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František Psota (1929) - Biography

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We worked our fingers to the bone and then they took everything from us

František Psota was born on 13 July 1929 in Charváty near Olomouc, where his parents owned a farm with 13 hectares of fields. During the collectivisation his family refused to join the local united agricultural cooperative (UAC). So the Communists demanded extortionate delivery quotas from them, switched their fields for ones that were worse and more distant, and they were also forced to relinquish their farm hand. When František Psota was drafted into military service in October 1952, he was deemed "politically unreliable" abd assigned to the Auxiliary Engineering Corps (AEC; forced labour). He spent 27 months of drudgery in the Fierlinger II coal mine in Kladno-Libušín. After his release František Psota returned to the family farm. Although a UAC had been established in Charváty in 1953, many farmers were still refusing to join it. So in March 1959 State Security organised a raid on the village, during which they arrested the witness's father, Jaroslav Psota, and four other farmers. They sentenced the 58-year-old Psota to two and a half years of prison, which he spent under maximum security in Valdice. After the raid, all resistance in Charváty was abandoned and people joined the UAC out of fear for their lives. František Psota was then employed in menial labour until his retirement. He lives with his wife Marie in Blatec, where they moved in 1962.

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