Josef Netopil

* 1941  

  • „So, you could talk but you couldn’t really, you know? Those people were mean and there were so many informers that people were afraid to speak. I think it was the same in 1968 and 1969. Well, you know how many replacements took place then. Us in Pravčice, we somehow handled it and kept our jobs. The chairman handled it. As for other posts, there weren’t really that many proper agrotechnician or zootechnicians. So that’s why there weren’t such radical replacements there.”

  • „And driving home was the worst part. We caught a wave running to central Moravia. Tanks and cannons. And back then I was really scared, because we would get squeezed if we got in the middle of those tanks and cars. When they stepped on the brakes, I had to step on the breaks. They were ruthless. I was really scared at that point.” – “Did you get right in the middle of the convoy?” – “Yes, right in the middle and still we didn’t meet anyone in the other direction and still no one was willing to let us go. It was really hard…”

  • „I said: ‚What is going on? Are we being attacked? Did the Germans invade us or what?‘ He replied: ‘ Not the Germans, The Russians have invaded.‘ I said: ‘Don’t be crazy!‘ Then we listened to the radio for a while on the courtyard. But it was half past seven and we had to get going, because the two SK3 harvesters had been waiting in Alekšince. We drove via Strání, heading to Nitra and we didn’t meet anyone on the way. So, we got there without problems. But when we were approaching Nitra, we found out it had been surrounded. One artillery gun pointed at Nitra every twenty meters.”

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I wanted to prove to the cooperative in Žalkovice that I was capable

Josef Netopil was born January 1, 1941 in Žalkovice na Hané. He grew up as the oldest of three children in a Christian agricultural family of Josef and Anna, née Dostálová. His father was a private farmer up until 1953. Then he lost all his property and joined the collective farm in Žalkovice under duress. Initially he worked as an agronomist but later he only rode the horses there. Because Josef Netopil Jr. was originally supposed to become a successor to his father, he strived to study at an agricultural school in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm. Despite some difficulties with his political profile he was admitted there. He could still only do menial jobs in the collective farm in his hometown Žalkovice. When the situation had not changed after his return from military service, he left to Pravčice in 1966 where he got a job as an agronomist in a declining collective farm that he then managed to uplift during the following years. He partook in the farm’s management up until 1989. Together with his colleagues he then established the Pravčice farmer’s cooperative and has been in charge of it ever since. He also built the Museum of Our Grandfathers’s Agricultural Machinery in Pravčice in 2011. In 2019 he still lived in Žalkovice.