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The oak by the hillside

8. August 2023 | Zapomenuté osudy

Forgotten Fates

Article title

The majesty and historical value of the more than 260-year-old tree in Ratiboř...

The oak tree was a witness of the time of the portages who passed here on the trail to Vsetín and Valašská Bystřice during the reign of Maria Theresa. Between 1717 and 1830, the headquarters and corporation of the five-man Provincial Porters' Corps were located in Ratiboř. The Corps of Porters was established in the 17th century as an armed unit guarding the Moravian-Hungarian border. The porters were active in protecting the border from enemy incursions, chasing robbers and smugglers. Their task was to prevent the spread of brigandage and especially robbery. In times of peace, they focused on general surveillance or warned of the possibility of fire in cottages. They were responsible for catching deserters from the war or acted as escorts for soldiers going to war. The headquarters was in Vsetín, but the main one was in Valašská Bystřica. Along the trail along the Ratibořka river, the porters walked to the headquarters in Vsetín and Valašská Bystřica, certainly past our oak tree, which at that time was about 70 years old.

The oak also commemorates historical events connected with the partisan movement in Wallachia during World War II. In early October 1944, representatives of the local resistance organisation "For the Fatherland", led by Soviet partisan Timofey Alexandrovich Makeev, met with the commander of the detachment, Capt. Vitaly Fedorovich Grikovsky, who was part of the 1st Czechoslovak Partisan Detachment of Jan Žižka, to establish mutual cooperation in the fight against the German occupiers. During the liberation of the village, the tree was hit and partially damaged by shrapnel from the charges that the retreating Nazi troops used to blow up the nearby Ratiboř bridge over the Bečva River. The oak survived the war and became a mute witness of the victorious advance of the 1st Czechoslovak Army. Army Corps, which liberated Ratiboř.

However, the tree was proposed to be cut down by the Forests of the Czech Republic, s.p. Zlín in January 2023! However, the municipal authority in Ratiboř refused to issue a permit for felling. It referred to the results of an expert opinion dated 28 November 2022, which stated that the vitality of the tree was excellent to slightly reduced and recommended optimal planting intervention based on the results of the investigation.

The municipal authority is submitting a proposal to the City of Vsetín to grant the status of 'Memorial Tree'. We will not give the tree, which has guarded the trail of the resistant Wallachians for centuries!

Stanislav Haša

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