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Pensioner builds WWII memorial in his garden

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Last week ČTK brought information about an 82-year-old Josef Fialka from a small village Chyšná in Pelhřimov region who erected a memorial expressing his thanks to the United States for helping the Czechs a number of times in history.

The four-metre tall massive granite memorial that Fialka had built in his own garden for CZK 100,000 reads in gilded letters: “Thank you America for liberation from Nazism and communism, dedicated by Josef Fialka, communist prisoner.” Fialka chose to unveil it a couple of days before the anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

“The United States liberated us three times. They played a decisive role in establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and in the defeat of Fascism in 1945. Soviet Union alone would have never defeated Germany. We can thank the US also for the fall of communism,” said Fialka.

Originally, Josef Fialka offered to donate the granite memorial to the village to place it alongside the memorial of the world war victims but the village turned down the offer. “To place it in a private garden is probably not the most suitable option but the village representatives did not approve of moving it onto the village square due to its size. We suggested other places but Mr Fialka did not like those,” said Chyšná Mayor Vladimír Kos.

“Half the villagers consider it a prank, one quarter is against it and the rest is undecided. When I moved to Chyšná decades ago there was only one communist here. Today, it is the other way round. There is only one anti-communist and that is me,” Fialka said.

Due to reproach from the villagers that he shows preference for the merits of the US, Fialka also paid for the construction of a second memorial, which reads: “Thanks for peace and freedom to Reagan and Gorbachev, from Josef Fialka, communist prisoner.” This memorial is also in his garden but Fialka plans to offer it to the village in November to mark the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.

“I will let the village choose one memorial to be put on the village square and the second will stay on my land,” Fialka said. Filka has already been thinking of commissioning two more memorials, one of which should be placed in central Bohemian Blažejovice near his birthplace. “My pension is a little bit higher due to the imprisonment but that does not make such a difference.”

According to ČTK, Josef Fialka was imprisoned by the communist regime for eight months in 1961 because he disagreed with the communist plan to take over his family farm. “He misplaced and sold the good cattle before the takeover of the property,” Zemědělské noviny wrote about Fialka on 14 June 1961. The court ruled it was a “criminal act of obstructing the official decision”.

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