Josef Tvrzník

* 1931  

  • "Then I came out of the technical college and Harus began to act. He was a member of the parliament, who claimed we will not do any philistine trincets, which is a useless, but build a heavy industry. And in 1949 they were liquidating bijou factory in Jablonec. But those were billions of losses done in the city. The Germans built such amazing base for industry with precision, accuracy and perfection and we were just binning it. Lifetime work was being putted into scrap! In 1952 (the communists – editor` s note) were building technical school. It was so well equipped, that even though I worked there for for 45 years, I worked on it and knew what it was supposed to look like, we never got back to the 1945 level. Any material technique, in all aspects (after war – editor` s note) was there in the technical school. And we cancelled it all in 1952. Imagine, that after war we did something like that! You know, whoever from those youngsters didn` t experience it, could not imagine it at all! It was crazy! In 1960 we figured that we could produce (bijou – editor` s note) for the Soviet Union. So we created Jablonex, export company. We built it near the dam. Behind it we built bijou factory (Jablonecka bijou – editor` s note) and there we were making from the leftovers we collected the same bijou, although it was a matter of fashion. We worked with the old machines… with old pressing machines and only changing it slightly from time to time."

  • "In 1945 our Czech boys took it down (the statue of knight Rüdiger at the Upper square in Jablonec nad Nisou – editor` s note). As during the war and before that he was always a knight, who was against violence. And he was encouraging Germans not to let themselves be raped by the Czechs! That was the gro of it! There was always some… some kind of organisation like NSDAP and all those parties they had, they always focused on the Rüdiger statue. It was all the same: ,Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil.‘ All the swastikas, fanatised people, mass of manipulated folks screaming… And all those torches! When I remember the statue, I always remember the issues around it, always some celebrations. It was a symbol of theirs. As I said, it was a symbol of no humiliation nor oppression! That was the idea behind it. For those, who agreed and who (now – editor` s note) fight, it was a beautiful statue… I say of course, it was a beautiful statue. But now it is fifteen years since the end of war (in May, 2016 it was 71 years – editor` s note) and we were not able instead of the statue… those Czech boys, we familiar boys took the Rüdiger down… And we Czechs in Jabloncec were not able to do anything properly Czech in fifteen years. It was… the idea… was terrible for me. You know I remember all those things… well I do not have a good feeling about it. Sometimes I tell myself that people are unteachable. You know why? Look at those parties in Slovakia; just very similar to those henlein folks with torches!"

  • "With children, who we normally went to during the first republic… so we knew each other with the German boys. We were flying kites together, went up to Jungen-Spielplatz (todays Žižkův vrch in Jablonec nad Nisou – editor`s note). We lived normally together. I could not speak German, so I used Czech and they understood. We just did. But then the German army marched in and they had to join Hitlerjugend. And they properly manipulated them in Hitlerjugend. At that moment I became their worst enemy. And where we met each other, I was beaten, spat on and kicked around. They wore small knives and got German belts. It was amazing how they equipped them. They also told them, it will be so and so and Hitler wants it that way and it had to be like that. Not all of them agreed and it was not easy. They taught them hate us. Those ideas of theirs – ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    v Liberci-Radčicích, 24.03.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 05:24:06
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

When our school inspector came into the classroom, we had to sing Deutschland, Deutschland über alles

Josef Tvrzník, 1947
Josef Tvrzník, 1947
photo: archiv pamětníka

Josef Tvrzník was born on 21 March, 1931 in Jablonec nad Nisou. As a young boy he experienced an increasing tension amongst Czechs and Germans. He witnessed many marches and gatherings of Henlein fans and fanatised Germans. During war he attended a Czech single class school in otherwise German school in Pivovarska streed in Jablonec. He remembers liberation of the town by the Red Army. After war he studied High School of Artistic Technology and later started working in Jablonec as a toolmaker and engraver at the national administrator in Lučany nad Nisou. During 1952-1954 he served a basic military service at the mechanised unit in Jince in Brdy, where he participated in creating an army running unit Dukla Jince. Since 1954 he worked in a companz Naveta as a toolmaker for five years. He described a fall and liquidation of bijou industry in Jablonec after 1948. In 1959 he started as a teacher of engraving and technical subjects at the Secondary School of Artistic Technology in Jablonec. In 1972-1976 he did distant studies of pedagogics and technical educationat the Charles University in Prague. In 1991 he retired. Until 2005 he continues in his pedagogic praxis as an external teacher at the Secondary School of Artistic Technology in Jablonec nad Nisu. Currently lives in Liberec-Radčice.