Jaroslav Lobkowicz

* 1942

  • “In 1950 Křimice Hall was taken over by the National Cultural Committee. That comprised many educated people, people who understood culture, and they decided to turn Křimice Hall into a state mansion, which will be shown to people. They employed my father as the castellan, which was very nice of them. They even wrote that my grandfather had the right to live in the mansion for the rest of his life. Things were looking very good, and so we were happy we would be able to stay in the mansion. I was eight years old then, so I can remember it a bit. At the time they did a stocktaking of the mansion, everything was inventoried, everything was labelled NKK [NCC], National Cultural Committee. They put the labels on everything, even on our toys. Everything was inventoried and everything had the NKK label. Some of the things we have at home still have their label. That was in 1950. Early in 1951 the Pilsen Škoda Works, which were called the Lenin Works in Pilsen back then, and it claimed Křimice Hall as a lodging for its trainees. So the whole mansion had to be moved out. We could only keep the things that my father had in his flat. We had to move into a different building, into the former brewery, which was furnished with the things from my father’s flat, which was also labelled NKK, and still is.”

  • “At the time I had applied to the University of Mechanical Engineering and Electrotechnics, and I wanted to study electrotechnics. That’s a field of study that has nothing to do with politics, it is a purely technical matter. But I received a paper saying that some committee of people had decided that there was no room for me at the technical university. A few days later there was a newspaper article where they wrote they were still looking for more applicants to the technical university. My father wrote there and they replied: ‘Yes, we are looking, but for children of working-class origin.’ My father was a road worker at the time, you couldn’t be more working-class than that, but they just wanted children of working-class origin, and that was that. Then with the help of other quite good people, who wanted to do something, I was able to train as a television repairman. That was in Kutná Hora, and I have fond memories of it to this day.”

  • “They approached me early in 1986, someone asked me to give a lecture for a private group, which consisted of about three hundred people. The short lecture was titled Forty Years A Bit Differently For Once. My lecture was about how things developed in Bohemia after the war. It was quite interesting, I had it prepared, it took about an hour. I closed it off with a quote by Jan Amos Komenský [a 17th century Czech teacher and philosopher of international renown - transl.], and everyone started tapping their head and saying: ‘He’s gone crazy.’ What I said there was: ‘He who has lost his estate, has lost nothing. But he who has lost hope and patience, has lost everything. He who surely does not want to wait until the evil passes and the good returns, how can he be helped? Thus, dear man, never lose hope.’ I had it loosely translated from German, and that’s how I quoted it. Many people then said: ‘He must have gone crazy.’ But then, a few years later, they came to me, they had it - it had been published in some brochure, and they wanted me to sign it for them. ‘You were right.’”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 09.07.2014

    duration: 02:04:46
    media recorded in project Bohemian nobility
  • 2

    Praha, 01.09.2021

    duration: 01:11:59
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

“He who has lost hope, has lost everything.”

Jaroslav Lobkowicz
Jaroslav Lobkowicz
photo: Eye Direct filming

Ing. Jaroslav Lobkowicz was born on the 16th of August 1942 in Pilsen as a descendant of one of the most important aristocratic families of Czech origin. He grew up in the stately home in Křimice, which the Germans placed under forced administration during the war. In 1945, the family regained the estate and the farmlands belonging to it, but due to the ensuing land reform and nationalization both the farmlands and the stately home were confiscated in 1950. The family continued to live in Křimice, but they moved out of the mansion, which was transformed into a hall of residence for the Škoda Works in Pilsen, and into the building of the estate’s brewery. After graduating in 1959, Jaroslav Lobkowicz was denied a recommendation for university studies of electronics on the grounds that he is not of working-class descent, although at the time his father was employed as a road worker. Jaroslav trained to be a television set repairman, and he worked in this occupation until 1968. In August 1968 he decided to emigrate to the Federal Republic of Germany, legalizing his immigration by marriage. In Germany, he graduated from electronics, and until 1993 he worked for Siemens. In 1993, he decided to return to his homeland, where he regained ownership of the stately home in Křimice and the surrounding farmlands through restitution. He and his French wife have raised three sons. Jaroslav Lobkowicz is an active politician, in 1998 he secured, and then repeatedly defended his parliamentary mandate for the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, initially standing for the Christian Democratic Union - Czech People’s Party, later for the fiscally conservative party TOP09 (Tradition Responsibility Prosperity, founded in 2009).