The recognised participants

23. 10. 2013 10:42

Member of the anti-communist resistance and opposition recognised by the Ethics Commission - Josef Kozák

The Ethics Commission awarded the Member Certificate of the Anti-Communist Resistance and Opposition to Josef Kozák for public attitudes against collectivization by which he continuously demonstrated his opposition to collectivization of the country and stood out to defend the vested right to own property and to handle it freely in Hnanice in the Trutnov district from 1949, particularly from 1951 to 1952, for which he was severely punished, by which he fulfilled the characteristics of the form of anti-communist resistance and opposition according to § 3, par. 4 of the Act No. 262/2011 Coll.

Josef Kozák was the biggest private farmer in Hnanice, Trutnov, with a farming area of ca. 26 hectares, which he inherited from his father in 1949. The files state that Josef Kozák was a leading figure among the farmers in Hnanice and that the majority of them followed his attitudes and opinions. This fact follows from the testimony of Karel Kozák, chairman of the local Communist Party organization of 10th October 1952, which reads: “if the young Kozák would show good faith, Hnanice could have had a JZD already in 1950, as he was an economic driving force, which the whole village would have followed. However he was aware of his position and therefore the creation of a JZD in Hnanice had been impeded.” This fact is also proved in the testimony of Josef Šálek, a secretary of the local municipal authority, of the same day, where he describes the circumstances of the establishment of the JZD in Hnanice. This testimony clearly shows that all other private farmers in Hnanice came to Josef Kozák for counsel regarding the creation of the JZD and even when it became difficult and even impossible to keep his farm, they advocated his acceptance into the JZD. The fact, that the creation of the JZD in Hnanice had been problematic and impeded follows also from the surviving records of the Hnanice municipal authority from 1952. The Ethics Commission regards the testimony of Josef Kozák of 10th October 1952 as a key evidence of his negative public attitudes to collectivization not only regarding the already cited testimony, but also due to other facts following from this testimony, which prove that Josef Kozák demonstrated his attitude in other ways as well.

The Ethics Commissions considers proven that Josef Kozák demonstrated quite obviously his attitude against collectivization and the creation of JZD Hnanice by resigning from the so-called electric plant collective, which associated all electricity purchasers “a priori” because it was planned that these collectives would be integrated into the JZD, as his resignation clearly showed that he does not agree with the collective ownership and forced collectivization of the country. The Ethics Commission also considers proven that Josef Kozák stood out against the economic-technical adjustment of estates performed in Hnanice, when he did not agree with it and did not sign the statement of new plot allocation (September/October 1952), because he was the most injured party in this adjustment (this can be deduced from the fact that Josef Kozák’s lands were the most lucrative in the municipality and therefore the lands that were newly assigned to him could not have been better, but exactly the opposite). The files also show that Josef Kozák did not respect the statement of new plot allocation in the way that he went with his cart to work on his former lands (regarded as collective farmland in the interrogation files) immediately after that.

The ruling of the District Court in Turnov of 6th July 1952, File No. T 108/52 found Josef Kozák guilty of endangering the unified economic plan and negligence according to § 135, par. 1 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to 5 months in prison and a financial penalty of 20 000 CZK, in case of the amount being irrecoverable, a further alternative sentence of 2 months in prison should have been imposed. During his prison sentence, which started on 3th October 1952, he had been prosecuted again and in the ruling of the District Court in Turnov of 25th November 1952, File No. T 154/52-34 he was found guilty of sabotage according to § 85 par. 1 a) of the Criminal Code and sentenced to additional 15 months in prison, furthermore all his property was confiscated in favour of the state, he was prohibited from living in the Turnov district forever and the ruling was to be made public. The People’s Court in Turnov in its ruling of 15th September 1953, File No. T 154/52-113, with regard to the presidential amnesty, which applied to the crime according to § 135 par. 1 of the Criminal Code, imposed a 15-month sentence for the remaining crime on Josef Kozák, who was serving his sentence at that time. The other punishments, imposed on Josef Kozák by the ruling of 25th November 1952, File No. T 154/52-34, were imposed again. As follows from the files, Josef Kozák was “judged” once before by the “criminal investigation commission” of the District National Authority in Turnov on 18th July 1952 for insufficient fulfillment or lack thereof of supply duties and fined 20 000 CZK.

The listed information shows that Josef Kozák obviously actively (even though impliedly) influenced other private farmers in Hnanice in their attitudes towards collectivization, as the mass joining of the JZD in Hnanice occurred only in September 1952, i.e. after his conviction for endangering of the unified economic plan in August 1952 and shortly before the start of his sentence. It is also possible to deduce from the files that Josef Kozák’s conviction for sabotage was clearly calculated by the regime with the motivation to isolate him from the other private farmers and inhabitants of Hnanice, whom he could otherwise continue to influence and also to illegally confiscate his property. This is further evidenced by the sentences imposed by the District Court in Turnov in its ruling of 25th November 1952, File No. T 154/52-34, in which he was found guilty of sabotage according to § 85 par. 1 a) of the Criminal Code. Whether it was the additional 15 months in prison (clearly motivated by the effort to enable the settling of the newly formed JZD in the municipality, which could have been thwarted after his return from the 5 month sentence), but especially the very harsh punishment of “confiscation of all his property in favour of the state”, “prohibition from living in the Turnov district forever” as well as the “order to make the ruling public”. The regime would not use these types of punishments if it did not want to try to scare other inhabitants of Hnanice and surrounding villages, particularly other private farmers, and deter them from attitudes similar to those of Josef Kozák. These facts also allow for indirect deduction that for people around him Josef Kozák was undoubtedly a figure of authority not only objectively able to influence others with his attitudes, but that he has actively done so. Although in this case the public attitudes were not demonstrated directly in a verbal form, it is possible to clearly observe his public attitudes from his actions. Also, the farm, registry No. 3 in Hnanice, which was owned by Josef Kozák, was the only confiscated property in the municipality. The confiscated farm of the forcefully evicted Josef Kozák and his family then served as a foundation of the JZD Hnanice.

With regard to the above listed information the Ethics Commission considers proven that Josef Kozák publicly demonstrated his opinions against collectivization in Hnanice, Turnov, by which he consistently from 1949, particularly from 1951 until his imprisonment in 1952, opposed the collectivization and thus the communist regime in Czechoslovakia and stood out for the vested right to own and freely handle property and that he was harshly punished for these actions, both by his prison sentence and the forced eviction of him and his family from Hnanice. By these actions Josef Kozák fulfilled the form of the anti-communist resistance and opposition stipulated in §3 par. 4) in connection to § 2 b) of the Act No. 262/2011 Coll. This is not changed by the fact that he was obviously purposefully sentenced for sabotage. The Ethics Commission must also state that by his actions in the years from 1949 to 1952 Josef Kozák protected not only his ownership rights or his property, but mainly the institute of ownership rights connected to personal independence on the system, as one of the basic pillars of the democratic law state and by his example he encouraged other farmers to put up resistance, whereas he did not commit any undemocratic action. The Ethics Commission states that Josef Kozák’s attitudes were of a public nature and in their substance were direct, obvious and provable acts of opposition to communism.

Obiter dictum outside the assessment of the actions of Josef Kozák in relation to the Act No. 262/2011 Coll., the Ethics Commission states that the particularly harsh actions against the family of Josef Kozák, not only their forced eviction but also the fact that they could not even take their personal belongings with them, which was against the law even at that time, shows obvious heartlessness of the communist regime not only towards those, who were found guilty for whatever reason, but also towards those who did not transgressed against it and even could not offend it in any way.

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