Jan Kotešovec

* 1937

  • “It wasn’t. [the electric current] was only a bit away, one kilometre up here and one kilometre down. Later they kept extending it further and further. And then a few years later we were connected to the mines. They put the electric wires up top and we were connected to Ujbánye and a few years later it was connected up to the system and everyone had electricity at home. When I started out they didn’t metre electric usage. Everyone paid based on the number of light-bulbs and whether or not they had a radio. Light-bulbs and radios were all there was. Later an iron or a washing machine…”

  • “My Dad died when I was fourteen years old. He was a tailor by trade and didn’t work in the mines. We worked with the livestock, we drove the asbestos from here to the factory in Hlubotina. My Dad did that, he drove the asbestos ore with the cattle.” - “So he didn’t mine it himself?” - “No.” - “What happened to your father?” - “We don’t properly know. He left for the market in Severin to buy livestock and never returned.” - “Was it ever investigated? Did you ever try to find him?” - “Very little, because that was when people were taken from here to Bărăgan. At that time they took the people by force to Bărăgan. We don’t know. They made it as if he’d drowned. They found him in the Danube.”

  • “Down near the Danube they’d ploughed six metres. From here to Eibenthal whoever had livestock and a yoke, once or twice a month we had to go down and plough. It always had to be freshly ploughed, so you could see if someone had run away across the Danube.”

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    Eibenthal, 09.09.2022

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Dad disappeared when families were deported to Bărăgan

Jan Kotešovec, September 2022, Eibenthal
Jan Kotešovec, September 2022, Eibenthal
photo: Post Bellum

Jan Kotešovec was born on 14 May 1937 in Eibenthal in Romanian Banat, where he also later grew up. During the Second World War, he attended the local Czech school and at the time of the 1944 Romanian coup d’état, he witnessed the retreat and flight of Romanian soldiers from the village. After completing fourth grade he stayed with his parents to help them out on the farm and for several years his Mother sent him to the Romanian school in Orșova. While the deportation of the population of Bărăgan was being carried out, the witness’s father František Kotešovec disappeared and his body was found several days later in the Danube. He spent his military service in the town of Brașov, previously Orașul – Stalin, he says he was assigned to the Securitate as a radio telegraphist. After finishing his service, this witness earned his living as an electrician, getting the necessary qualifications. Eventually, he would remain in the profession for 44 years, retiring in 1998. He says that in order to keep his job under the previous regime, he entered the Romanian Communist Party. In 2021 he was interviewed as part of the Stories of our neighbours (Příběhy našich sousedů) project. He is currently still living in Eibenthal and belongs to the handful of farmers still keeping a cow for their own use (September 2022).