Ing. František Rybnikář

* 1946

  • "The communists went at it pretty shrewdly, like at us, kids, you know. We used to play football games here. The streets had teams of eleven players, and because they went to church regularly on Sundays, the game wasn't until the afternoon. And when the number one team played, they set the match on Sunday morning. So the kids wouldn't go to church, but they'd go play football. Or they made it so neatly that there was a children's cinema on Sunday afternoon from two - and they put it on Sunday morning at half past nine to lure the kids away again. Of course, it all had an effect. The party influence was always there. In school, they had to sing all the socialist building songs in the choir. Down with the tyrants and traitors, today the mean old world will die. We want life on earth, today there must be no woe. I remember all these songs. Even the Russian ones (singing in Russian). I know it all. The anthem of the democratic youth (again singing in Russian). And so on, and so on. I remember it better than if I took my medication."

  • "Whether it was religion, whether it was communion. We were brought up that way by our parents, but mostly our grandparents had an influence on the kids. When you think back on it now, the conditions we lived in and so on, I didn't hear any [complaint] from them. Even though they had taken everything away from them. You can't imagine when they are taking away your horses, when they are taking away your cows, property that has been handed down for generations. When they are taking away your fields, when they are taking away your machines and everything. And I didn't hear, at least from my grandparents... they thought it, but they didn't say a dirty word. They didn't curse anybody. I never heard a dirty word or a swearing or anything like that from them. They always had it in them, that modesty. My parents a little bit, because they were younger, so they experienced it differently. But they didn't raise us to hate. Like they would threatened them, you know, wait amd see, or anything like that. They took it as life was going."

  • "My relatives, when they [the communists] came to liquidate them, they took a machine gun and a pistol and shot at them, which was known because they were family. After that, the State Security men and militia men searched our house, searched the barn, the straw, poked the straw, the hay with pitchforks. They searched the blankets, the cupboards. But that's what my parents told me, because my parents sent us to the family so we wouldn't see it. And when it was written in my assessment, I was unverified. I got into the so-called Black Battalion in Kašperské hory. And there were officers who were on the so-called lost guarding post. Those who couldn't find a place anywhere else went to Kašperské hory. And they were mostly alcoholics, and they called musicians there. And those musicians had to play. I didn't get, even though I was a graduate of the agricultural university and I had the officer's exam, I wasn't allowed to be an officer because of that. Then they took away my graduate position too, but I got in because of the music and somehow I survived."

  • Full recordings
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    Hluk , 02.04.2023

    duration: 01:21:20
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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The street was full of militia men and people with machine guns. They started liquidating big farms

František Rybnikář during the conscription
František Rybnikář during the conscription
photo: Witness´s archive

František Rybnikář was born into a farmers´ family in the village of Hluk on 6 December 1946. His grandfather was conscripted to the Russian front during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then fought on the Italian front, where he was captured and pressured to join the Czechoslovak legions, which he refused. The other grandfather, on mother’s side, went to America at the age of twenty-one, from where he returned after ten years and built up a farm. František lived in the same house with his parents and grandparents, and the whole family farmed 12 hectares of land. At the end of the 1950s, the family was labeled kulaks, their farm was confiscated, as well as their animals and farm machinery, and the parents had to join a cooperative farm(JZD). Both his kulak origin and his religious beliefs prevented František Rybnikář from attending grammar school, and he was only allowed to study at the agricultural secondary school and later at the agricultural college in Brno. František Rybnikář, an amateur ethnographer, historian, lover of folklore and good fun, and above all a musician in body and soul, an obstinate “Austrian” and monarchist, and a contributor to the Painted Region magazine (Malovaný kraj), was living in Hluk in the Uherské Hradiště region in 2023.