Josef Wála

* 1932  

  • “The children from Germany arrived in 1940 and they stayed here. They came from cities which were being bombed. Whole schools were evacuated and the children were transported here to Czechoslovakia. Otava was taken over, and all other guesthouses were taken over and the children were accommodated there. It happened to our guesthouse, too, and to the inn which was owned by the Malířský family, and the same was true about the swimming pool facility at Václav, all this was taken over. But the children were destroying everything. That was horrible. The first wave of destroyers was already there. I don’t know who told them that, but they would take a roll of film, a roll of developed film, and those glass bottles with a patent cap and they would roll the film and set it on fire and then extinguish it and put it inside the bottle and it was smouldering, and they would close the cap and throw it into the pond. This was their entertainment. My father was shocked when he saw it. But he could not do anything, he was not able to do anything.”

  • “My second uncle was a confectioner. The poor man, he bore the consequences, too, but it was not his fault at all. All his efforts were in vain, everything got lost and destroyed. My other uncle was Mr. Hlavín, this is his butcher’s shop right here. Well, he had two sons, they were older than me. And it all got lost, too, all of it… My other uncle was baker Mr. Diesel. And this baker Diesel had his shop on Žižka Street, when you walk up Žižka Street and there is the furniture shop on the corner. And one corner below that, that was my uncle’s house. He had a bakery, a steam-operated bakery, the largest in the town. And do you know what they accused him of? That he baked bread for Germans. Well, when he had the largest bakery in the town, what else was he to do? But he had plenty of flour left and he regularly baked for our people, too, of course. And since he was able to sell without food ration coupons, without extra supplements, he was selling even without the coupons. And one day – I only know it because others have told me, I was not present there, but it is true – all of a sudden an inspection was to come to his shop. But he had been informed about it beforehand, there were some honest people, and they warned him: ‘Be careful, an inspection is coming to you.’ Grégr’s aunt therefore sent a wagon and horses there from the little chapel and they loaded all the flour that was left onto that wagon and covered it with some tarpaulin and they took it to the Grégr family’s barn. That would not have been possible during the communist era, because someone would have informed upon them, you know. Well, they took the flour away, and when the inspection was over, they brought it back again. And it was all right. And the people received bread, no matter what. Even if they did not have food ration coupons. But do you know what they did to him afterward? They accused him that he supplied bread to Germans, and therefore the communists evicted him from the house and they forcibly relocated him to Mirotice.”

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    Písek, 28.03.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 02:20:05
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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Dad has not done anything to anyone, he rather helped people than harmed them. But they evicted us nevertheless, and they stole everything

Josef Wála was born on April 9, 1932 in the family guesthouse in Honzíček in Písek. Both his parents came from relatively wealthy families - one of his grandfathers was a confectioner in Písek and the second was the head coachman who served the Emperor Franz Joseph. When his parents married, they purchased a small pub and they transformed it into a guesthouse which became quite popular. Due to his Austrian citizenship, Josef had to enrol in the German grammar school in Prague during the war. After the end of the war, his father was arrested due to his nationality and he died in prison in October 1945. All property of the Wála family, as well as that of his uncles and aunts, was confiscated and gradually stolen and destroyed. Josef Wála was not allowed to study at a secondary technical school, and he therefore went straight to work after completing the elementary school. With his wife they have two daughters.