Ing., CSc Cyril Luhan

* 1929

  • “A different kind of thing were those commander types, those were two German women officers, very arrogant and unpleasant. They occupied one room in our house, which happened to be my room where I used to sleep and study. I had my writing desk there. So they took that and shoved me out into some other room. It was very unpleasant because they behaved as if they owned the place. They went wherever they wanted to, whenever they wanted to. We were kept in constant fear because we very quietly listened to the foreign radio at home. Dududum, London is calling, or that American jingle, which was also very brisk. We were always terribly afraid that they might overhear it. Because listening to foreign radio broadcasts could earn you some steep punishments, even a death sentence.”

  • “The first two-year plan began in 1947, the so-called Socialist one. Suddenly, there were great plans, bigger houses were being built. Not just family houses, but larger, multi-storied ones... so the number of employees grew. Dad’s firm had more than fifty employees. When the Bolsheviks decided to nationalise large companies in 1948, Dad’s one was in the first wave of nationalised building companies. The official decree has the complete list of about 120 companies throughout the country that were made state property through nationalisation, which are pretty words supposed to describe the fact that they were stolen.”

  • “It was very gradual and indiscernible. They named Dad national administrator - he continued to work there as national administrator for a year. He was appointed chief of the branch of building enterprises. Orders arrived, like in the private days, plans were made, the company carried on, just it didn’t belong to us any more. The money that came in for the houses went to a state bank account. It wasn’t Dad’s any more. [Q: You father had a salary...] Dad had a salary. Not a big one, but we did okay. Even the Bolsheviks acknowledged expertise and knew how to reward it. [Q: Then your father stopped being the national administrator...] Yes. Of course, they didn’t like to see the former owner remaining as boss, so they transferred him, like in the army. He was informed that he wouldn’t head the Chrudim branch any more, but that he would work at Průmstav in Pardubice in the department that dealt with invoicing and budgeting. So as an expert, Dad did budgets for all kinds of building projects...”

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    Praha 6, 07.11.2016

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    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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Life went on more or less as usual, but he was constantly confronted with depravity. That killed my father

Cyril Luhan 1947-1948
Cyril Luhan 1947-1948
zdroj: Cyril Luhan

Cyril Luhan was born on 5 January 1929 to Cyril and Ludmila (née Kulhánková) in Pardubice. He has two younger sisters, Ludmila (1934) and Hana (1935). In 1930 the family moved to Chrudim, where his father, a successful architect and builder, founded a company. In his lifetime he built close to a hundred residential houses, offices, and other buildings. He was allowed to do business during the war, although work was scarce and mundane. In 1942 Cyril Luhan Sr was arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated for sabotage supposedly committed by employees he was responsible for. He was released from custody after a month. The family also had to give up half of their house to a German military HQ. After the war Luhan‘s construction firm geared up and soon employed more than fifty people. The company was thus one of the first to be nationalised after the 1948 Communist coup. The witness‘s father struggled to come to terms with this state-enacted robbery of his firm, which was made worse by the social degradation and him being branded an ‘exploiter‘. The totalitarian regime victimised all members of his family in some way or other; the greatest impact was felt by the witness‘s sister Hana, who was barred from studying at university. Cyril Luhan‘s career was also negatively affected by his capitalistic family background.