M O R A V I A . . . . .

By Mářa Vavruchová née Kořánová (1905-94)

Eliška, Viktor and I, Mářa, are Moravians. Almost completely. My sons are even more Moravians than the three of us.

You, the younger generation, at whose request I am writing this, and to whom I am dedicating it, might not be Moravians that much but don't be afraid of the appellation. To me, it is very dear, it gives me a warm feeling. When I was a child, my grandmother, Blandina Schwarzová, used to tell me that I was not from Haná, like herself, but from Slovácko, because I was born (in 1905) at the edge of Slovácko in Napajedla - in any case I was baptized by the river Morava. I am pleased by that, for me it is a secure foundation.

So are we really Moravians? Because, if we study the family tree, my dear father (tatíček), Robert Jan Kořán, was from Bohemia as he was born (in 1859) in Sedlec, parish Plzenec, district Rokycany.

We can 'thank' Hitler for being able to trace our ancestry so well. In order to prove that we were Aryans (not Semitic), we needed certificates of baptism four generations back. We still have these documents.

(Petr: now probably in the Västerås city archives in Sweden (access: Lucie and Oliva).)

My father's ancestors from his father's side (the Kořáns)

Vít Kořán, farmer, and his wife,
Anna, had a son:

Jan Baptista Kořán was born - without medical assistance - in 1777 in Míchov, parish Katovice, district Strakonice. He was a shoe-maker and married
Marie Anna Červenková (*1772) from Krty, daughter of
Josef (Martin) Hnídek, field supervisor (polní mistr) and his wife
Anna from Kamený. They had a son:

Jan Korán was born in LažanyEnis, parish Záboří, district Blatná, in1802. He was a shoe-maker in Čekanice and married
Magdalena, born in Elišov (Oberhütte, Stubenbach) district Hartmanice, in 1801, daughter of a cooper,
Josef Lemberger from Nalžov, born in Elišov, parish Hradešice, in 1774, and
Magdalena née Bauer, born in Stubenbach, parish Gutwasser, in 1776. Magdalena's parents were
Jan Jirí Bauer, 'operarius' and
Margaretha née Plätzer.

(Petr: (a) See an explanation of 'operarius' below. (b) Our maid Bety Bauerová had relatives in Libušín, Hradecno and Smecno - see those place names in the following text).

Jan and Magdalena had a son:

Jan Nepomucký Kořán, born in Čekanice, parish Sedlice, district Blatná, in 1831. This grandfather of mine (Mářa's) called himself a mechanic (in archaic Czech mašinista) in a marriage certificate when he married, in Starý Plzenec on 14 February 1859,
Františka Rybáčková born in Běleč in 1832 (see her family - R).

My father's ancestors from his mother's side (the Rybáčeks)

Václav Rybáček and his wife
Dorothea were serfs of Křivoklát estate. Their son:

Thomas (or Tomáš) Paulus Rybáček was born in Velký Újezd (or Oujezd), parish Panoší Újezd, district Rakovník in 1754. He was a farmer and married
Katharina (or Kateřina) (*1773), daughter of a village magistrate and resident in Ruda, parish Nové Strašecí,
Antonín Kindl, and his wife

(Petr: Aleš worked as a doctor in Nové Strašecí).

There is a discrepancy in the records concerning Kateřina. In the baptism certificate of František Xaver Rybáček (see below), his father is given as Tomáš Rybáček and mother Anna née Mutinskyn!
However, in the baptism certificate of Františka Rybáčková (further below), her father is given as František Rybáček, estate employee from Běleč, son of Tomáš Rybáček, farmer from Velký Oujezd No. 19 and Kateřina Anna née Kindlová from Ruda. Anyway, a son of Tomáš Rybácek:

František Xaver Rybáček was born in Velký Újezd, district Rakovník, in 1793. He was a estate supervisor (šafář) in Běleč. He married
Anna Kemerová (*1792) whose ancestors (see A below) are also known to us. They had a daughter:

Františka Rybáčková was born, as mentioned, in 1832 in Běleč near Křivoklát, parish Bratronice, district Rakovník. Her godparents were Františka Vosyková, daughter of šafář from Běleč and
Josef Vlasák, 'dominikalista' from Běleč. She was my grandmother.

Zdeněk Lochovský: "Dominikalista" a "operarius" oznacuji zhruba totez, totiz manualne pracujiciho delnika (poddaneho), hlavne v zemedelstvi. Vyraz "dominikalista" navic specifikuje, ze dotycny pracoval na dominikalu (na rozdil od rustikalu), tedy na panskych pozemcich a patrne byl s danym panstvim i nejak vice ekonomicky a osobne spjat. Dost mozna i bydlel na nejakem panskem dvore ci statku a tam take pracoval.

My grandmother's (Františka Rybáčková) ancestors from her mother's side (the Kemers)

Vojtěch Kemer, farmer in Rynholec and serf of Smečno estate, married
Anna, a serf of the same estate, and they had a son:

Jiří Kemer, born in Rynholec in 1766, baptized in Smečno, district Slaný, judicial district Nové Strašecí. His godfather was Jiří Čebiš, village manager (rychtář) in Libušín. He married
Marie Valentová born in Kamenné Žehrovice in 1765 and baptised in Družec near Kladno, daughter of
Josef Valenta, a villager in Žehrovice, serf of Smečno estate, and his wife
Dorota. Jiří and Marie lived in Hradečno No. 27 and had a daughter:

Anna Kemerová was born in Hradečno No. 8 in 1792. She was baptised in Smečno and her godmothers were two beggars from a shelter in Smečno.

(Petr: the extended family of Kemers (now Kemr), which include a famous character actor Josef Kemr (*1922,+1995), keep in touch with each other and meet every year.)Josef Kemr
Jan (K4) and Františka (R4) were married in the parish church in Starý Plzenec on 14 February 1859. They lived in Sedlec No. 10, district Rokycany, where my father was born:

Robert Jan Kořán was born on 24 May 1859 and baptised in Plzenec. His godparents were Jan Šuchman, teacher from Plzenec, and Josefa Johnová, daughter of a female teacher from Plzeň.

His father Jan was at that time on some construction site in Bavaria or Austria and when he got the news, he wired back that the boy should be named Robert. Later, Robert adopted Jan as his second name as a token of respect to his father.

I do not know how long the Kořáns lived in Sedlec. However, when their second son Vilém (*1861) died of a childhood disease (diphtheria?) in 1865, they were already in Moravia, in Kvasice near Kroměříž. They acquired a vault in Kvasice and buried Vilém in it. He is now in the Kořán family vault in Bubeneč, right-hand side far corner of the main section.

So ends everything truly Bohemian in our family. In my time, there were no contacts with our Bohemian relatives and Bohemian customs gave way to Moravian influences. The only exception were the Bohemian traditions brought into the family by the wife of the third son, Jindřich (1868-1952), Magdalena née Novotná (1884-1970). She was the daughter of a gardener, I think from Strakonice. They were our uncle and aunt Jindříšek and Magdička. We did not have any other aunts or uncles because my mother was the only child.

(Petr: Jindříšek and Magdička are in a separate vault in Bubeneč, at the left-hand side wall of the main section.)

My mother's ancestors from her father's side (the Schwarzs)

Martin Schwarz was a burgher living at the outskirts of Prostějov. His wife
Marianna née Štastná was a daughter of similarly situated
Josef Štastný. Martin and Marianna had a son:

Josef Schwarz (*1823) married
Františka Hrdličková (*1820) (also spelled Herlická) in Prostějov on 1 April 1845. Her father was
Jan Hrdlička, a smallholder in Mostkovice (Plumlov, Prostějov). Her mother was
Josefa, daughter of
Josef Řezníček, a farmer in Domamyslice. Josef and Františka had a son:

Josef Schwarz was born on 26 December 1845 in Prostějov. That was our grandfather. On 6 June 1871 he married in Dubany near Prostějov, a 15-year old
Blandina Schindlerová, daughter of a teacher.

My mother's ancestors from her mother's side (the Schindlers)

Leonard Schindler, teacher, and his wife,
Rosalie, daughter of
Václav Žáček, a farmer in Nezamyslice, had a son:

Antonín Schindler was born in Čehovice, district Prostějov, in 1818. He was also a teacher, in Dubany, and married on 7 October 1850
Františka (*1827), daughter of
Josef Hradil, a farmer in Štětovice, and his wife
Veronika, daughter of
Tomáš Večeřa, a farmer in Čehovice. Antonín and Františka had a daughter:

Blandina Schindlerová was born in 1856 in Dubany. That was my grandmother.
MUDr Josef (S3) and Blandina(Š3) Schwarzovi had a daughter:

Marie Josefa Aloisia Schwarzová, born in Dubany in 1874 . That was our dear mother (mamička). My granfather then became a district and gentry doctor on the estate of baron Theodor Podstatzky.in Litenčice.

On 6 June 1894, Robert Jan Kořán, the director of a sugar factory in Všetuly, and Miss Marie Schwarzová got married in Litenčice, district Kroměříž. They were married by Father František Schindler, a teacher at the Czech high school (gymnazium) in Kroměříž. He was my grandmother's brother, thus my great uncle, but we called him uncle and he was my wonderful playmate when I was a child.

There were no other Schindler relatives, my great uncle was a priest, but there were more on Dr Schwarz's side. He had a few sisters, not sure how many but I know about two. One sister married a German whose name was Strawa and their daughters lived in a house which was delightful because of the position of its garden on the river bank - although it was right in the middle of Olomouc.

The Strawa girls, my mother's cousins, Blandina and Františka, remained unmarried and were very religious.

We were in frequent contact with the Strawas - my mother, grandmother and great uncle visited them quite often. They had red currants, raspberries and other fruit in their garden and made good use of it. They baked wonderful pastry and we ourselves made a fruit tart according to a 'Strawa recipe'. During the Nazi occupation, the contact with them stopped and they probably were, poor things, driven out of the country after the war because they had declared themselves to be Germans.

(Petr: my father cut communication with all his German-speaking friends during the war, including his old love interest (during the First World War) in Vienna.)

The other sister married an Austrian army officer whose name was Maciaga (I do not know where he was born) and so there also was aunt Maciaga (we pronounced it mačongová). Their daughters, perhaps two again, also married Austrian army officers. They often communicated with my mother, their cousin, and sometimes sent photos to her showing their husbands in full splendour while Austria-Hungary was still at the height of her power. One daughter lived in Zagreb, the other perhaps in Pula but, of course, they had to move wherever their husbands were posted.

One of them appeared in our vila one day, I might have already been married (Petr: that is after 1924), and she was an exotic visitor. Tremendously dressed, well-kept and well-groomed. A completely different type from us.

My mother wrote long letters to them but, later, it seemed to have died down, the times were unsettled and everybody had their own worries. However, I have now found a list of addresses of people to whom my mother apparently intended to write. It is dated January 1950 and contains my mother's two cousins, Gusti Vesić in Zagreb, and Fany Namorš in Graz, Austria.

There was also a son, Juzek, an unfortunate case. He turned up in Prague after the First World War. He was big and strong, apparently warm-hearted, but somehow awkward or incompetent or not industrious enough, I don't know. He could not make it and lived in destitution. Sometimes, he came to my parents for lunch, so at least he had something to eat but there was not much common interest to sustain conversation. He was given old clothes but my brother-in-law Zdeněk, who frequently saw him at his law firm on Wenceslas Square, used to say that he understood him, that he had a hard life, and that he should not go out in suits appropriate only for the elderly or for priests.

Juzek wasted a lot of Zdeněk's time because when he arrived somewhere, there he was and it was difficult for him to get up and leave. Every time he came, he got a banknote from my parents, and most probably also from Zdeněk who was well-disposed towards him. But it did not help much. Once he was given 100 crowns and went to a bar and had nothing in the morning. My parents and my grandmother were unhappy about it but Zdeněk again defended him. I am not certain what happened to Juzek later but have an idea that he ended up somewhat badly.

I don't remember these aunts at all but my sister Eliška, ten years older than me, did. At least one of them. As Eliška was telling me, this aunt always made Eliška hide because she wanted to kiss Eliška a lot and she was prickly and Eliška could not stand it. Well those aunts probably used to be very beautiful and attractive, the Germans say rassig, and when that was gone, just the facial hair was left.

Facial hair, rassig - that invites a thought. According to the laws of the Third Reich, we were recognized as Aryans, four generations back without a blemish, all Roman Catholics. But don't the names Schindler and particularly Schwarz sound Jewish? Well, thanks to Hitler, we have documents to prove our Aryan ancestry back to the 18th or 19th century. And if at one time, a long time ago, in the Middle Ages, perhaps, possibly, somehow, let's say, there was some forgotten drop of Jewish blood, it was, in those four generations we know about, diluted by the Holy Water of baptism. And if a little trace remained on the face of some of us, that's only to highlight the beauty. After all, concerning facial hair, how many beautiful women from diverse parts of the earth have some soft hair on their faces and they are not Jewish!

Eliška and Viktor might have remembered some of our older relatives, I could not. Even they could not remember our granny Františka Kořánová. Eliška was two and Vítězslávek (as he was - and then still for a long time - called) only half a year old when granny died in Kvasice on Christmas Day of 1897. My tatíček always remembered her with sorrow and sadness at Christmas time. Our grandpa Jan Kořán died 10 years later in Meziříčí near Opočno where he lived with his son, uncle Jindříšek. I am not sure how often there was a contact between the two brothers, Robert and Jindřich. From Napajedla (where we still were when I was two) to Meziříčí was quite far - although the Kořáns distinguished themselves by never being afraid of travel and long journeys. Tatíček was probably in Meziříčí when grandpa was ill and the end was near. Viktor remembered that in the morning a telegram arrived that grandpa was dead. It was 23 May 1907. My mamicka then asked Eliška and Vítězslav to pray together for grandpa and Viktor went to school.

Even Eliška could not remember the grandfather doctor Schwarz. He died in 1896 and thus knew that he had a granddaughter Eliška (*1895) and that he was wrong about her. During the autumn of 1894, tatíček and mamička were on a pond next to the sugar factory in Všetuly in a little boat that got wobbly and they fell out. They got out of the water quite easily but a disaster struck: their hope for a new addition to the family dissolved...

The grandfather doctor arrived immediately and declared that after this, there was no hope for another baby. Whether he scolded my father for taking his pregnant wife out on a boat is not on record but it was, somehow, always known that the Kořáns had some rather wild and eccentric ideas.

But their so called 'divokost' (unrestrained nature) was based on curiosity and inventiveness. Vikoušek (Viktor) was famous for that but he had a predecessor: our uncle, strýček Jindříšek. He was the first in the family to take photographs, he also had a viewer for his 3D pictures. He was also among the first to ride a motorbike. And he had a pair of trained dogs who, in a suitable costume, walked on two legs (perhaps either the front or hind) sometimes carrying a tray with glasses and so on ... well and then he clumsily broke his rib on the rim of a bath tub.

Otherwise strýček Jindříšek was a mechanical engineer, director of sugar factories and a designer of sugar factories. He had patents for some of the machinery.

As mentioned, his wife Magdička was from Strakonice. They had four daughters. Again and again, no son, so they gave up. The oldest daughter:
Růženka (*1905) was my age,
Mařenka was eleven months younger, then there was
Jitka (*1912) who married an Italian, an outstanding eye specialist in Brescia, and finally
Edelka was born in 1918 - just one year before Ivan, Eliška's son.

Magdička had one sister (I don't know of any other), Aninka, who was a faithful and willing soul. She lived permanently in strýček and tetinka's household and brought up all their daughters with extreme motherly care and exemplary tenderness. Tenderness was altogether ruling fashion in this family- that and the scent of quality bath soap. It was such a gentle, soft and fragrant atmosphere! It was a great event (zážitek) for me to get into this environment, which was by our standards luxurious and non-puritanical. But our visits were infrequent.

They always addressed us, in speech as well as in letters, in diminutive, so it was Robertek and so on, and in letters it was preceded with an adjective in superlative, thus always 'Dearest Mařenka'.

In our household, visits created disruptions, stress and total deviation from the norm. I vaguely remember one such, undoubtedly short, visit, perhaps by one of our great aunts (Strawa, Maciaga) in our flat in Vinohrady. We were not used to foreign elements suddenly penetrating into our family's entrenched ways. On the other hand, my dear granny Blandina Schwarzová from Kroměříž came to us for long visits and that was wonderful.

Let the following pages be a little memorial to her and to my dear uncle Father František Schindler, two of the most important persons in my life...

Västerås, 19 March 1981

(Petr: I have translated only 6 pages so far and will continue later. This text, MORAVIA..., was, still in 1981, incorporated with a few minor changes into Mářa's longer work, FAMILY - THE KOŘÁNS.)


A word to a prospective reader:

The following pages are not a highbrow literature, they are an account of everything that the participants remember, what could be gathered, and what could be found in documents. The facts are supported by more than 80 documents.

Any inventory reveals a lot of goods that were hardly known, that were half-forgotten, that were chucked away.

So now it is here, choose, take it is lying on the counter. It's a sale!

Everybody will perhaps find something in the family history that he or she will take. One will take this, another will take that.

And maybe they will recognize in it a bit of themselves and will understand the origin of something that continues to live in them.


The Vavruchs are all through and through Moravians. More than that, they were true Hanáci. Hanáci (singular Hanák) inhabit a region called Haná. It's that part of the beautiful Moravia, where the river Morava and its small tributary Haná flow across a wide plane. The region is rich and productive, the inhabitants are proud. Their self-esteem is expressed with humour in an inscription above the gate of the castle in Prostějov that says: "This castle to a hundred will survive but then a Hanák another five." ("Tento zámek bude trvat do sta let a Hanák potom ještě pět.")

I. The ancestors

The ancestors of Laďa's grandfather from his father's side:

V1 Jan Vavruch
was born 1770 in Kojetín, had with his wife Barbora Gardavská a son:

V2 František Vavruch was born on 20 January 1793 in Kojetín. He was a peasant and married Veronika, a daughter of another resident in Kojetín, Jan Taufer and his wife Kateřina, née Peštuková. A son of František and Veronika was:

V3 Matěj Vavruch (15 Feb. 1826 - 25 April 1907), resident in Kojetín, a weaver. Matěj had two brothers, one had a son, Rudolf. Matěj married Johanna (20 May 1821 - 10 Dec. 1899), daughter of Tomáš Gardavský (* 7 Dec. 1792), see G2. Matěj and Johanna née Gardavská were parents of:

V4 Rudolf Wawruch (16 April 1852 - 31 Dec. 1920), professor, father of Zdeněk, Lidka and Laďa:

(Petr: Rudolf used W because he did not want Germans to pronounce it F. Mářa however sometimes uses V in his name - as it was on his birth certificate. Rudolf's wife, Anna Vavruchová, used V in later years.)

V5.1 Rudolf (1885 - 3 May 1894)

V5.2 Zdeněk (23 April 1889 - 8 Dec. 1932)

V5.3 Ludmila (28 Dec. 1890 - 7 Nov. 1957)

V5.4 Ladislav (26 June 1895 - 21 Nov. 1967)

Vo4 František Vavrouch (27 Nov. 1855 - 16 Jan. 1924), resident in Kojetín (see that chapter). (Petr: spelling Vavrouch was a parish priest's mistake.) He had four sons:

Vo5.1 Miroslav (Miroš) (1892 - 1977)

Vo5.2 František (Fanouš) (1893 - 1972)

Vo5.3 Vladimír (Vladík) (1895 - 1977)

Vo5.4 Zdeněk (born in 1898) who lived in Brno.

V4.3 Vincenc (7 Jan. 1864 - 26 June 1879), student.

V4.4 Johanka (24 May 1868 - 15 Feb. 1887). She caught a cold while skating and probably died of pneumonia. She was pretty and brought up not as a farmer's daughter but as a young lady, she had friends among town's daughters. She was pride of her mother's. Because she had weak lungs, she could not work, she stayed at home and crocheted heavy blankets for beds. That was just the worst thing for her to do.

Vincenek, a student, also had TB. It was common that time in Kojetín that whole families died of it.

Grandmother of Vilma Vavrouchová (see below), Gardavská, married her cousin Josef Gardavský, so they both were cousins of Rudolf and František from Závodí (Petr: suburb in outskirts of Kojetín, in fact easy walking distance from the centrum and even from the cemetery). That grandmother lost three sisters to TB, she herself died at 45.

The ancestors of Laďa's grandmother from his father's side

Vilma Vavrouchová, who lived in Brno, had a family tree of the Gardavský clan back to the 14th century. Stanislaw Gardawieza (Petr: guards of the tower?) was a judge of Katowice region (vojvodství) in Poland and died in1558. His son, Vácslaw, was also a judge in Katowice. He had twin sons, Jan and Vácslaw, who moved to Moravia in 1576.
Jan Wipler Gardowski z Užic a Gardawic ("of Užice and Gardawice", in Poland) was a noble and brave knight. In 1609 he was a huntsman at the estate of count Salma. In Kojetín he held the farmstead No. 420. The farmstead was then acquired by princess Metternich and, gradually, the family lost their wealth until they became poor farmers.

G1 František (Franz) Gardavský (30 March 1758 Kojetín - 6 June 1827 Kojetín), burgher in Kojetín suburb,
son of Jakub Gardavský (born to Martin Gardavský and Barbora on 16 July 1729 in Kojetín).
Martin (1 November 1700 Kojetín - 8 June 1759 Kojetín) was son of Martin Gardavský (1672 Kojetín -28 June 1742 Kojetín) and Marina (née Skřivánková, 1671 - 6 November 1733 Kojetín).
Barbora was born to Tomáš Pátek and Veronika on 27 November 1731 in Kojetín.
František was brother of Josef, Jan, Jakub, Petronilla, Barbora, Josef, Mariana and Apollonie.
With his wife, Juliána née Tiegrová or Tygrová, he had František, Barbora Šťastníková (born Gardavská on 4 November 1781 in Kojetín), Josef, Tekla, Tomáš and Matěj (Matyáš or Mathias, 2 February 1797 Kojetín - 5 September 1797 Kojetín).
Juliána (15 February 1755 Kojetín - 4 March 1820 Kojetín) was daughter of Vavřinec Tyger (son of Jakub Tyger and Kateřina) and Kateřina (1728 - 23 February 1759 Kojetín, daughter of Pavel Rumpl).

G2 Tomáš Gardavský (7 December 1792 Kojetín 48 - 5 January 1864 Kojetín 406) married Johanna (23 May 1794 Kojetín 12 - 30 November 1840 Kojetín 406, daughter of Jan Kubes, burgher in Kojetín, and Johanna née Čechová). They had:
Mariana Ořechovská, Barbora, Ignác, Viktorin Tomáš, Jana, Josefa, Johanna Vavruchová, Františka, Jan, Anna, Josef and Josef.
Tomáš then married Anna (1791 - 3 July 1870 Kojetín).

G3 Johanna (16 May 1825 or 20 May 1821 Kojetín 406 - 10 December 1899) married Matěj Vavruch. They were the parents of Rudolf Wawruch, grandparents of Zdeněk, Lidka and Laďa.

The ancestors of Laďa's grandfather from his mother's side:

Kl1 Jan Klapil
, peasant in Lutopecny, parish Hradisko, district Kroměříž, Moravia. With his wife Barbora, daughter of Ondřej Volek (?) from Popovice, had a son:

Kl2 František Klapil was born on 31 December 1812 in Lutopecny. He was a peasant, "Anwerter". He married Anna, born 18 May 1814. Anna's father was a peasant Ignác Řezníček, mother Brigita, daughter of Tomáš Žilka, all from Lutopecny. Their son:

Kl3 Jan Klapil was born on 12 May 1834 in Lutopecny. He was a peasant and married Florentina Konečná (Ko3). One of their daughters was:

Kl4 Anna Klapilová was born on 11 September 1863 in Lutopecny. She was baptized in Hradisko, godparents were Tomáš Pazdera, peasant from Postoupky, and his wife Klára. She married Rudolf Wawruch, professor at land higher practical schools in Ostrava, in Hradisko on 10 February 1885.

(Petr: High school teachers were called professors even in my time (1959). "Higher" meant the high-school education. "Land" means Moravian-Silesian Land, "practical" is in the original "real", the school was called in short "reálka" - as against "klasické gymnasium" (where the focus was on Latin). Rudolf was in Moravian Ostrava which later merged with Silesian Ostrava.)

Ko1 Matěj Konečný, peasant of Skaštice, parish and district Kroměříž, and his wife Anna, daughter of Jiří Vaníček, peasant in Břest, had a son:

Ko2 Ignác Konečný was born on 19 April 1803 in Skaštice. He was a peasant and married Josefa Červinková born on 5 March 1803 in Skaštice. The father of Josefa was František Červinka, mother Barbora, daughter of Matěj Hradil, all peasants. Daughter of Ignác and Josefa was:

Ko3 Florentina Konečná was born on 8 August 1836 in Skaštice. She married Jan Klapil (Kl3 above).

II. Kojetín (the Vavruchs and the Vavrouchs)

Green shadows of old apple trees on the grass. Here and there an apple lying on the ground. The orchard is gently sloping towards the river bank. It's the Morava or one of her branches. It flows freshly, carries me when I swim in it. Quickly to reach the bank to get out in the garden of the Vavruchs and not at the neighbours'! The water is pleasant, beautiful, it's a bliss. I arrived unprepared so tetinka (antie) lent me a white linen shirt for swimming. It was long more than enough and decent around the neck but when the linen got wet it utterly failed to cover my nakedness. I was pulling on it and shaking it, trying to mask the deficiency, so I sort of got away with it. It was witnessed by Laďa and his cousin ing. Zdeněk Vavrouch, who I think remembered it for a long time.

The garden was behind the house and a yard. There was also a barn, dung-hill, a pump, but it was no longer a functioning homestead when I first came there with Laďa. It was in a suburb of the town Kojetín, Vavrouch was a resident of a suburb, "předměšťan". That time, tetinka Jana (Johana), a widow of František Vavrouch (Vo4), lived there alone. It was a single storey house with small windows, a little kitchen, a small room. Most of the space was taken up by a huge loom, stréček (Petr: in standard Czech strýček but then tetinka is also unusual today, we use tetička) was a weaver (like his father Matěj Vavruch). And, of course, he was also a small farmer, had a bit of land for a field and a meadow, had cattle and poultry. I did not meet him (Petr: he died in January 1924 while Laďa and Mářa got married on 12 April 1924) but we became friends with tetinka very quickly and remained close. She compared me favourably to some other girls married to the family.

She had four sons, Miroš (*1892), a teacher, a headmaster at a municipal school ("měšťanka") in Prostějov, where he built a house after the war (IWW). He married Emilka, a daughter of a teacher from Kostelec near Prostějov. Emilka, poor thing, complained all the time about her health and she probably was really not too healthy. But near the end of their lives it was she who kept the household for them and survived Miroš by one year (1978 vs. 1977).

František (*1893) had a law degree (Petr: JUDr like Laďa, Zdeněk, Pavel etc.) and was a high municipal official in Prostějov. He married Ženka (prob. Evženie), a daughter of a jeweler in Prostějov. The Vavruchs used to buy there silver objects and also the clock bought as part of dowry (Petr: now in Cape Town). They had two sons who studied and became successful in their respective research fields. One is in Brno, the other in Ostrava as far as I know. Fanouš, Laďa's cousin soon divorced, the boys were still small. He spent his time in a café, we could always find him there, played cards and, unfortunately, drank quite a bit. He had a room in Miroš's house and died in 1972 of general exhaustion.

The third one, Vladimír, was born in 1895 like Laďa and always stressed that. His wife, Marjánka(Marie) was from Brodek near Přerov and as a widow since 1977, she lived alone in a house in Kojetín. There is a little garden enclosed by the house and a fence. That little space has a pleasant, almost southern feel, delightfully serene for relaxation. They did not have children but had a busy life. Not sure since when, they had a shop in Ruthenia, perhaps in Užhorod, it went well. Vladík knew how to handle people and managed to talk them into what he wanted. When in 1945 Ruthenia was torn away from Czechoslovakia, they returned to Moravia and bought a house in Kojetín. They carried on trading but it was as advantageous. Marjánka was then in charge of a textile shop and behind the shop there was an orchard. Vladík picked up fallen fruit there and had slivovitz distilled from that. Vladík and slivovitz that went together and he gave us some of it. Laďa considered him to be frivolous but he was merry an and excellent companion, we understood each other perfectly. I liked to visit them. Vladík died in 1977.

The youngest was ing. Zdeněk Vavrouch (*1898). He worked for the railways and the on pension in Brno where he had a house (vilka). His wife Vilma was born Gardavská and they had two sons. The older, Zdeněk studied chemistry in Prague (under Ivan) and worked in water management, previously at a sugar factory. He married Marie and they have a daughter, Jana (born perhaps 1977). The younger son married much earlier than Zdeněk, he has a son and a daughter Andrea. I think that he works in a saving bank.

(Petr: Zdeněk and Marie were my main contact with the Vavrouchs. However, in July, Marie wrote to me that Zdeněk was ill and could no longer write. Jana finished her studies of Italian and French and got married in October 2003 - see the photos in the gallery.)

Tetinka's sons visited her on Sundays, helped her with the homestead, then in fact just the orchard. They made fruit wines, very good, repaired what was necessary. The wives usually did not come, the suburb of Kojetín did not attract them.

Miroš and Vladík (not sure if Fanouš as well) had a history of heroic adventure in the Czech Legion in Russia, all the way through Siberia to Vladivostok, Hawaii. Vladík carried with him a tattered photograph of some beautiful Hawaiian girls. They gave Laďa a few souvenirs from the Far East.

Rudolf was probably born in that house with the garden sloping towards the river, where his parents, Matěj and Jana born Gardavská, lived. František took over the homestead and Rudolf went to study. Jana Vavrouchová died in 1951 and I am not sure what happened to the house Na Závodí.

The family vault of the Vavruchs and the Vavrouchs is at the cemetery in Kojetín. It is decorated with a statue of Virgin Mary and two cypresses.

(Petr: The Vavrouchs look after it. Walk straight on from the gate to the middle of the cemetery, look to your right. The main inscription on the tombstone calls the family Vavrouch and first buried in the vault were apparently Vincenc and Johanka. Then Johana and Matěj Vavruch, Rudolf Wawruch ("To him, life was work, family love..."), František and Jana, Vladimír and Marie. There is also a separate tomb for the Vavrouchs but I do not know who is buried there.)

Kojetín is a tiny town in Haná with a big twin-tower church, spacious main square with a town hall, even a hotel. But for me it was mainly Závodí with the provident (rozšafná) tetinka, the loom, and the green shadow of the garden touching the flowing water.

III. LUTOPECNY AND POSTOUPKY (the Klapils, the Pazderas, the Tichýs)

I do not know Lutopecny, have never been there. When I came to the family, no relatives lived there any longer. Maminka's (Petr: Anna Vavruchová's) sister Františka married Tomáš Pazdera (2 June 1851 - 13 June 1927) and they lived "na výminku" in Postoupky. (Petr: on stipulation - the parents give up the household to the children and are assured of a place to live in a small part of it.)

There were fields belonging to the Klapil family and part of it was given to our maminka Anna as a dowry or inheritance. These were, during my time, rented out (pacht) in small pieces to various people. Once a year, before winter, somebody, usually Zdeněk or maminka herself, travelled there to collect the pacht. As I was told, it was always a tug of war because the users demanded a reduction or refused to pay because the field was either wet or otherwise unsuitable, they wanted to swap them in various ways, wanted a smaller size - or a bigger one, in the end it was always a success if any money was collected at all. That was maminka's income.

Later, the fields were meliorated so that their quality was hopefully improved. That was a good argument when collecting the pacht. The whole thing was very time-consuming, various transactions, deletions, transfers - when users changed.

Lutopecny are situated on the banks of the river Morava, in a flat countryside, there are meadows, and it is apparently quite wet.

Maminka was brought up in Lutopecny, from there she was married to Rudolf Wawruch, professor. The relatives in Postoupky then called her "profesorka".

Her sister Františka Klapilová (* 23 July 1857) married Tomáš Pazdera on 27 May 1879. They had three children:

Anna died when she was 3 months old; Jan died when he was 11 years old; and the third was František ( 22 May 1890 - 27 December 1962).

František Pazdera was Laďa's cousin, he was so called Frantík from Postoupky. We liked him very much, he was gifted, bright, sweet. An excellent farmer, he understood agriculture and had the right formal education as well. His hobby was history. He also researched the history of the family and wrote about it. His grandson, Fanouš Tichý, son of his daughter Jožka - married mame Tichá, benefited from his guidance. Fanouš is an agricultural engineer and he lives with his family on the family homestead (grunt) in Postoupky. Jožka lived there as well and Laďa and I always visited them and I went there on my own several times.

When the Klapil daughters got married in 1879 and 1885, stařenka Florentina Klapilová née Konečná stayed in Lutopecny on her own (8 August 1836 - 24 December 1913). She kept the house, and earned some money by buying a tiny calf, feeding it and selling it when it was big. Then she bought the next one. For her own consumption she had a goat and some poultry. Her farmyard features in Lidka's painting "Hens" and Laďa took an excellent photograph of her. The Vavruchs often came from Kroměříž to Lutopecny to visit her on Sundays, they probably went one Sunday to Lutopecny and the next one to Kojetín to visit the Vavrouchs.

When I first came to Postoupky (after our wedding), there lived in the homestead Frantík and Františka and their children Pepuša (later called Jožka) and Miloš who died when he was fourteen. Františka (Klapilová) and Tomáš Pazdera, parents of Laďa's cousin František, lived "na výminku" in a smaller house lower down (Petr: the houses are on a gentle slope). After Tomáš died in summer of 1927, "tetinka from Postoupky" lived there on her own. She was big and had bad legs. Most of the time she sat in the kitchen at a window with a fly swatter and swatted flies. There were many. She liked to smoke, always cigars. The house was musty and damp. There were beds made up high with enormous feather-beds (in Czech peřina or duchna) that were used instead of blankets. It was an art to sleep under feather-beds because they were so stuffed with down (Petr: an expression of prosperity) that they were round and thus they lifted at the ends and did not cover properly. And they were heavy. Tetinka did not hear well but she had a good memory and she was able to criticize things she did not like with insight.

Postoupky is hardly an hour's walk from Kroměříž and I think that the Vavruchs always walked there, Rudolf believed in walking and strolling. From the end of Podzámecká Garden where there were stables and cow-sheds, you leave town on the road near Barbořina and you are almost in Postoupky. The garden, stables, sheds, castle and fields, it all belonged to the archbishopric estate, it was a huge fortune, the archbishop was a wealthy princ (Mářa's joke: she used the word kníže (princ) in the archaic third person). One of them, around the beginning of this (20th) century, was ill and his doctor prescribed that he had to breathe the air in cow-sheds every day. So he went there every morning which did not please the workers there because the cow-sheds had to be perfectly tidy the first thing in the morning.

It is also possible to go to Postoupky by train, in the direction Hulín - Kojetín. It takes a few minutes and there are many trains, particularly now when people commute to Kroměříž from neighbouring villages.

From the train stop Postoupky, it is just a few steps to the village and specifically to the Tichýs. A wide village green leads gently uphill and the third house belongs to the Tichýs. While Frantík successfully managed the big farm with a lot of cattle, horses, pigs, poultry, machinery and full barns, now it is just a house... (Petr: Mářa's descriptions of the place are not translated as they are out of date, Fanouš improved it tremendously.)

A hill called Hradisko, perhaps a continuation of the range Barbořina, rises, quite unexpectedly, behind Postoupky. There is a church, a rectory and a cemetery. Stařenka donated a big statue of Virgin Mary to the church. This church was used by the whole family for weddings, baptisms and funerals. Just above the steep precipice, there is the family tomb and its decorative tombstone forms a part of the wall of the cemetery. František Tichý, Jožka's husband and Fanouš's father, is buried there as well, he died in a coal mine in Ostrava before Christmas 1962. His father-in-law, Frantík, died about a week later.

The view from the tomp to the countryside is beautiful, the green plain with bushes and meadows, also Postoupky and Pazdera's grunt.

There are quite a few family members buried in the tomb, also Jožka's mother, Františka, Fanouš's grandmother. She died in 1967.

One could walk straight down the slope to the village, then via a shortcut past a few houses to the Tichýs. The normal way is on the road, first up to the top end of Postoupky where there is a bus, a restaurant, a shop. There used to be a school and also a bar opposite the Pazderas. They went there to buy bottled beer - and small children their "little beer" (pivečko) theat means fizzy drinks.

IV. OSTRAVA (Rudolf (and Anna) Wawruch)

When tatínek married maminka at Hradisko near Postoupky on 16 February 1885, Rudolf was almost 33 and Anna 21 and 6 months.

Rudolf was well-built, tall, with a mustache and eyeglasses, Anna was rather plump and small, she hardly reached to his shoulders. She had a sweet, delicate face. She wore a long dark dress on the photograph (Petr: I can't translate ... tmavé šaty s "honzíkem", na sukni sahající po zem dva široké do záhybů skládané kanýry). The were a noble pair.

Rudolf was a professor at a vyšší zemské reálné school in Moravian Ostrava. The language of instruction was German. He taught French, Czech, German and English. In average 22 hours per week. He was also a school librarian.

Rudolf obviously constantly deepened his knowledge. His special love was French. He studied books, travelled to France as much as he could during school holidays.

A few of his manuscripts, valuable to us, survived. They are written in dense handwriting, with many explanatory notes, partially in Czech, partially in German using the German script (švabach). There are no dates but it is clear that they are apparently from the Ostrava period, thus from 1885 on.

(Petr: Mářa gives full German titles and even names of some chapters and sections but I am unable to translate it and too lazy to copy. Thus there is a 43 page manuscript about Racine's metaphors and language, and also 14 pages about Jean Jacques Rousseau and his Emile, with notes in Czech and one whole page written in shorthand.)

There is more extensive Czech lecture about Jean Jacques Rousseau and his views about education (25 pages). It starts with a detailed historical introduction and follows with a discussion of Rousseau's method and two Czech references. According to a densely written inscription, it was presented at a meeting of some society and explains that the choice of subject is due to Rudolf's major involvement with the French language.

"Racine and his works" is a lecture in Czech (14 pages), very broadly taken, describing the times from the historical perspective and analyzing the contents and meanings of Racine's individual tragedies.

"Jean Racine and his times" (15 pages) is again very broad and covers the era, society, the king's influence, and also Racine's contemporaries like Pierre Corneille.

Two years in a row, the school's management included Rudolf's essay, written in French, in their printed yearbooks. The first part of "Essay about the theatre of Racine" (27 pages) was published in 1889 and the second part (42 pages) in 1890.

This work survived also in separately printed brochures by the same publisher (Julius Kittl) and same general design, undated.

The inclusion in the yearbooks was undoubtedly an expression of appreciation of Rudolf's work and more was to follow. Appreciation even more valuable due to an unpleasant event that happened already in 1885 and was followed by an accusation, disciplinary action, many appeals, explanations and certainly, which was the worst, a lot of sorrows, worries and upsets for the professor's young family.

Professor Wawruch was accused by his colleagues that he was expressing, in his class, trendy, nationalistic, anti-German and religious, anti-semitic views. It started when he allegedly told a student, Robert Wittek, during a Czech class in Czech: "Don't you have anything better to read?" and then "Vítkuk, sie sind auch schon tief gesunken".

Rudolf compiled an extensive write-up in German and sent it direct to the Imperial and Royal Land School Board in Brno on 13 May 1885 which upset his supervisors and made them respond in a new accusation. The affair dragged on quite long, perhaps a year, but it was somehow settled.

It was not however forgotten among Czech teachers and when Rudolf died on 31 December 1920, two Moravian newspapers published articles in his memory mentioning his problems in Ostrava.

Moravsko-slezský denník 21 January 1921: "...he died a true patriot and selfless worker for the nation. He tried, at a German school in Ostrava, to enlighten Czech students and so bring them up as to prevent them from losing their national identity. At the Land School Board in Brno, there ruled German liberals Dr Manner and Dr Promber. They tried to remove him from his post. If it was not for a Czech member of the board, Dr Fenderlík, who interceded for him - he said that he had to beg for him - he would have been fired. Thus were Czech professors treated at German schools when they refused to be germanized..."

Hlasy z Hané, Prostějov, 8 January 1921: "...today little known to the wide public, he lived for his family and his profession. The fate, or the conditions of schooling at that time, brought him to German schools in the sixties and so he started teaching at land high schools where the language of instruction was German (in Moravian Ostrava and Kroměříž). Despite his conscientious work and language knowledge (English, French and German) he suffered there - on Moravian soil - as a sincere Czech true purgatory; the pupils and parents were set against him, they did not leave him alone; when he demanded that they stop, he was told: "But you are a Czech!" It would be, particularly today, interesting and enlightening to bring up documents about those conditions to the public knowledge. After he served his years, he moved on to a commercial college in Prostějov and he expressed pleasure at how he could teach at a Czech school. He dedicated himself to his profession... (to be continued)
Very old photos (link)