Adolf Kopřiva

* 1957

  • “The best beginnings, the spiritual and cultural ones started with the Czechs and not the Romanians. That’s what I always tell the Romanians. They often don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. Here is where it all started, because it was the Czech nation, that came from the Czech Republic, who brought all the newfangled things that had never existed here. Some among them were erudite craftsmen. I mean there were some special people here in Svatá Helena, our ancestors, they were exceptional people, especially those who came from the Czech Republic. Look how Svatá Helena is organised. They were wise men, who set up Svatá Helena. For example the iron plough was introduced here in Svatá Helena, which hadn’t been anywhere else. By Czech nation, I mean both Svatá Helena and Gerník, they used to have, not so much today because most people have left, but they used to have this special influence on the whole region. We Czechs were thought of and treated as a special kind of people. Everyone says: “Be like the Czech, like the Pemi!”

  • “As Czechs we were respected locally. We were honest people, much in demand, including at work we were held in great esteem. These were bold, industrious people and excellent craftsmen. They were placed in the mines in special positions or in positions of responsibility. I know that I myself experienced this.”

  • “At that time, around the years 1962, 1963 this strange transformation took place in Svatá Helena. They were opening the mines in Moldova Nouă and the newest thing for us was the electricity lines being built here. That’s high voltage 10 kW. It runs from Orșova, where the iron gates are, all the way to Moldova. I remember when that electricity line was being built. There was one team here in Svatá Helena, digging pits and assembling those tall iron pillars, we used to play on them. I remember well they were putting it all together and as my father said: ‘this little squirt is four or five and he’s seen a tractor, he’s seen motorised trucks.’ I remember that was the time we first had Tatra trucks imported, a ten-tonne vehicle, our jaws hit the floor. Because this was amazing to us, when we had the cows out to pasture we’d always run to this small hill, Kohoutek (Cockerel) it was called, from there you could see the road by the Danube where vehicles drove. We gawked at it and were happy to see a car drive past.”

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    Svatá Helena, Rumunsko, 18.10.2021

    duration: 01:21:02
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Be like the Czechs, like the Pemi!

Adolf Kopřiva at the age of 33 when he worked as a preacher
Adolf Kopřiva at the age of 33 when he worked as a preacher
photo: witness´s archive

Adolf Kopřiva was born on 8 February 1957 in the Czech village of Svatá Helena (Sfânta Elena) in Romania. He grew up here in the 60s together with his parents and siblings, watching the transformation of the lives of the local inhabitants, as ore mines were opened near Moldova Nouă. He attended the local protestant church with his father, where eventually the Unity of the Brethren Baptists took charge. From the age of fourteen this witness was active in the Baptist orchestra and later became a pastor of the congregation. He was initially trained as an electrician and worked in the profession for over fifteen years down in the mines. Shortly before his military service he was invited to join the Communist Party, which he refused for religious reasons. From the age of twenty he was a Baptist preacher, but was only officially appointed in March of 1990. In the years 1993–1998 he studied at and graduated from the Faculty of Theology in Bucharest. For over 40 years he has lived with his wife in the Romanian village of Șușca and is currently serving in four Unity of the Brethren Baptists congregations.