František Nedvěd

* 1948

  • “That was some time in April of 1956, when [our parents] returned to Eibenthal. Life with the communists started once more. You can believe my parents didn’t have it easy and the others: the Kobauers, the family of Dad’s brother the Nedvěds, the Fikls and there were more, they came back to nothing, they’d taken everything, all the furniture they had in their flats in Ujbányje. Nothing was left and they had to start all over again. I have to say that my parents, who died in their 60s, suffered a lot. In 1958 they asked us as small boys, when we were living in Ujbányje: ‘Where do you want to live? In Eibenthal or in Orșova?’ And as boys, small kids – we were eight or nine years old, maybe almost ten – we jumped up and we said: ‘We want to go to Orșova!’ (They bought a farm there in 1958, until a calamity occurred again. That great work came, when they built the hydroelectric dam on the Danube and the old town of Orșova had to be flooded and [my parents] had to build another farm. So my parents were only working and walking in fear.”

  • “We lived like small children until 1951, when that great communist accident happened, where the army picked us up at night around two o’clock at night, they waited for us with coal cars. We had to pack up, everyone who could took a pot, a blanket, duvet or children’s clothes. We had to climb up in the wagons that were our transport, all the people named on the list, down to the Danube. There soldiers with cars were waiting for us, they took us to Orșova. In Orșova at the station there was a wagon waiting for us, they loaded us up into a cattle car and we rode a few hours and kilometres without anyone asking if we wanted food, or the toilet, our parents said they knocked out a hole in the floor, for people to go to the toilet. That’s how we got all the way to Baragan, that’s where the army drove us out in trucks and distributed us among the fields.”

  • “I remember when we always used to climb the fence between neighbours and looked at the station and said, that’s where we’ll leave to visit Grandpa. But Grandpa Jágr visited us all the way in Comănești, here from Eibenthal it’s almost over 800 kilometres. At the time it was just steam locomotives. They travelled for two days and only brought us a little meat. It was in winter, I think some time before the New Year.”

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    Eibentál, 10.09.2022

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When they took us to Baragan, the people in the cattle cars knocked out a hole in the floor

František Nedvěd in September 2022, Eibenthal-Romania
František Nedvěd in September 2022, Eibenthal-Romania
photo: Post Bellum

František Nedvěd (Francisc Nedvet) was born on 3 October 1948 in the miner’s colony of Nové Doly (Baia Nouă) in Romania. His father was called Dominik Nedvěd and during the second world war, when Romania signed the Tripartite Pact, he and several other local boys were recruited into the ranks of the German Army. In June of 1951, the Communist Party deported the Nedvěd family from Eibenthal to the region of Baragan, where the authorities dropped them off in inhospitable plains. The family was later allowed to leave to work in the mining town of Comănești, from where they were only allowed to return home after 1955. Meanwhile, all their property was stolen. After 1958, his parents bought a house in Orșova, except they lost their farm, because between 1966–1976 the entire historical town had to make way for the construction of the Iron Gates reservoir. Neither one of them lived to see the fall of the Communist regime in Romania. The witness learned a trade in Orșova, where he later worked in the shipyard and entered the Communist Party. After 1990, he was financially compensated for his deportation to Baragan and is also a member of the organisation that brings together deportation victims. He worked in North Bohemia for a few years in the 1990s. He currently resides permanently in Orșova (September 2022).