Jan Jager

* 1955

  • “Because I didn’t want to join the Communist Party, so when I was working in the mines, I finished powderman school. They didn’t let me be a powderman, because I didn’t want to join the communist party. It took until the revolution till I could be powderman.”

  • “Every family had a cart. When they drove to the fields on the hill, it was one cart after another. If somebody wanted to drive down first, there were gully roads you couldn’t pass. Only one could pass at a time. If someone wanted to drive in the morning, another person had to walk ahead to check whether some other carts are coming up. As many as fifteen or twenty carts went in a row, when they drove to the fields.”

  • “There was this Mr Pražák from Rovensko, it buried three people that day, he was among them. He was buried alive. I was the first to get there and managed to catch him, so the coal didn’t completely cover him. Then the others arrived and we pulled him out. His leg was stuck and I couldn’t pull him out on my own.” – “They say every second matters in that situation. Is that so?” – “Yes. I don’t even want to think about it.”

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Eibenthal, 07.09.2022

    délka: 01:16:48
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

I’m the third and final generation of wheelwrights. The craft will die with me.

Jan Jager, September 2022, Eibenthal
Jan Jager, September 2022, Eibenthal
zdroj: Post Bellum

Jan Jager was born on 28 January 1955 in the village of Eibenthal in Romanian Banat (recorded by the authorities on 8 February). He grew up in a family with a wheelwrighting history and became the third successor of this now gradually defunct craft. For long decades, the Jager family produced and repaired not just wooden wheels, but also assembled whole ladder wagons. The witness’s father worked as a miner in the local anthracite mines and only had time for his craft after the work shift was done. The witness lived the same way, after completing his eighth grade of school he worked for several years in the family workshop and looked after their small farm. At the age of seventeen, he attended a mechanical trade school, earned his truck driver’s license and worked as a driver during his military service. After returning home he worked in the surrounding asbestos mines. In the following years he completed a powderman’s course, but because he refused to join the Communist Party, he was unable to practice his new profession until the end of the 1980s. He worked in the local mines for over twenty years. In the year 2000 he retired and apart from his craftsmanship also participated in the activities of the Democratic Association of Czechs and Slovaks in Eibenthal. At the time of recording he was still living there (September 2022).