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Prague
(Page 5 of 6)
Report No. 75
translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Prag 1945 - 1947
Reported by: Dr. Hans Wagner Report of September 27, 1950

location of PragueIn a sudden attack of the Revolutionary Guards on the radio-station in the Schwerin Strasse, now known as Stalinova, the Germans lost one of their most important positions, the radio-station. The Czechs immediately began broadcasting their slogans of hatred, calling for the extermination of the Germans: "Smrt všem Nĕmcum! Smrt všem okupantum! Death to all Germans! Death to all forces of occupation!"

"Kill the Germans wherever you meet them! Women, children, Germans of all ages - every German is our mortal enemy! Now is the chance to exterminate our enemies! Let us make an end of them!"

A few hours after these slogans had been broadcast, numerous reports came streaming in of murders and dreadful atrocities committed against German soldiers and civilians, as well as accounts by terrified eye-witnesses of the first human torches.

It was primarily SS-men who were committed to this kind of fiery death, but since the Communists generously considered any wearer of a uniform to be an SS-man, numerous soldiers of other Wehrmacht formations and members of various units were among the victims.

On May 7th, 1945 the battle of Prague reached its climax. The fury of the Revolutionary Guards against the German civilians continued and the smell of burnt human flesh lay heavy over the town. We received reports concerning the evacuation of German clinics and civilian hospitals according to which seriously ill patients were torn out of their beds and driven into the hands of the mob.

Witnesses gave an authentic report of the death of the last rector of the German university in Prague, Professor Albrecht, Director of the German Neuralgical and Psychiatric Clinic, who was attacked by the mob in his clinic, knocked down and finally hanged in the attic of the lunatic asylum. At the same time the death of Professor Dr. Rudolf Greipel-Bezecny, the Director of the German Dermatological Clinic, became known.

On Tuesday, May 8th 1945, the constant fighting increased, but later on began to subside, since there were rumours of an impending cease-fire, and in fact at 12 o'clock the general cease-fire was announced.

The military surgeon and I immediately paid a visit to Military Hospital VIII, Thierschhaus. We found that its name had been changed to Náhradní nemocnice, emergency hospital. As medical superintendent the Czechs had appointed one Dr. N., whom I had known for a long time. He was a good-hearted man and as medical superintendent during the First World War had displayed a proper understanding of the needs of the wounded. He gave a free hand to the German military surgeon in attending the patients. While we were talking to Dr. N., the police-station at Prague-Kleinseite (a Prague suburb) called and asked the hospital to take in some 100 wounded. Ambulances immediately left and brought in 100 corpses, mostly of young and healthy people, with dreadfully mutilated limbs and faces disfigured past recognition. Each one of them had received a shot through the neck at the end of their torture. The idea of delivering these victims to the hospital was nothing but a clever method of camouflaging the crime. I also paid a visit to a section of the hospital in which a number of my former patients were lying. It was in this room that I myself witnessed how the Revolutionary Guards broke in. When I pointed out to their leader that an armistice had already been declared, he merely threatened me with arrest. Under the pretext of looking for weapons the partisans robbed the wounded soldiers.

The withdrawal of the German Wehrmacht was supposed to be accomplished by evening. We therefore went back to Dejwitz - in order to get instructions for the invalids and population to be withdrawn together with the Wehrmacht. The offices of the commanding officer were, however, in full dissolution and neither he nor his deputy, one General Ziervogel, or any of the officers of the Staff were to be seen. The colleagues of the military surgeon took leave of him, his personal adjutants choosing freedom. I myself elected to do my duty and remained behind with my wounded comrades. We then instructed all hospitals in contact with us that all patients able to walk, as well as all nonessential medical personnel, should join up with the withdrawing Wehrmacht. Unfortunately we had no possibility of informing the already occupied hospitals and the inmates of camps, which - according to the agreement with the Czechs - should have been done by the Czechs themselves. In the course of the discussions the withdrawal of all Germans had been expressly mentioned and a special clause included. As a result of the fact that the Czech National Council broke its word, some 80,000 Germans were made prisoners or internees.

Whereas the Wehrmacht and a few groups of civilians moved towards the West in the direction of Pilsen, where American troops were stationed, we moved to Hospital XVI, which had been set up in the building of the Rumanian Embassy, in order to be close to the International Red Cross. About the same time the so-called "death marches" of the Prague Germans to Theresienstadt began, in the course of which scarcely one in ten of those who had marched from Prague arrived alive.

On Wednesday, May 9th, a group of Revolutionary Guards, led by a police inspector, burst into the hospital, maintaining that shots had been fired from the building. Unfortunately we were still in possession of our revolvers since we had had no opportunity to surrender them. We officers of the Medical Corps were on the point of being lined up against a wall to be shot, when by a lucky chance a Czech doctor of the International Red Cross arrived to prevent it.

Shortly afterwards police entered the hospital for the second time and ordered us to close the front door and the front windows. The German patients were forbidden, under pain of death, to look out of the windows while Russian troops marched through the town. A few hours later heavy tanks drove down the street. The Red Army had entered the town. The large building next to the Rumanian Embassy, which had been used as a Military Headquarters during the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the Czechoslovak Republic, as well as during the Third Reich, was now also chosen by the Russians as their Military Headquarters for the District of Prague.

On Tuesday, May 10th, 1945, when I left for the Thierschhaus to see Dr. Dobbek, I met a long column of refugees, consisting only of women, children and elderly people. I learned that they had come from Ohlau, in Silesia, and had been surprised by the Revolution on their way through Prague; they hoped to get assistance from the International Red Cross, but had not even received milk for the babies. I returned to the hospital and picked up two bottles of milk, but when I tried to give these to them, the bottles were knocked out of my hand by Revolutionary Guards and smashed. Children dropped down from the carts and attempted to lick up the milk from the street, but the partisans prevented them and threatened to shoot me. The column remained halted for several days, both horses and people dying of hunger and thirst. One morning the carts had disappeared.

Dr. N. helped us to find General Srunek, the chief of the Czech Army Medical Service, residing in Bartholomäusgasse, opposite to Police Headquarters. In this building shots and cries were to be heard. General Srunek received us correctly and accepted our requests with understanding. Our requests were as follows:

Appointment of Czech medical officers as commandants of the hospitals instead of the Revolutionary Guards; provision of requisite food rations for the wounded and space for the inmates of Military Hospital I, whom the Russians had threatened to throw out the window if the hospital were not evacuated without delay; aid to the Germans in camps and prisons. Srunek promised to accede to our requests as far as possible. As to the transport of whole Military Hospitals, however, he could only endorse our requests as the Government would have to negotiate with the Americans. He could not, however, do anything for imprisoned civilians, since these were under the jurisdiction of the police.

On Friday, May 11th, we went to see Srunek again. The appointment of the Czech medical officers seemed already to have been carried out, since one, First Lieutenant Dr. Haas, reported to our Hospital XIV. He spoke German fluently and confirmed the medical superintendent as head of the hospital; he also took steps to see that rations were delivered.

In the course of a discussion with the International Red Cross we presented a petition concerning the dreadful death-rate in the concentration camps, especially in the Strahov Stadium, where there were 25,000 persons crowded into a confined space and camping out in the open air. They were receiving no food whatever; even drinking-water had been reduced to a minimum. We also described from our own experiences the brutalities that had been committed against Germans while they were forced to tear down the barricades; as a result a number of dead and injured people had been left lying on the ground. We furthermore urgently requested that the evacuation of hospitals and clinics be halted and that death marches like the one to Theresienstadt should not occur again in the future. These men certainly attempted to do everything within their restricted competence, but they were unable to accomplish anything, since their actions were too much determined by their fear of the Russians.

One day I drove to the Czech children's hospital with a child suspected of having diphtheria. Arriving there the nurse threatened to set the dogs on us if we did not disappear immediately; the Czechs even considered our expectation of their admitting a German child into a Czech hospital to be an unheard-of provocation which only German swine would dare to commit.

The same day I received the order to immediately report to Dr. N. He told me that the police was very much interested in my person, but that he had stood up for me, so that they had refrained from arresting me.

On Saturday, May 12th, 1945 I obtained a lift to my former apartment at the Wenzelsplatz. Upon arrival I found a slip of paper on the door indicating that one Dr. Tichý, gynaecologist, had occupied my flat. The door had been broken open and I entered. The individual rooms as well as the consultation room were in complete chaos; in the wardrobe I happened to find a dark suit which I exchanged for my uniform.

On Sunday, May 13th, 1945 President Beneš arrived at Prague, and rows of Germans were set on fire as human torches in his honour.

During the following days many conferences were held with the International Red Cross and as a result of our talks with the Czech commandant of the hospital we frequently succeeded in getting better rations for the wounded. In Military Hospital VII we discovered Surgeon-General Dr. Otto Muntsch and his wife both dying as a result of violence done to them.

Due to the measures of the Russians, who were waiting to take over all the still remaining hospitals, and through having to take in Germans who had collapsed from mistreatment and exhaustion at their place of work or on the streets but had been given shelter by Czechs who had taken pity on them, and also through having to take in the evicted clinic patients, an incredible shortage of beds and space had set in, so that any proper supervision of the hospital was out of the question. Dr. Dobbek and I therefore decided to call on and see General Gordow, the Russian governor of the city, in order to find a solution. General Gordow, however, told us; "If you haven't enough room for your wounded, throw them into the Moldau River, there's enough room for them!"

In the afternoon I succeeded in taking another walk through the town, where I saw the charred ruins of the burnt-out town hall and other buildings against the sky-line. Hanging from the wrought-iron sign-board of a well-known restaurant opposite the theatre, I noticed the charred remains of a German soldier upside-down. The right arm was missing; probably he had been an amputee. All of the larger stores bore the inscription "Národní podník". In the Graben-Strasse flags were displayed and every second building had a board with the inscription: "Majetek komunistické strany československé" (property of the Czechoslovak Communist party). The "Deutsche Haus" was now called Slovanský dum (Slav House) and also belonged to the Communists. The building of the Bohemian Escompte Bank had become the Headquarters of the Social Democratic Party. The most important Czech bank, the Živno Bank, bore the inscription Národní podník. Although he had not been a collaborator, its President, old Jaroslav Preis, had been interned in Pankratz. Petschek Palace in the Bredauer Strasse, which had been used as the Gestapo Headquarters since 1939, now lodged the GPU. The building was surrounded by a cordon of guards and no loitering was allowed in the vicinity. The German theatre bore the inscription "Divadlo pátého kvĕtna" - Theatre of May 5th.

I entered the Elektra-café, owned by Wagner & Co., of which I was a partner. The waiter now in charge complained of the present trend of business. He gave me a good meal and also a written statement, signed by the 35 employees present, confirming that I had always treated them well.

Screams were heard coming from the main entrance of the Wilson Railway Station. I noticed that a blonde woman was being attacked by the crowd, although she defended herself in Czech, which she spoke without an accent. She was quickly surrounded, her dress torn to shreds, and although she was soon lying on the ground covered with blood, the mob continued beating her. At the same time a heavy beer wagon arrived at the spot; the two horses were unharnessed during the commotion and each was tied to one of the woman's legs and then driven in opposite directions.

On Thursday, May 17th, 1945, I paid a visit to the International Red Cross early in the morning. The usual bustle in this building had ceased. The Russians and the Revolutionary Guards had searched the house. All visitors had been frightened away. The International Red Cross had failed to obtain recognition by Czechoslovakia, although according to information from Geneva Yugoslavia had recognised this Institution.

When I returned to the hospital I found two men waiting for me, one in uniform and the other in civilian clothes. "Leave everything at the hospital", they told me, "you are to be taken for a brief interrogation."

I bade farewell to Professor v. Susani, the advisory surgeon to the military surgeon of the army district, and to Dr. Hanebuth, the former surgeon in charge of Military Hospital I.

At the Police Headquarters, in the corridor, I saw a woman whose head was wrapped in a swastika flag; save for this she was naked. Her skin was covered with black and blue marks and abrasions. Police and members of the Revolutionary Guard lined up along each side of the corridor were driving her back and forth with blows of fists and rifle butts. She was hardly able to walk.

I was led to one Dr. Weiss, an official of the criminal police, on the fourth floor. He picked up a photograph from his desk and asked if it were of me. I answered in the affirmative. He then said to my escort, "red sheet". I asked what this meant and he answered that I was arrested. I then showed my credentials as delegate of the International Red Cross, but he merely made a disparaging gesture and said, "You had better repeat that when you are interrogated." - The escort ordered me to follow them; we entered a large room, in the middle of which was a table at which a number of officials were seated; in the right-hand comer of the room were several crying women who had no doubt been arrested. As before, the interrogation began with questions printed on a questionnaire. I once more protested against my imprisonment by showing my International Red Cross credentials. The official's only answer, however, was: "You had better repeat that when you are interrogated!" Part of the money I had in my pocket disappeared into the drawer of his desk; the man obviously collected it for his privy purse. Soon afterwards all the men were taken to a cell in the basement. The prisoners sat jammed like herrings on a plank-bed and there was no room even to lie down on the floor. The air was unbearably stuffy. Men crawled along under the planks. I was nearly suffocating, but succeeded in getting close to the small window, where I was able to breathe. All of a sudden the door was opened and names were read out. Mine was among them. We were marched to a dingy yard, where we had to stand facing the wall with our hands up. The Revolutionary Guard marched up; the triggers of their automatic pistols clicked, but no shots were fired. Women joined up with us as fellow-sufferers. A wild mob came in through the gate, took our last possessions away from us and dealt out blows. Suddenly we were commanded to run to the bus parked in the road opposite. It was difficult to get through the howling mob to reach the bus and some of our number remained lying on the pavement, beaten up or dead. Even when we were inside the bus, the crowd threw stones at us and threatened us with knives.

We were taken to the prison at Pankratz. Another mob received us at the gate of the prison with stones and revolver shots. The bus remained halted for some time. Finally we drove into the prison-yard. The warders there welcomed us with blows of rubber-truncheons, or "Pendreks" as they were generally called. We were then led into the building of the prison and registered, our very last belongings were taken away and we were finally assigned to the various cells. Two of us were put together with eight other prisoners in a cell which had formerly been destined for a single inmate. In spite of the summer-like heat, only the upper half of the small grated window was open, the palliasses were old and damp and the bugs almost unbearable.

The group commandant was a supervisor named Koberle, who understood well how to make our daily exercise of half an hour into an additional martyrdom. The meals we received were just pig-slop, consisting of dried vegetables, old cabbage, turnips and black, half-rotten potatoes. In the evening we received soup, that is, warm water with some bran in it. The bread and black coffee were also unfit for human consumption. In addition to this the rations were very small. After a few days had passed the majority of us already suffered from gastric or intestinal catarrh. The privy in our cell was occupied day and night; toilet-paper, soap, brush, towel and comb were luxury articles. Suddenly Koberle became a clean-fanatic and we were issued soap and cleaning materials, the reason being that typhus had broken out in the prison at Karlsplatz, with a supervisor as one of the victims.

At Whitsuntide the trials began and I was among those called up. A Russian captain and a female commissar interrogated us, she interpreting my evidence, as none of them was able to understand Czech. I was asked about the authorities in the Wehrmacht and German administration, as well as about medical installations of the Wehrmacht, and similar questions. I was very reticent and gave them to understand that I did not wish to act as an informer.

It became customary for the "heroes of the nation", after carousing, to visit us in the prison as a climax to their amusement. The guards allowed them to enter without any ado. One of the prisoners was seized at random and driven out of the cell with blows and shoves. His cries of pain were to be heard for a long time until he was finally tortured to death. A special sort of sport was at that time very popular at Pankratz. This consisted of throwing the badly beaten victims over the balustrade of the third floor and using them for shooting practice as living targets during their fall.

On Sunday afternoon a group of members of the Revolutionary Guard entered one of the double cells of our section, in which about 25 boys, 14 to 16 years of age, were lodged. These boys were from the Reichenberg region and were supposed to have been "Werwolves". We heard from the orders given how the boys were made to stand in front of our door in two files. First of all they were forced to take part in "cock-fights", to shout "Heil Hitler" and to beat each other. Spectators, men and women, forced them on, sometimes lending a helping hand with rubber-truncheons. This spectacle degenerated into bloodshed. The boys had to lick up the blood from the tiled floor. Whoever refused to do so was half beaten to death. A number of children vomited and the others were ordered to eat the vomit. At last the tortured youths were unable to endure this any longer and were thereupon beaten further until their blood ran over the whole floor. The boys had to clean the floor themselves. Later on the "delinquents" were forced to undress and to lie on a table, on which they were whipped until their flesh was torn to ribbons. The torturers could not restrain themselves from vile jokes and obscenities. After all the young people had been mistreated in this way, they were dragged to the basement and those who still showed signs of life were hanged from hooks on the wall until they were dead.

In spite of extreme hunger and constant pains in the stomach, I was forced to carry 187-lbs flour bags from the truck downstairs to a store-room. After I had carried the eleventh bag I felt sick and dropped it. I myself sank to the ground. Shortly afterwards the warder forced me to go back to my cell. A group of men were exercising in the yard. I discovered among the imprisoned men Professor Dr. Maximilian Watzka, the last Dean of the German Medical Faculty. I cautiously nodded to him. The warden noticed this and kicked me so violently that my right knee hit the stone steps and I injured myself considerably.

As a result of the accident during my work, haemorrhage was added to my gastric complaints, as I was able to diagnose from my tar-coloured excrement.

The sick-room had a bad reputation and it was therefore with reluctance that I decided to apply there for aid. Koberle had no objections. The man in charge of the sick-room was named Černý. When I was there he grabbed the first patient, who complained of angina, by the neck, professed to be able to see nothing, and threw him out. The second patient complained of pains in the chest - a violent punch was aimed at the aching spot, and the consultation was over. The third pointed to the bandage on his leg; Černý immediately tore off the bandages so that the wound started to bleed again. He thereupon assisted the patient out of the room with a kick. Both doctors, also inmates of the camp, stood helplessly by, unable to help. Černý asked me: "What's wrong with you?" "A haemorrhage in the stomach." "What? Tell that to the doctor, but if it is untrue you will be beaten as never before in your life!" A spoon of "Karlsbader Salz" (a laxative) was put into my mouth. The coarse grains stuck in my throat, so I went to the water tap and took a mouthful of water. At the same moment Černý screamed out and when I turned round I was hit on the right and left cheek so violently that blood came from my mouth and nose. I also lost two molars.

The first of our group to be interrogated was the head of our cell. He did not do too badly, as his sister had been a Communist for many years and had marched into Prague together with the army of General Svoboda, a Czechoslovak formation within the Red Army. She had the rank of staff-sergeant and had been decorated with the medal for bravery.

The next from our cell to be interrogated was an architect and it seemed that the GPU had forgotten him. He did not appear for a long time. It was not until after supper that he was thrown back into our cell. We could hardly recognise him. His whole body showed signs of the most dreadful ill-treatment. He lay unconscious on his straw-bed for several hours and was ill for many days.

Victim No 3 was Mr. Reiß, an engineer, who was also dragged back dreadfully disfigured, beaten half-dead and unconscious. When he regained consciousness he told us that the Czechs had kicked him in the stomach.

The continuous loss of blood finally made itself felt. I was able to crawl only on all fours. Buzzing in the ears, fainting fits and unconsciousness for four days finally induced Koberle on July 20, 1945 to deliver me to the prison hospital. Thanks to the care of two German doctors, who, although it was strictly forbidden, smuggled in mashed potatoes, I slowly recovered. The diet of the German patients consisted of the same food as that distributed in the cells, only the quality was even worse. Minister Machník, formerly Minister for National Defence and leader of the Czech Peasants Riding Union, was interned together with me. Another fellow-sufferer was Mr. Bubeniček, a German head clerk in the wholesale timber-firm of Lechner. Together with many other Germans Bubeniček had been forced to run barefoot over glass splinters in front of the church at Holleschowitz. In doing so he had cut his foot and now suffered from a malignant inflammation of the tissues which necessitated several operations, during which the surgeons were not allowed to use narcotics or local anesthetic.

Bubeniček had been a witness of the happenings which caused the death of Dr. Lang, head of the tuberculosis ward of the Bulowka-Hospital, the largest modem hospital. The then-Director Professor Dr. Walter Dick is today the Director of the Surgical Clinic II in Cologne.

Immediately after the revolution began, on Saturday, May 5th, Bubeniček had been imprisoned together with many other Germans in the basement of the Hotel "Schwarzer Adler", a former brothel of the Wehrmacht. The prostitutes and their procurers celebrated orgies of sadism and perversion with men and women stripped naked. Dr. Lang was particularly severely ill-treated. Covered all over with wounds he was driven insane with pain and hanged himself from a pulley for beer-barrels, under which his torturers had forced him to stand.

Notwithstanding the fact that Bubeniček's wound was still festering, he was released from the hospital by order of the Czech surgeon in charge, one Dr. Rein (from Postelberg, of German descent), and was returned to a Forced Labour Camp.

Another cell-inmate of mine was one Dr. Chrobok, an Austrian, who had been transferred to the Ministry of Postal Services in Prague during the period of the Protectorate. (Protectorate = Czechoslovakia between 1939 and 1945, excluding the Sudeten areas.) His son was said to live in Linz. He was moved to the prison hospital with an acute gastric and intestinal catarrh, probably of infectious origin. The patient received only several powders, which had no effect at all. Animal charcoal, too, was without effect. Instead he was given a tin plate of pudding, which he eagerly swallowed down although he had been forbidden to do so as he suffered from unappeasable thirst. The consequences set in at once. He died at night after enduring great pain. I crawled to the door and knocked, since there was no bell. The night-watchman came at last, and when I told him that Chrobok had died, he said: "And that's why you are bothering me? Thank God there's now one German swine less."

Every morning the first work was that of the Gonkaři, as the men were called who had to carry the five to seven corpses of those who had died at night to the room where the corpses were deposited.

I stayed in the hospital till August 20, 1945, and, although I was hardly able to stand on my feet, I was turned over to Section IIa of the so-called People's Court. Almost all of those prominent persons were held here who, according to the recently issued Retribution Edict of President Beneš, were to be brought before the People's Courts. Owing to the elasticity of its articles, any Sudeten German, and even more so any member of the Wehrmacht, could be charged under this Edict with high treason. My gastric complaint became considerably worse, furthermore there were such swellings on my limbs that I was unable to remove my trousers in the evening. In addition I contracted an acute articular rheumatism, which especially affected the right side of my body. The right knee which had been injured by my fall on the stone steps was swollen up like a balloon and very painful.

There I met Dr. Viktor Kindermann, the medical officer of Prague, who had been disfigured past recognition when he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard at Aussig on May 27th. He had been delivered to Pankratz from the police headquarters in Prague.

My stomach pains became intolerable and I reported to the sick-room where conditions had improved since Černý had been appointed commandant of the hospital. Among the patients I met Dr. Hans Neuwirth, former delegate of the Sudeten German party. While I waited for the doctor in charge, I was able to exchange a few words with one Professor Dr. Josef Pfitzner who suffered from a serious angina and was also supposed to see the doctor in charge.

On September 5th, 1945 I was transported to the prison-hospital for the second time; cell 13 became my quarters.

It was here that I learned that Bubeniček, whom the Czechs had sent on hard labour in spite of his still un-healed leg, had been returned to the hospital. A malignant inflammation of the tissues required repeated surgical operations. As before, no narcotics were allowed to be used. But all the operations had not the slightest effect and a general blood-poisoning finally freed him from his sufferings.

Colonel Walena from Bilin, a cellmate of mine, contracted an inflammation of the lungs aggravated by a heart disease and died three days afterwards - his debilitated body, enfeebled by hunger, no longer had any power of resistance.

Another member of my cell was one Cink, a Czech watchman from the Walter Automobile and Aeroplane Motor Works in Jinonitz near Prague, who suffered from a high temperature; the doctors diagnosed disease of the kidneys. In his delirium one night he fell out of bed and remained lying on the ground unconscious. When I drew the blanket from his bed in order to cover him up, the unbearable stench coming out of his bed almost caused me to faint. He had never been given a urinal or any chamber-pot. On the point of death he was transferred to the General Hospital. When the so-called "sheet" - a rotten rag full of excrement - was taken off, I noticed that the entire palliasse was grey-white. Looking closer, I discovered it to be crawling with flea larvae and maggots.

One fine evening in September there was an immense tumult on the square in front of the court-building at Pankratz. That part of the square which I was able - though forbidden - to see from my window was crowded with cars and pedestrians. Mothers pushed their perambulators and children of school age climbed on the tops of the cars. All of a sudden continuous applause was to be heard. Professor Dr. Josef Pfitzner was being hanged from the middle one of three gallows, built up on a base covered with black. About 50,000 spectators were present at the execution.

Pfitzner was followed by an SS-officer of high rank from Berlin by the name of Schmidt, an inspector of the labour groups of PoW-camps. He was succeeded by Dr. Fritz Schicketanz, a lawyer, who had been accused of high treason because he had drawn up a legal opinion for the Sudeten German Party which was presented to Runciman in 1938. Number 4 was Dr. Blaschtowitschka from the German Special Court at Prague. Shortly afterwards his father, President of the Senate in Prague, died of hunger.

Among the next victims was Dr. Franz Wabra, head of the ward for Internal Medicine and Director of the hospital at Bernina; together with him, a certain Stanek, a Czech official of an insurance company, had to ascend the gallows.

The treatment and medical attention in the ward were still very bad. The brother of Moravec, who had been Minister during the period of the protectorate government (see above), was admitted. Both his legs were paralyzed after his bout with typhus and he had been transferred to this hospital from the German hospital in the Salmovka Strasse. Another prominent man was General Blaha, who was delivered into this hospital after an attempt to commit suicide.

At Christmas 1945 the central-heating apparatus ceased to function after feeble attempts had been made to start it a few days before.

The trial of Blaha, Richtrmoc and Major Mohapl was fixed for the middle of January. This was the first trial to be carried out by the newly established National Court (Národní soud) before which such Czechs could defend themselves who had transgressed against the national honour.

General Blaha was the founder of the Society of the Friends of Germany, the presidency of which he had passed on to Richtrmoc. Later on Blaha founded the League of Czech Veterans, Major Mohapl performing the duties of a Secretary-General in both organizations. Blaha and Richtrmoc were sentenced to death, Mohapl to twenty years imprisonment.

In January 1946 Dr. Jaroslav Preis, director of the Žinvo Bank, died in an adjoining cell.

From the beginning of my second stay in the hospital I was also able to watch Karl Hermann Frank (Reichskommissar of the Protectorate) take his daily walk between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

On February 20, 1946 I was discharged from the prison-hospital and moved to a cell in the basement of the main building. On February 21st I was sent to work, without a hat, stockings, or even a coat. I was assigned to a labour column at Holleschowitz, where I met the children of Dr. Egon Ritter von Weinzierl, a university lecturer who had been killed by the Czechs. As a member of the work group I sometimes had the opportunity to go to town to visit Czech acquaintances who supplied me with money and food. At the end of March I was taken to the transfer-camp at Moderschan-Modřany. Here I met Professor Dr. Riehl, head of the Institute for Experimental Pathology, Dr. Hoffmann from the Ministry of Commerce at Prague, Mr. Manzer, an engineer, Baron Korb v. Weidenheim and many others. It was here that I received knowledge from an eyewitness of the death of one of my closest friends, Dr. Viktor Kindermann, who had died in the prison-hospital at Pankratz. Shortly before our transport group was marched off to the station, I was told that I would be kept back because of important evidence. I was thus brought back to Pankratz on April 5, 1946, where I met the following persons known to me: Dr. Polk, doctor from Smichow, Farnik, an engineer, head of the Pensioner's Institution of the Mines and Metal Foundries Association in Prague, Mr. Ferg, another engineer, and so on. The former State President Beran was held imprisoned at the same time. The doctors in charge of the sick-room were Dr. Kleveta, a Czech, and Professor Hohlbaum, head physician of the Clinic, as well as Dr. Erich Brandstätter.

At the end of August I was transferred to the prison on the Karlsplatz.

At the beginning of 1947 the executions of Ernst Kundt, Hans Krebs, Hans Westen, Schreiber, Böhm and Werner took place. Dr. Karl Feitenhansl, the leader of the physicians during the period of the Third Reich, was sentenced to penal servitude for life. The accusations against Rudolf Jung and Dr. Rosche were dropped, since both had starved to death at Pankratz.

On April 8, 1947 I came to Pankratz for the last time, where I met one Thomson, deputy-head of the Gestapo at Kladno, and Dr. Fritz Köllner.

My trial before the People's Court was fixed for April 15, 1947. The main witness for the prosecution, Mrs. Černiková-Fischlová, failed to appear. The other witness, a Czech officer of higher rank, stated that I had given medical attention to him and his Jewish wife long after the time that this had been made illegal; and that I had protected him in autumn 1944 from being assigned to a labour camp.

After the trial had lasted for four hours the court announced my acquittal. On April 24, 1947 I was released from Pankratz together with Mr. Anton Kiesewetter, director of the German Kredit-Bank in Pankratz, who was later transferred to Reichenberg.

I was transported by truck to the camp in Rusin, where I again had to do hard work, which I was barely able to accomplish owing to my gastritis. Kant, the inspector, ignored my protests, however. Together with me in the same labour group was Dr. Wilhelm Pleyer, the well-known author. From Rusin I was sent to the transfer-camp at Leschan, and after All Saints Day to that at Taus, the small amount of luggage left to us being pilfered on the way. On November 27, 1947 an ordinary passenger-train took me across the border to Furth i. W. My luggage consisted of a bundle of old linen and a few moth-eaten garments.

I hereby declare under oath that the foregoing deposition is true in all of its details.


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Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Survivors speak out