Josef Zíka

* 1931  

  • "Suddenly, they arrived, the communists were already starting to go mad. They said that they're going to our place for the threshing machine and that they would take it from us. Everything, the engine and ... and I, because we had fence for the cattle, so I went there and I had a dog with me, and when I came from below, from the orchard, and I saw them, I started shouting at them, what they do there. So, they left it, they unbuckled it. They didn't take it away."

  • "We had a large farm, so one floor was added to the barn and those who escaped from the front were hidden there. Germans, the Sudeten Germans actually. And it was quite risky, our parents gave them food. But there were big barns, so one would get lost there. And we liked them and they liked us too.”

  • "It was there that we experienced the turning point [the beginning of the war], that people from the Sudetenland were employed at our place. And it was no longer allowed in the Czech Republic, it was forbidden. Well, despite that, they were still coming here and worked at our place and it was like that… Those people liked each other and there was peace. But the politics is crap. About ten people worked for us. At the border, those people, they knew they were going to work at our place. They didn't say anything, they let it go. It was such… the Sudetenland they were not supposed to, but they were in constant contact with us."

  • "Those who came were strangers. And when I came, the grain was being threshed there and one such a Bolshevik came there, saying that we did not enter the collective farm or whatever they wanted. And there was a lousy housekeeper, saying that the set had to be transported, but first, the grain must be threshed there. And I got upset then, I had the two dogs, I sent them and they chased them off the farm."

  • "It was, in short, there weren´t any machines, it was all done by hand. The sand must have been carried from the deep, a concrete slab had to be made there. Then it was built on that… And then we had to backfill it. That was such a bunker."

  • "Not that we wouldn't be welcome to come to the pub. To come to the pub, when there was an Auxiliary Technical Battalions soldier, people, the guests would hide him. And almost we didn't even pay. Not that we… We went there only when we were thirsty. And suddenly, there were so many friends at once. As one was an Auxiliary Technical Battalions soldier, he was welcome. They knew we didn't like it, the regime."

  • "Relationships couldn't take place there, because if necessary, they took, for example, ten soldiers from Auxiliary Technical Battalions and they took them there, and when they finish what they had, others went there. In short, it was - there was no permanent place where one could stay."

  • "When they brought us to Týniště, then, oh dear, it was like that 'The soldiers guarded the station, they took us away, we walked to the forest. These were military warehouses. So, they just put us together there and we went. And when we came inside the building: 'There's a pile of straw over there, so go there and lie down there.'"

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Albrechtice nad Orlicí, 11.06.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 02:00:32
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Albrechtice nad Orlicí, 15.01.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 02:00:25
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

During the war, they helped their neighbors, who then took everything from them

Josef Zíka in 1950s as a member of the Auxiliary Technical Battalions
Josef Zíka in 1950s as a member of the Auxiliary Technical Battalions
photo: archive of the witness

Josef Zíka was born on June 26, 1931. He grew up on his parents’ farm in the village Rozsedly near Sušice in Pošumaví near the Czech-German language border. From an early age, he was meeting German neighbors with whom his family had very good relations. He perceived Czech-German friendships even more intensely when the family farm became a shelter for forced German Wehrmacht soldiers. Soon after World War II, the family came into conflict with local members of the Communist Party. The conflict even deepened after the rise of the Communist Party in 1948. The Zíka family faced various forms of pressure to transfer their large farm to the newly established united agricultural cooperative (the state collective farm). At that time, Josef Zíka was sent into the military service to a working group of detached battalions and later Auxiliary Technical Battalions. During his service, he had to travel around the country without facilities and perform very physically demanding work. After the witness’s return from the military service, the farm was already part of the local collective farm. Josef Zíka moved to Eastern Bohemia. During the period of normalization, he contributed to the establishment of a gardening settlement near Týniště nad Orlicí, which is named Zíkov after him. The Zíka family acquired the native farm in Pošumaví in the restitution. It was in a devastated condition. The farm is being restored by the witness’s grandson nowadays.