09.2023

    duration: 01:23:32
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They divided the money, left the fields and drove us Czechs into the hills

Matěj Kalina in his youth, Šumice, 1960s
Matěj Kalina in his youth, Šumice, 1960s
photo: archiv pamětníka

Matěj Kalina was born on 25 February 1942 in the Czech village of Šumice in the Romanian Banat. His father enlisted in the army during the Second World War and the children had to be taken care of by their mother, who fell ill and died after her husband’s return from the war. Matěj and his siblings were thus brought up by their stepmother. He and his family lived in humble circumstances and from childhood he was engaged in farm work. During the communist regime, they had to take so-called agricultural contingents from their farm. Matěj completed four grades in the local school and later attended the Romanian school in Lapušnik. From 1962 to 1964 he did his military service and after returning to the village he got married. The couple remained childless. Until his retirement, he worked as a professional driver in a timber factory and worked on the farm after work hours. After the change in political conditions, when families left the village in search of a simpler life, he and his wife decided to stay, which they later regretted. At the time of filming, the witness was living in Šumice (September 2023).