Class Cleansing

Národní zemědělské muzeum (nedatováno)/ The National Museum of Agriculture (undated)

A recommendation on how to “cleanse” agricultural high schools

The developing large-scale agricultural production needs enough class-conscious, politically mature, and expert workers who will build a highly productive socialist agricultural system according to the Soviet agricultural model.

It is therefore necessary that the children in agricultural schools come from working class and small- and middle-scale farming families.

The experience with placing this year’s agricultural school graduates has shown that despite all of the arrangements, many children of the village rich managed to get through into agricultural schools. (By social origin, there are probably 500 children in agricultural schools whose parents own more than 15 hectares of agricultural land.) Educating them requires substantial costs that they will in no way return to the people’s democratic state, as these graduates cannot be entrusted with positions of responsibility.

It is recommended to carry out screenings of the students at agricultural schools, expel the children of the village rich, and cleanse the school according to these principles:

In order to not interrupt teaching in the agricultural schools and limit unnecessary agitation amongst the students, the screening shall be carried out over the holidays. A committee will be made up of representatives of the regional board of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the regional board of the Czechoslovak Youth Union, and the 9th and 5th departments of the Regional National Board (RNB). The committee heads will be the agricultural officers of the RNB. The board of the RNB will name the members of the committee.

The students expelled from agricultural schools – the children of the village rich – will be placed as manual workers at government farms in vegetable production divisions so that they might be extracted from their parents‘ influence and their re-education might be possible. Students from Bohemian regions will be placed primarily at government farms in the Olomouc and Ostrava regions, where there is a shortage in the workforce.

During the assessment of whether the students’ parents are the village rich, the students must enter individually. It is necessary to see the living person, his economic position both today and in the past, and all of his previous actions together as a whole. It is necessary to consistently make sure that middle-class farmers who employ extra workers seasonally are not considered the village rich.

Regional Board of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia: the regional managing authority of the communist party
Regional Board of the Czechoslovak Youth Union: the regional managing authority of the official youth organization
Regional National Board: the highest office of regional self-government

Národní archiv Praha, fond 02/5 – Politický sekretariát ÚV KSČ, svazek 29, archivní jednotka 101, Návrh zásad k provedení očisty zemědělských škol od dětí vesnických boháčů v době prázdnin ze dne 11. 6. 1952/
National Archive Praha, fond 02/5 – Political secretariat of the ÚV KSČ, volume 29, archival item 101, Recommendation of the principles for carrying out cleansings of architectural schools of children of the village rich over the holidays, from 11.6.1952)

Show full transcription of the document


  • Who are the “village rich”? According to the document, why can’t their children attend the agricultural schools? 
  • What happened to the expelled students?
  • How would it be ensured that these students were not under the influence of their parents? Why was the campaign supposed to take place during the holidays?
  • How do you think that this expulsion affected them in their future lives?


This document describes one of the ways in which individual farmers were persecuted via discrimination in the educational process. The children of people who originally owned a large farm or disagreed with collectivisation – referred to in the document as the “village rich” – were unable to attend secondary agricultural schools during the collectivisation era. The regime was therefore not content with just forced collectivisation; the purpose of this measure was to overturn the agriculture system as a whole and limit the career prospects (even in the cooperatives) of the potentially disloyal descendants of big farmers and landowners. Prior to issuing the regulation, students from peasant families were excluded and rejected on a more or less spontaneous basis and in an unorganised manner, but the document here was part of a nationwide campaign to resolve the problem permanently. The source captures the arguments from the time and all of the sophisticated mechanisms of persecution (such as timing measures to coincide with the holidays or separating families by deploying expelled students to work in remote parts of the country). Similar campaigns entirely fell away after the declaration of the Socialist Constitution of 1960, when many children of affected families could graduate. However, the communist regime continued to use barriers to education as a form of repression, although often individually rather than broadly (Normalisation – Everyday lifePersonal story).