There were more stones than potatoes
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.