HISTORY OF COLLECTIVISATION –
HREJKOVICE, CZ AND JZD HREJKOVICE
Background to the translation of the chronicles of
the village of Hrejkovice, CZ and the translation
and refinement of the translation.
by Dean Muehlberg
Helena Cerna is a resident of Hrejkovice, Czech Republic. She is married, 35 years old, and the mother of three children. I met her via the internet while doing research on a story of a Czech citizen who defected from the former Czechoslovakia in 1983 from the town of Hrejkovice, where he was employed on the cooperative farm there.
On a whim I e-mailed the website for this small Czech town and explained what I was looking for. I was answered by Helena’s husband, who indicated that his wife had an interest in history and might want to help.
We have now been corresponding for over a year. She has translated the history of the JZD coop for me out of kindness, her own interest in history, and my interest, even though the aformentioned project on the defector was dropped.
Antonin Zelenka, a local farmer and party member, wrote the chronicle from which the following translation was taken. He is mentioned in the translation and re-writing. According to Helena, inhabitants talk about him quite favorably. He died before Helena was born. Helena was surprised that the chronicles parallel the memories of living farmers.
Jan Kahoun, also mentioned in the translation, was a neighbor of Helena’s as she grew up. She didn’t understand him when she was a child. Sometimes, according to Helena, he could be kind, but sometimes he could be terrible. He had few friends. People feared him and hated him. He died six or seven years ago.
The following blocks are set up with each leading with Helena’s direct translation. There is a block on the mill, the Klunka house, and the cooperative. Following each direct translation is a further refinement that was accomplished to make it more readable by readers of English. Some explanations of circumstances were made in the re-writing to provide background to what was in the chronicle, which does not contain much more than a relation of facts. Any speculations made are pretty much accepted as fact, but a comparison of the translation and refinement may be made wherever there is any question or skepticism.
Foundation of JZD Hrejkovice (farm)
History of houses where is (or was) situated JZD Hrejkovice
No. 1 - Mill
First reference to mill in Hrejkovice is from 1491 year. History of a mill is a long and interesting. For a long time it was hired, sometime before 1783 year Simon Paukner from Krumlov buight a mill and in the same year was built out a sawmill. Mill was small, without farm building, farm buildings and living house were built out later.
In 1928 owner Karel Paukner took down an old low mill and built a new, two-storied, with modern mill machines. In World War 2 Karel Paukner helped people to mill corn illicit (illegally?).
In 1951 Jaroslav Paukner (the son of Karel Paukner) stoped mill business and in 1952 got the mill a new chief Josef Hulinek. A few days later Jaroslav Paukner was named as partially irresponsible and his trustee was his father Karel Paukner.
In September 1953 millwheel was demaged and a new water turbine was built. In november 1953 Karel Paukner began the mill again (despite ban of ONV Milevsko and MNV Hrejkovice) and in the same month was assigned a new chief of mill Miroslav Hruby.
At 28.12.1956 was the mill closed for its bad condition. Jaroslav Paukner was in prison from November 1956 to January 1957.
10.10.1957 the mill was transfered to Hrejkovice's JZD (without the owner's consent and after defarmotary statements by Jaroslav Paukner).
After 1989 (revolution) Jaroslav Paukner got the mill back and he sold it to Tollmi company (truck transport), this company owns the mill today.
The Mill at Hrejkovice, CZ
The first reference to a mill in Hrejkovice was in the year 1491. The mill’s history is long and interesting. For a long time citizens paid for the use of a mill. In approximately 1783, Simon Paukner of Krumlov bought a mill and built a sawmill. The mill was small, without barns or a house which were built later.
In 1928 Karel Paukner owned the mill, tore it down and built a new, two-storied structure with modern mill machines. In World War II Karel Paukner helped people mill corn illicitly when the German occupiers controlled and demanded all crops and produce be turned over to them. (Farmers hid corn, potatoes, eggs, pigs to use themselves and to trade for other scarce commodities. Dealers in these goods or anyone who knew about them, faced prison or death if discovered.)
In 1951, and after the communists had taken over, Jaroslav Paukner (the son of Karel Paukner) stopped milling himself and in 1952 got Josef Hulinek to be the mill chief. A few days later Jaroslav Paukner was proclaimed to be partially irresponsible, and his father Karel Paukner became trustee of the mill. (Most likely Paukner was voicing his opposition to the eventual theft of his property by the state, and as a result lost the mill. It is also probable it is the reason he was proclaimed to be irresponsible.)
In September, 1953, the millwheel was damaged, and a new water turbine was built. In November of the same year, Karel Paukner took over the mill again, despite a ban for private use by the officials of the district people’s committee of Milevsko and the municipal people’s committee of Hrejkovice. That same month Miroslav Hruby was assigned as new chief of the mill. On December 28th, 1956, the mill was closed due to its bad condition. Jaroslav Paukner was in prison from November 1956 to January 1957.
The mill was transferred to Hrejkovice’s JZD cooperative after defamatory statements by Jaroslav Paukner and without his consent.
Jaroslav Paukner lived long enough to get the mill back after the 1989 revolution. He then sold it to the Tollmi Transportation Company, a trucking concern. This company owns the mill today.
č.p. 16 – U Klinků
In 1673 year here lived Jirik Klinka, in 1777 year Katerina Klinkova and in 1789 year Vaclav Klinka. In 1845 year here lived Jan Kazimour, after him Vaclav and after him Jaroslav Kazimour. In 1947 year here living Jaroslav Kazimour built out a flat for his old parents.
In 1951 year Jaroslav Kazimour's harvester was confiscated and in February 1952 STS Milevsko confiscated trashing-machine and straw press. These machines was buight (without the owner's consent) under the direction of Department of agriculture.
Before harvest in 1952 year Jaroslav Kazimour turned his grounds (acreage 35 ha) over to MNV, because he was ill, his son was on obligatory military service and Jaroslav Kazimour was not able to harvest his crop. These fields MNV duly farm out (nuceně pronajal) Hrejkovice's farmers whose didn't agree with agricultur-technical changes their lands (in fact they didn't agree with land consolidation and foundation JZD). They had to take off contingent (compulsory delivery) of this land to national economy.
In 1955 year these fields cultivated MNV yet, because local farmers duly ground lease canceled and Jaroslav Kazimour was not able to cultivate these land. At 24.11.1955 vice head of ONV Bartolomej Kloboucnik and an employee of ONV J. Panec acted with Jaroslav Kazimour and his wife Anezka on MNV Hrejkovice. Functionars of ONV wanted to Kazimour's family sold their farm house as effete farm. They drafted Kazimour's family, that they should hand over their farm house to state. After long act Mr. and Mrs. Kazimour signed declaration that they hand over their farm house free of charge to Czechoslovak republic. They have to move before 2.1.1956, else they would be moved by ONV. There was presented head of Hrekovice's MNV Antonin Zelenka and secretar MNV Jan Kahoun in act.
17.1.1956 Kazimour's family were moved to village Blehov (c. 20 km far from Hrejkovice) by direct of ONV.
History of Houses on the Farmer’s Cooperative at Hrejkovice, CZ.
House Number 16, Klinka House, Hrejkovice, CZ.
Records show that Jirik Klinka lived here in 1673, Katerina Klinkova (“ova” indicating feminine and married) in 1777, and Vaclav Klinka in 1789. In 1845 Jan Kazimour lived here, and successively Vaclav and Jaroslov Kazimour. In 1947 Jaroslav built a house or living quarters for his elderly parents.
In 1951 Jaroslav Kazimour’s grain binder was confiscated, and in February, 1952, STS, the machine-tractor depot at Milevsko, a town 7 km from Hrejkovice, took the thrashing machine and straw press. These machines were bought without the owner’s consent, and under the direction of the Department of Agriculture. Before the harvest in 1952, Jaroslav Kazimour turned his grounds of 35 ha (ha = hectare, 2.47 acres equivalent or 100 meters by 100 meters) over to the MNV, the Municipal People’s Committee. He was ill (this may have been a fabrication of the party), his son was on obligatory military service, and Jaroslav was not able to harvest his crop. These fields were then allocated to other Hrejkovice farmers, who didn’t agree with the idea of land consolidation and collectivization. They had no choice and had to work this land that wasn’t theirs, in the interest of the party and the national economy, providing a contingent or arbitrary percentage determined by party officials. Often this contingent was politically calculated, those not in favor or too independent, levied with amounts impossible to fulfill.
On November 24th, 1955, the vice head of the ONV, the District People’s Committee, Bartolmej Kloboucnik, and an employee of ONV, J. Panec, conferred with (perhaps intimidated) Jaroslav Kazimour and his wife, Anezka, at the MNV in Hrejkovice. Officials of ONV wanted the Kazimour family to sell their farm house and property as an unproductive farm. The requested Kazimour’s family to sign over their farm house to the state. After long deliberations, the Kazimours signed the declaration that effected this transfer free of charge to the Czechoslovak Republic.
They had to move before February 1st, 1956, or else they would be forcibly moved by the ONV. Present at the signing were the head of the MNV, Antonin Zelenka, and the secretary, Jan Kahoun. On January 14th, 1956, Kazimour’s family was moved to the village of Blehov, about 10 km in distance from Hrejkovice, by direction of the ONV.
Foundation JZD Hrejkovice (Farm Hrejkovice)
First trial of establishment JZD Hrejkovice run over in 1951 year. This trial was not succesfull. At December 1955 were decided about ejection Kazimour's family and after this fact, at January 1956, public meetengs relating foundation JZD were held. Educated functionars of MNV Jan Kahoun a Antonin Zelenka were convicing farmers about convenience of land consolidation and common farming on these large land. During the last January's week 11 farmers entered registration to JZD. Acreage of their land were 114 ha. At 2.2.1956 another meeting were held. Head of ONV Josef Rezac and his fellows comrade J. Herout and comrade Samec took place on this meeting and they maked a suggestion to liquidation of farmer Frantisek Zdenovec (house n. 6, acreage 36 ha) and farmer Frantisek Paukner (house n. 2, acreage 38 ha). Farmer Frantisek Zdenovec took place on this meeting and he wanted to entry to JZD, but presence comrades send him home. At this meeting mill (farmer Karel Paukner, house n. 1) were liquidated too. Land of these farms (c. 100 ha) should have been distributed bettween farmers who wouldn't want to entry to JZD. They should had to take off contingent (compulsory delivery) to national economy.
Head of MNV Hrejkovice Antonin Zelenka said functionars of ONV that every Hrejkovice's farmers immediately entry to JZD when no other farmers will be eject from village (Kazimour's family were ejected already). Comrade Samec didn't agree with this suggestion. He said „we would have striked the knife into our back“. Hrejkovice's comrades left the meeting after his words. Zdenovec's and Paukner's family were ejected. 8 farmers gave over the entries to JZD at this meeting, among them farmers Triska (n. 12) and Bores (n. 4), whoes still used oxcart to ploughing. But 2 of these 8 farmers undid their entries next day. After ending of meeting members of JZD stayed in restaurant and constitutive meeting taked placed. There were voted the officer of JZD. I asked one of these 8 farmers why did he enter to JZD. He said that he had land acreage about 30 ha, he had small children and he was afraid that his family would have been ejected from Hrejkovice. He said that he “safe one's breath and kept up”. I think farmers most of them were afraid that they would had to leave their villages (and their houses of course).
At 5.2.1956 member of councilman MNV Hrejkovice Frantisek Matousek (n. 56) and secretar Jan Kahoun devided 94 ha land between the farmers whose didn't entry to JZD.
These farmers got 1 ha – 4.5 ha per farmer. At 13.2.1956 member's meeting took place and other 5 farmers entered.
At 29.6.1957 took place other persuasive meeting to entry into JZD. There were presented every 42 private farmers. At 2.7.1957 meeting were arranged again. There took place vice-head of ONV Josef Herout and district attorney comrade Novotny. They distributed entries to JZD to all farmers to fill it and to give over next day. Next day situation repeated, farmers still balanced. Josef Herout said that he don't leave Hrejkovice until farmers don't entry to JZD. On thursday 4.7.1957 15 farmers signed to entry to JZD, on friday 5.7.1957 other farmers signed. After that farmers from hamlets were invited, most of them signed entering to JZD. There left only 7 private farmers in Hrejkovice. Private plots were alloted to all members of JZD.
In Fall 1957 year were festively ploughed away balks.
At 1.11.1957 cattle of new members of JZD were concentrated at barns in farmer houses 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16.
In 1959 year other 2 private farmers entered to JZD because they had to give over too high contingent (compulsory delivery).
In 1958 year 4 private farmers probably entered to JZD because after signification of 2 farmers in 1959 year there have lived only 1 last private farmer Frantisek Vlk (house n. 6, acreage 1 ha) in Hrejkovice.
ONV = district people's committee
MNV = municipal people's committee
JZD = farmer's cooperation
STS = machine-tractor depot
The Collective Farm
The first attempt to collectivize farms at Hrejkovice was in 1951. It was not successful. In December, 1955, after years of pressure on Jaroslav Kazimour, he and his family were ejected from their property. In January, 1956, public meetings relating to the foundation of JZD were held. Educated officials of the people’s municipal committee, Jan Kahoun and Antonin Zelenka, worked to convince farmers about the convenience of land consolidation and common farming. During the last week of January, eleven farmers signed with JZD, turning over 114 ha (the equivalent of a little over 280 acres) to the collective. On February 2, 1956, another meeting was held. The head of the district people’s committee, Josef Rezac, and his fellow comrades, J. Herout and Samec, attended. They made a suggestion to liquidate farmer Frantisek Zdenovec (House number 6, 36 ha) and farmer Frantisek Paukner (House number 2, 38 ha). Farmer Frantisek Zdenovec took part in this meeting and wanted to sign with JZD, but other comrades sent him home. (Farmers with large houses and lands were declared “Kulaks,“ a Russian term and carryover from the Russian communists who used it to classify the more well-off farmers as “enemies of the state“ so they could confiscate their property. Many of these farmers were imprisoned for a long time, as long as ten years, and they lost everything. Children of these families were prevented from going to any higher education, the same as the restrictions put on any non-party member.)
At this same meeting, Karel Paukner’s house was also liquidated. All of these farms, containing 100 ha, should have been distributed to non-coop farmers, but the compulsory percentage of product required by the party would have been so large as to make it improbable to work it.
The head of the local people’s municipal committee, Antonin Zelenka, told the people of the district committee that all local farmers should immediately sign up with the coop. (Zelenka was a farmer and local party member. He had the trust of the other farmers, and many of them in all liklihood had voted for the Communists who garnered 40% of the vote in the country’s elections of 1946. Many of them approved of the idea of cooperatives, many not conceptualizing how it would come about. None of them wanted others to be ejected as had happened to the Kazimours.)
Comrade Samec didn’t agree with Zelenka and claimed “it would put a knife in our back,“ possibly not wanting “Kulaks“ in the coop. After Samec’s words, Hrejkovice’s comrades left the meeting. Zdenovec’s and Paukner’s families were ejected. Eight more farmers signed on with the coop, including Triska (house number 12) and Bores (house number 4) who still ploughed with oxen. Two of these revoked their agreement the next day.
After the end of the meeting, the current members of the coop stayed and worked on a constitution. Officers were elected. One of the eight, with 30 ha, said he signed because he had small children and he feared he would be ejected. He said he kept any objections to himself and went along. It was probably the case with the majority of them.
On February 5th, 1956, Frantisek Matousek, councilman on the municipal committee, and secretary Jan Kahoun, divided 94 ha of land to the farmers who hadn’t entered the coop. Each received 4.5 ha.
Another meeting took place on February 13th, and another five entered the coop.
On June 29th, 1957, another meeting took place to persuade more to join. Forty-two were present. Yet again a meeting was arranged for July 2nd. In attendance were Josef Herout of the ONV, and the district attorney, Comrade Novotny. They distributed entry forms to JZD for all to fill out and bring back the next day. That next day the farmers were still divided about joining. Herout said he wouldn’t leave until all had decided to join. On July 4th, fifteen more signed and on the 5th still more. Then those from outlying hamlets were invited, most of them joining, leaving only seven private farmers in Hrejkovice. Small private plots were allotted to all members of JZD for use as garderns and personal use.
In the fall of 1957 a great celebration was held during which the balks, the raised borders between properties, were symbolically ploughed away. The event was mandatory for all in the community, a failure to attend a black mark in the party records.
On November 1st the cattle of all new members were concentrated at the barns of houses 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 16.
In 1959 two of the remaining private owners joined, not being able to deliver the high compulsory contingent demanded by the party. There remained only one private farmer, Frantisek Vlk, in Hrejkovice in house 26 number 6 with only 1 ha.
Click on side-by-side photos to see 50 year lapse of the same scenes in Hrejkovice:
Row 1. Village overview
Row 2. Village street intersection
Row 3. Bridge