Jan Valter

* 1933  

  • “There was a guy, four years older than me, in our village and he was the district secretary of the communist party. He insisted on setting up the cooperative in the village at all costs. It was a matter of yes or no. Those who would not join would have a tough time. My father was reluctant and the secretary told him: ‘Mr Valter, think about it. If you don’t sign it, it will be bad for you.’ You see, dad had to sign it because we would be evicted otherwise. I want to say this because it did happen. When he was a little boy, my dad saved his life when he fell down from a bridge and ruptured an artery on his leg. My dad constricted his leg with suspenders above his knee; it was all he knew. They said, ‘Mr Valter, we will be grateful for this you until we die.’ See, this man became a politician and forced my dad into the cooperative, no excuses. So dad simply had to join the cooperative.”

  • “If I do my neighbour wrong – by mistake, not intentionally – I will do my best to apologise on the basis of my character, because it is something I did not want to do but it happened. You see, if the communist party said it made mistakes... I mean, some of the people were innocent. They were not attacking the state system, the communism, yet they were sentenced without guilt. This sort of apology could happen. Did we do the locals any wrong after 1989? Did we? Just imagine – the secretary, Václav, never apologised to dad. But his brother Josef said: ‘Jenda, I apologise for my entire family, for what my brother did to you.’ You can see the difference. He was able to say it.”

  • “Americans organised dances on the boulevard. I wish you could see how they treated the boys and girls whom they drove to the dances. Peanut butter, biscuits, coffee! It was amazing. And the US Army had their own band in Plzeň that would come and play: In The Mood... Boy could they dance... The girls who had the rhythm and could dance held up, but those who had no rhythm dropped out, blushing, they did not manage. (...) Of course, we would sneak in and wanted some sweets. But we were twelve years old, so when they spotted us they went, ‘Hallo, hallo!’ and ran us outside!”

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    Přerov, Osmek, 24.09.2018

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They eventually helped me in Moravia, but in my community...

Jan Valtr
Jan Valtr
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jan Valter was born in Letiny near Klatovy on 31 October 1933. The family managed a farm of 15 hectares and ran a pub and a carting operation. After the war, the Valters lost the pub and the carting business and the father was forced to join a farming cooperative („JZD“) in the late 1950s. The witness learned the craft of farming. He served in the army in Přerov as an assistant air traffic controller at the airport tower. While in the military, he met his future wife Božena Jemelková. They married early in 1959 and lived with his parents in Šumava for a brief period. Due to labour difficulties, they eventually relocated back to Moravia and both worked in underpaid farming jobs. From 1966 the witness worked as a janitor at the Přerov farming high school and stayed there until retirement. He and his wife raised two children.