In memory of Andrej Kun - Svodin
The fate of my father, Andrej Kun, under communism
In the early 1950’s the Czechoslovakian communist regime began to force all farmers to establish cooperatives (in Czech, JZD or kolkhoz). Our family owned 50 acres of land in southeastern Czechoslovakia, close to the village of Svodin, where we lived. My father, like most farmers didn’t want to give up land he had inherited from his forefathers, to join some cooperative controlled by a totalitarian regime.
After the communists failed to attract farmers into collective farming voluntarily, the regime tried to break the peasant opposition by progressively greater terror tactics. They used many different horrible methods to intimidate farmers into relinquishing their land.
My father bravely resisted all attempts by the communist regime to coerce him into joining the kolkhoz. As a man held in high esteem in the village, he was singled out as an example of what would happen to the others who refused to relinquish their land. The regime produced trumped-up charges of “sabotage” against my father and a high profile show trial by the “people’s court” was held right in our village school, for all of the other farmers to witness.
Naturally, he was convicted by the regime and sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was taken from municipal prison in Stuvoro, in southern Slovakia, to the infamous prison of Jachymov - a uranium mine slave camp. Also as a result of the conviction, all of our family’s assets were seized by the communist government including our house. What was left of our family, my mother, my two siblings and I, were exiled to Bohemia, in western Czechoslovakia, on to the State Farm Upor, near to work. We were not allowed to leave our jobs on the farm.
After five very difficult years, where we often lacked the basic necessities of life, we managed to find different employment for everyone in the family away from the state farm. Our father was released after seven years of imprisonment. He came back in broken health and died in 1969 at 58 years of age.