“My great grandfather was knighted. Families are ennobled by rulers for help, originally in the battlefield, later in economy and this was our case. My great grandfather was given the hereditary title of the free man of Mlaďatov, lower nobility, i.e. baron. It was signed by the last Austrian Emperor Charles I. We are noblemen of Mlaďatov but President Masaryk abolished all noble titles after 1918 and banned the use of aristocratic insignia. I mind a bit because we were ennobled by the Emperor of God’s will so any worldly power can hardly change it. We do not introduce ourselves by the title, we do not boast about it, people around us know it. And we were proud of it, as our family for ennobled for a reason. We are proud of it and even if aristocratic coats-of-arms are banned, we have a simplified version in our logo. When we were thinking of a logo, my management told me: ‘Why are you looking for a logo if you already have one. So we opted for a simplified coat-of-arms, which is not our coat-of-arms really. Before court, we could prove that this is not our coat-of-arms. I have it here in my lapel, it is a cogwheel and it looks like the logo of Rotary Club. It represents industry and our achievements in it.”
“My father worked for CZK 7.50 per hour with the moving group. My great grandfather had a significantly higher salary. I was invited into Škoda’s archive in Vodičkova street and they showed me some things belonging to my great grandfather. There were five departments and among them there was the A department. And there was a file on Šimonek with data on his salary. The sums ran into millions, but there were annual salaries. The salary consisted of the regular salary and bonuses. It must have been huge at the time. It was certainly huge when I was there, because my salary was CZK 3,000 per month, i.e. CZK 40,000 per year. Salary in millions, this was something quite different.”
“They wanted to move us into conditions that my mother was not willing to accept, there were rooms without floors. My mother said, ‘I left all my flats in proper order. I want no luxury but a normal flat. I have small children and I want a flat to raise them in properly.’ Then came the uncle Eduardo, Eduard Štorch, a writer to whom my great grandfather gave land and he built on it a large cottage in Lobeč. And he told my father, ‘Mirek, if my cottage is fine for you, it is yours.’ We took up that opportunity, moved in and my parents lived there till the end of their lives.”
We were made noblemen by the Emperor, therefore by the God’s will
Jaromír Šimonek was born on July 24, 1945, at the chateau Lobeč to Jaromír and Blažena Šimoneks. He is the great grandson of Josef Šimonek, the commercial director of the industrial group Škoda Plzeň, who was knighted by the last Austrian Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles I. The great grandfather Josef Šimonek bought, during WWI, the castle of Houska and chateaus Stránov and Lobeč, as well as the surrounding land. In 1948 all family property was nationalised. In 1951 the family had to leave the chateau in Lobeč and moved into a cottage of the writer Eduard Štorch, a relative of the family. Jaromír Šimonek’s mother worked in Zelenina company. His father worked first in the national forest company, then in agriculture as a tractor driver and later as a labourer in Škoda Mladá Boleslav, where his great grandfather was once a director, following the merger of Škoda Plzeň and Laurin & Klement. Jaromír Šimonek was not allowed to study the Secondary Industrial School in Mladá Boleslav, so he trained as a breeder. He went to college and then to the Agricultural University in Prague - Suchdol. During his studies he witnessed events such as the first May Festivities in Prague, Prague Spring or the burning of Jan Palach. On graduation he worked in Škoda Mladá Boleslav. After the revolution, the family was successful in their request for the return of the nationalised property. Mr Šimonek owned, with his sister Blanka Horová, the chateau of Stránov, the castle Houska and the chateau Lobeč near Mladá Boleslav, together with fields and forests around. Their farming operation consisted of 500 hectares of fields, 2,000 hectares of forests and 7 hectares of ponds. They also took care of all the roads and parks. Jaromír Šimonek died on 27 July 2021.