Ing. Jan Sklenář

* 1922

  • “What happened was that since I was not among the first ones who joined the agricultural cooperative, they confiscated my good and well-fertilized field behind the village and included it in the newly established cooperative. The first people who were no longer able to farm otherwise joined the cooperative in 1956. I joined as late as 1958. They exchanged my nearby field for a deteriorated field where nothing grew and they still demanded that I deliver the same amount as from my original field. I therefore requested that a commission comes and conducts an official yield inspection so that they can see how much one can harvest from this field which I was forced to rent. Nobody came until autumn, when a so-called purchasing deputy arrived. His name was Smutný, he was from Grygov and he was in charge of inspecting the deliveries for the state. He came for an inspection and he found out that we had a pig of about hundred kilograms, and that we had not delivered the required 140 or 160 kilograms of meat. My pig was thus confiscated. I was not at home and my wife then told me that I was to go to the village administration office where the purchasing deputy was awaiting me. I came there, it was about six o’clock in the evening, and he didn’t say a word and wrote a notice for me that the pig had been confiscated because I had not met the delivery quotas for pork meat. I already had three children. I told him that I had not been able to meet the quota, and that I had requested an official inspection of yield, but that nobody had replied and nobody had come. I had thus delivered what I had been ordered to. Since I was supplying the food for my family myself, I had kept the pig so that we would have a living. He didn’t care and continued writing the notice that I was to surrender the pig. I got so angry and as I saw him sitting by the table and writing it, I couldn’t hold my temper, and I grabbed him under his neck and slapped him. The secretary who was sitting against me immediately held me back, and the deputy called the police. The police arrived and they interrogated me until the morning because I was a kulak who disrupted the deliveries and attacked and insulted the employee of state, the purchasing deputy. There was a great trial and I was charged with three offences: insult to a state official, attack on a state official and obstruction of the police.”

  • “When Skokánek (Jan Skokánek) picked up the weapons, father told us that they would come. They arrived two or three days later. There was Géryk (police officer Vladimír Géryk) and two policemen and the staff captain Skokánek. We helped them carry the full load of the truck to the hops drying room provided that they would take it away before the harvest starts. But the policemen took away a small part of the weapons after a short time, and as the were transporting them, the whole thing was discovered and all the policemen involved, including their leader staff captain Skokánek who organized it, were arrested. They got arrested and the transport of weapons was thus over. Since the hops harvest was about to begin, father was worried about what to do with the rest of the weapons in the dryer. Everyone was afraid to touch it after the policemen had been arrested. I and two of my siblings therefore began carrying the weapons from the dryer into our attic. We were doing it at night, passing through the neighbour’s house, where we hid them. Certain policeman, Mr. Solnický (police officer Ladislav Solnický), was coming to us, because his task was checking the weapons so that they would not get damaged by moisture. Since the dryer was an older construction and the roof was not too good, we had to repair it ourselves every time it rained so that water would not leak inside. All people who were arrested during the first stage were executed in Breslau, because death penalty was the only punishment for organizing resistance and hiding weapons.”

  • “It was on Saturday when they were murdering in Přestavlky and setting houses on fire. I went there immediately and I saw the two Mačák men lying under the poles that were used for growing hops, and one of them was wrapped in duvets. But I didn’t know why he was covered with duvets. He was dead, shot dead. There were many angry people. A car with rifles arrived and everyone went to the car and picked up a rifle. So did I. Now we saw a car going from Hostkovice to Vacanovice. We lay down near Přestavlky, ready to shoot at them. But they drove to Vacanovice, turned there, and the German car then went back in the direction of Hostkovice, Velký Týnec and Olomouc. They didn’t go to us. If they had gone in the direction of Přestavlky, we would have started shooting. When they left, everyone was afraid to carry a weapon, and we thus put all the rifles back to the car. And the car then drove away, I didn’t even know where.”

  • “They dismissed me from school because I was a kulak, a village rich. When the cooperative went bankrupt, nobody wanted to serve as its leader. Their agronomist was sentenced to three years in prison. There was no harvest. And when there is no harvest, there is no money and you cannot pay. The district committee of the communist party thus ordered the person from the agricultural administration who was responsible for hiring to convince me to take the position, because he know how everyone worked. People from the administration, from the district committee of cooperative farmers, kept coming to me for two months. I was telling them: ´You have kicked me out from the school. Why do you keep coming to me? I had been working as a farmhand for nearly two years. I will take the position, but only if you let me finish the college.´ The party committee held a meeting, and in order to save the cooperative, I accepted the position of the chairman, and within two years, our cooperative ranked among the first in the district. We had yields and productivity, and we were able to pay.”

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    Vacanovice, 03.12.2013

    duration: 03:06:12
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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When the Party deputy did not reply and continued writing the notice, I got angry and slapped him

Jan Sklenář
Jan Sklenář
photo: archiv pamětníka

  Ing. Jan Sklenář was born in 1922 in Vacanovice in the Olomouc region in the family of the second largest farmer in the village. Shortly after the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by the Nazi Germany, the family hid a large supply of weapons from the resistance organization Defense of the Nation on their farm in July 1939. After the hiding place had been discovered, his father Jan Sklenář was arrested in 1943 and threatened with death penalty. It was only thanks to the help of his friends and the initiative of the German state prosecutor Roland Jarosch that he was eventually sentenced “only” to six years of imprisonment. His son Jan Sklenář Jr. was likewise suspected of collaboration with the resistance, and he was interrogated by the Gestapo in Olomouc several times. His father not only survived the prison, but he also endured the death march at the end of the war, and after several months of medical treatment he was able to return home. Jan Sklenář Jr. took over the prospering farm in 1950. The communist regime already began with the collectivization of village farms at that time. Jan Sklenář refused to join the agricultural cooperative and he suffered harassment from local officials. In a conflict situation, Jan attacked a deputy of the ministry of purchasing, and he was consequently brought to trial. His connections eventually helped him and he was thus released with a two-month suspended sentence, but he had no choice but to join the Unified Agricultural cooperative (JZD). As a so-called kulak he was forced to terminate his long-distance study at the college of agriculture. Local officials knew of his expertise, and when the cooperative was on the brink of bankruptcy, they appointed him as an agronomist. Jan Sklenář accepted the position under the condition that he would be allowed to finish his studies. He proved successful in his job and three years later he became the chairman of the cooperative. He still lives on his native farm.