Štefan Klepaček

* 1950  

  • “I was born in 1950. I hail from a mixed family. My father was Czech and my mother was Hungarian. My mother’s family came to the area (ed. note: near Bela Crkva) seeking jobs and a better living. My mother’s name was Teresa and my daughter got her name after her. The unwritten rule in the family was that you could not speak Czech or Hungarian – only Serbian was allowed. When I went to the primary school I enrolled for the Czech class, which still existed at the time. When my father found out that the class had the same teacher who had taught him he immediately had me removed from the Czech class. He said there was no need for me to go through what he went through in his time. Back then, teachers had more of an authority and they enforced discipline using sticks or rulers.”

  • “Czech music really attracts me. I love music, and one of my teachers pointed out to me that, as well as Czech folk music, there were also remarkable pop and rock artists such as Jaromír Nohavica, Čechomor, Zdeněk Svěrák, Václav Neckář, Karel Gott, Aneta Langerová and Vlasta Redl.”

  • “When in high school I was one of the founders of the school band. We didn’t know Latin very well even though we learned Latin in school, and we called our band Antipax believing that it meant we were restless – not that we were against peace. So we were all officially disciplined…”

  • “My mother was a housewife and my father was a craftsman. We were not rich – living on a single salary is difficult. But we lived in an area where there were many Romanians, Germans, Serbians and Hungarians, and when necessary we would all help each other. Neither my childhood nor my adult life was easy, but I hope I gave back to the city and everyone who had helped me with my work.”

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    Budova Českého domu, Bela Crkva, 06.07.2017

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I hope I gave back to the community and everybody who had helped me with my work

Štefan Klepaček dobová fotografie.jpg (historic)
Štefan Klepaček
photo: archiv pamětníka. Současné foto: Jelena Đorđević

Štefan Klepaček was born on 20 August 1950 in the small town of Bela Crkva in the then Yugoslavia to a Czech-Hungarian family, and they spoke Serbian at home. Bela Crkva is in the south of Banat, in the northwest part of Serbia near the Romanian border. Štefan Klepaček received his primary and secondary education in his hometown, and then served in the Yugoslav People’s Army. He graduated in economics in Belgrade and worked in the field. He joined the Bela Crkva Municipal Authority in 1982 as the Head of the Finance Department and then worked as a finance expert and receiver. He got involved in the local Czech community in the late 1990s. Since the Matica češka foundation was left in Daruvar, Croatia after Yugoslavia fell apart, he founded an association for the Czech minority under the same name in Bela Crkva in 1997. He still claims membership in the Czech national minority in Serbia and chairs Matica češka. He was also one of the founders of the Czech Nationality Council and chaired it from 2010 to 2015.