Prague, May 17 (CTK) – The persecution of Czech farmers under Nazism and communism will be presented to the Czech public for the first time after 1989 in form of an exhibition that will open in Prague next week.
“Farmers were one of the social groups most affected by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s,” historian Jaroslav Rokosky, from the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes that prepared the exhibition in the National Museum of Agriculture, has told CTK.
During the Nazi occupation of the country many farmers were persecuted and then they were ruthlessly and resolutely liquidated in the communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, said historian Jiri Urban, from the USTR.
The numbers of Czech farmers persecuted under Nazism have not been known so far, and little is known about their resistance, also due to the fact that most of them were members of the Agrarian Party that was banned in May 1945, Rokosky said.
The communists talked of the betrayal and collaboration of the farmers rather than of their persecutions and resistance, he added.
While the Nazis pragmatically used Czech farming, but let it operate and supervised its permanent production, the communists were far more revolutionary and ideology was more for them than a functioning agriculture system, Urban said.
Farming flourished in the Czech lands in the period from the Habsburg Monarchy in the 16th century to the interwar Czechoslovak republic, but then hard times began for the farmers, Rokosky said.
In the 1950s, about 4000 families, or 20,000 people, were forced out of their farms, Rokosky said.
“The countryside paid a cruel price to the politics and ideology in those times,” he said.
The consequences of the violent collectivisation can be seen even now, for example in the little interest in farming the land shown by the people who were returned the farms owned by their ancestors after the fall of the communist regime, Rokosky said.
He said almost nobody has been punished for the crimes committed against Czech farmers.
The exhibition, including items, texts, old photos and films, will be open in the National Museum of Agriculture in Prague from May 25 to September 30. Afterwards, it will be presented in other parts of the country.