Alois Matěj

* 1924

  • "When the Russians got to Šumperk, they could go on to Bludov along the main road, and from Bludov the bridge over the Morava was blown up, so they weren´t able to get any further there. So they got from Bludov to Bohutín and from Bohutín they could cross the bridge to the main [road]. But the bridge was blown up again, so they were not able to get there again. So they had to take the narrow road to Bartoňov. I don't know why the concrete bridge remained intact in Bartoňov. So the whole convoy that was heading for Prague went through Bartoňov. There we could watch them or shake hands with them. Then they got to Olšany and then on to Prague."

  • "It could have been in the forty-first or forty-second year. Where there is a pub in Bartoňov, so there is another street next to the road and there were four or five farms there - the Janek family, the Šimek, the Haintl, the Matys, the Diviš families. So the Haintl, the Matys and the Diviš families, those three farms were confiscated by the Germans and occupied by Germans from somewhere in Romania. So those three farms were already occupied by the Germans after the year 1938."

  • "Bread was made at home. Once every 14 days there was a bread trough. A bit of dough was left from the last baking, it was called sourdough, a little water was poured over it and it was left until morning. In the morning, or I think in the evening, my mother, to make it rise, added flour and made dough and in the morning she rolled the dough into two loaves of bread [and put them] into big round straw baskets. By that time I was already going to school in Ruda (nad Moravou), and as an older boy I would take the bread to Ruda by a wheelbarrow. It was baked there, the wheelbarrow was left standing by the baker´s, and when school was over I would stop there and bring the bread home. Those two loaves of bread were for 14 days. And not like today, it didn't harden and lasted 14 days."

  • Full recordings
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    Radomilov, 29.09.2022

    duration: 01:41:31
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

There were more stones than potatoes

Alois Matěj in his youth
Alois Matěj in his youth
photo: Witness´s archive

Alois Matěj was born on 21 March 1924 in Bartoňov, Šumperk region. At the age of two he contracted polio, which had serious lifelong health consequences. His right arm got paralysed and he underwent several operations on his leg. It was probably because of his health limitations that he was not called up for forced labour during World War II. However, the labour office sent him to the glassworks in Rapotín, twenty kilometres away, and only after two years did he manage to switch to the Olšany paper mills. In this job, because of persistent problems with his leg, he refused to be standing up during a remembrance ceremony for Stalin and Gottwald in 1953. He was then reassigned to another job, and Alois Matěj, fearing further consequences, gave his notice. Until his retirement he worked as a clerk for the Czechoslovak railways (ČSD) in Hanušovice. In 1956 he married Zdenka Johnová and in the following six years their three sons were born. The family then lived in a two-room house in Radomilov, which was only connected to the water supply in 2010. Since his wife’s death in 2019, he has lived alone in remote Radomilov.