Sudeten-German Inferno: the little-known tragedy of the
Sudeten Germans

Ingomar Pust

Acts of Violence During the 1945 Expulsion.
Sudeten Mountains: Murders of Sudeten Germans

Excerpts from "Riesengebirgs-Heimat"
ermannseifen: by verdict of the Commander of Arnau, executed publicly before the entire community on June 29, 1945: Andreas Pohl, butcher; Franz Pohl (his son); Josef Gaber, baker; Josef Stransky, barber; Alois Struchlik, laborer; Frau Pohl subsequently hanged herself.

Marstig: executed in June 1945 by Czech soldiers from Arnau and the Narodni Vybor, before the entire community: Nittner (Hohenelbe), Stefan Rzehak, mayor; Josef Gall, master spinner; Josef Tauchmann, company representative of factory Mandl; Anton Jochmann, railwayman.

Vordermastig: May 1945: Josef Schröfel, innkeeper, hanged himself. His wife took poison when his estate was plundered during the occupation.

Keilbaude: Braun, innkeeper, murdered.

Schüsselbauden: Raimund Kraus and Johann Hollmann, shot by partisans.

Hütten-Witkowitz: Rudolf Schier, died in the Jitschin prison.

Theresiental: June 1945: Alois Baruschka, abused, then shot.

Jablonetz: September 8, 1945: Schimmer, died following abuse in Karthaus-Jitschin.

Mastig: May 1945: Alfred Kuhn, beaten to death near Jitschin.

Spindlermühle: Alfred Fischer, senior primary school teacher, murdered in May 1945. Hans Buchberger and his mother, murdered in Trautenau in May 1945.

Arnau: Heinz Soukop, Eichmann's procurator, shot by a firing squad on June 10, 1945. Erich Kowarsch, brewery employee, beaten to death in early June 1945; Josef Rummler and his wife Marie, née Petrik, were brutishly abused and then shot on June 18, 1945. Many poisoned themselves (Iwonsky, family Schenk, Melichar).

Klein-Borowitz: June 18, 1945: Linhart and his wife, Müller, arrested in Arnau, beaten and tortured in the Eichmann Basement, then taken to Mastig on June 21, 1945 and shot on the orders and in the presence of the Czech Commander of Arnau, Captain Wurm from Horoschitz.

Ponikla: mayor Knappe executed in Starkenbach.

Rochlitz: Fritz Sedel of Oberrochlitz, arrested in May 1945, sent to Starkenbach in January 1946, then to the concentration camp Hrabatschow; has been missing ever since.

Zittau-Neuhammer: along this stretch of road some 60 to 80 German prisoners of war, among them many Sudeten Germans from Lauban, were butchered because they could not keep up the pace of this death march. Final stopover via Sagan was the camp Jaworczno near Auschwitz, where everyone had to work in the mine and 18 died, 1 suicide, and some were shot trying to escape; among them were many from the Sudeten Mountains.

Kukus: mid-May 1945: Ginzkey, teacher from Reichenberg, brutally beaten, then died; Petran, teacher from Seidenschwanz, and Karl Schneider, gardener from Gradlitz, beaten and shot behind the railway yard; Alois Slaboch, senior civil servant, and Eusebius Areyczuk, Ukrainian greengrocer, both beaten and then shot in the Stangendorf quarry. Frau Slaboch cut her throat.

Gutsmuts-Arnau: Wilhelm Pradler, construction master, and his wife Maria, shot in Proschwitz in front of the Elb mill on April 23, 1945; slandered and betrayed by: Amler, Nossek and Schiefert, as well as a Czech from Proschwitz.

Schwarzenthal: Hubert Wawra, administrator, murdered at Mencik near Hohenelbe. A total of 17 inhabitants disappeared; 14 of them were: Franz Munser, master dyer; Franz Kröhn, farmer near Mencik; Josef Ettrich, coachman; Franz Seidel, carpenter; Wenzel Seidel, mailman; Maiwald, master saddler; Johann Kraus, master dyer; Josef Kraus, near Mencik; Oswald Renner, telephonist; Wonka, farmer; Josef Schneider, quarry laborer; Josef Langer, office employee; Edi Klust, master weaver.

Lauterwasser: January 24, 1945: Johann Zirm, policeman, hung in Jitschin.


Murder Gang Kokoff
The Night of Horror at the Glassworks (June 1945)
fter the gruesome excesses on the Jahn Sports Field in Komotau, the other victims were herded out of the city. In rows of six they were marched up the Weinberg mountain. All the windows in the city and the villages were shut, and people were nowhere to be seen; and where a frightened face did peer out behind the curtains, shots were fired at it without mercy. The column seemed endless, some 6,000 to 8,000, including many elderly and ill.

The guard had been reinforced. Every 10 to 15 meters a soldier walked along, with submachine gun at the ready, and at the end of the column drove a truck with a machine gun set up on it. Everyone wondered silently, "what new devilry are they up to now?"

Soon we passed Lake Alaun, through Udwitz and Görkau and to Rottenhaus. Yes, we had always seen you with a glad heart before, beloved homeland, we hiked through and explored your nooks and crannies. Hide your face and weep with your sons, herded along here now like animals towards an uncertain fate!

Time and again we were ordered to run, and rifle butts and whips urged us on. A political leader in uniform was ordered to run around the column of people, a picture of Hitler in his hand. He didn't last long. Soon afterwards I saw others drop out of the rows and collapse in exhaustion at the side of the road (Willomitzer). And now the terrible happened. The Czechs had posted a follow-up commando, whose task it was to finish off - with a bullet into the back of the neck - anyone who dropped behind. The shots rang out behind us with ever-increasing frequency as the murderers were kept busy. The Czechs urged us to greater and greater speed, and the shooting became constant. 175 people were left dead.

Then came the first houses of Gebirgsneudorf, where we were ordered to "STOP!" Here and there, some of us began to "eat" grass for lack of real food. In the morning of the third day we had to get back on the road. We were taken back to the coal basin of Brüx, to the large hydrogenation works at Maltheuern. The Czechs needed slave labor. We were to be it. A new stage on our journey of suffering awaited us.

The "Glashütte", the old glassworks which had been set up as first temporary concentration camp primarily with the aid of immense quantities of barbed wire, was an ideal site for assembly-line-style murder. It was in an isolated location far outside the city. Here there were no unwanted witnesses to the events of those days; here none saw Death, with whip and pistol, stalking the darkness of the old factory premises, flogging and murdering as he went; here no-one heard the screams, the moans, and the report of the gunshots which often put an end, at long last, to protracted torture. No-one, except the unfortunate inmates themselves. And they would be silenced somehow, if they even survived at all.

Some 250 prisoners were already confined in this camp in the very first days. Among them were several women, and boys hardly past school-age. Just like the men, the women were shaved bald, abused and kicked. It choked my heart to hear their screams and sobs; I will never forget these impressions, nor the many others for which the term "inhuman" is hardly adequate to express the criminally despicable nature of these excesses.

But I shall speak about Kokoff. That is what one of our people who knew him called him. He was the instigator of the "great roll call" that led up to the mass shootings in the night of June 7, 1945. And he was himself the most active in this gang of murderers. Almost to a man, the camp guards had a passion for intimidating people, and it only took one look to recognize them as bullies. And each sought to outdo the others. Our agony was their delight. The night-time roll calls were particularly feared, since the camp guards often wanted to provide not only themselves but also visitors to the camp with satanic entertainment. Especially the Czech women did themselves proud in this - in spitting, beating and rabble-rousing in general - and the guards were only too happy to jump into action. The nightly "roll calls" usually ended in gross floggings of selected unfortunates in the Beating Cell, whence the bloodcurdling screams of the tortured often rang out for hours until they finally dwindled to groans or death-rattles or, as in one case, changed to inarticulate singing because the victim had lost his mind from all the pain and fear - until the tiny spark of his life ultimately gave out altogether, to a bullet.

When we were flogged awake in the night of June 7, 1945, we were expecting one of the usual "roll calls". But when we saw a group of uniformed and armed strangers crowding into the room, led by the infamous Kokoff now in the role of partisan leader, we were immediately filled with dark presentiments. Kokoff, a typical Balkanese - striking face, dark skin, a not entirely pure-blooded Czech, as they say - was clearly in charge. And that night Kokoff, with his cap at a rakish angle, a cigarette dangling carelessly from a corner of his mouth, and swinging his gun, called loudly: "SS and SA, step outside!" After the men assembled in the brightly lit yard, a night-time sport of an unusual kind began. We saw it all from the window of our cell, and heard the orders, given in Czech: "Down! Up! Squats!"

And then, horrified, we saw how they herded one man after the other at pistol-point into an open space. Shots fell, more and ever more. That night Kokoff kept a careful count of those who had to face his gun. After that act of the tragedy was over, he bragged about having shot 17 himself. The next morning the guards called for volunteers to load up the dead bodies. A large Wehrmacht truck with a hood pulled up on the lawn to take up the dead. And this happened night after night in the concentration camp Glassworks near Komotau.

German privates were hanged from lamp posts.
In the insane explosion of sadism, German privates were strung up from lamp posts. This fate struck primarily the wounded who were recovering in Prague hospitals and were able to go out already.


Hounded to Death!
eport of Karl K., teacher and former registrar of the South Moravian market community Grusbach:

"In the evening hours of May 17, 1945, partisans from out-of-town got me out of bed and took me to the gendarmerie command post. There, my pockets were emptied, they even took my eyeglasses, I was beaten up and then thrown into a detention cell, where I found some companions in misfortune. We stayed there until May 21, 1945, on which day we were herded on foot to Znaim, accompanied by armed partisans. This march took us through Grafendorf, Höflein, Gross Tayax, Erdberg, Joslowitz, Zulb, Rausenbruck and Hödnitz. There we had a brief stop-over at the gendarmerie quarters. Josef E. and Josef D. had to report to the office. They returned looking agitated. Josef E. had an "SS" painted on the back of his jacket in blue paint, and Josef D. a double "++". Then we trekked on to Znaim, where we arrived in the evening and were taken to the Robotarna prison. In one of the basement rooms we had to take our shirts off and lie down on the ground with bare upper body and buttocks. Four partisans flogged us mercilessly with whips and straps. For hours all one could hear was the brute cursing of the partisans and the whimpering and cries of the tortured. Men had also been brought in from other parts of South Moravia, and they fared no better than we did. Our countryman Josef D. must have received the greatest part of the beatings. When he was thrown into our cell as the thirteenth of us, there was no part of his body that was not covered with welts (back, buttocks, chest, abdomen). He moaned pitifully without cease and died several hours later that same night. Our torturers ordered his body taken into a different cell. The next day he was probably thrown into the pit that already held the bodies of other victims who had been beaten to death or shot. The following day (May 22, 1945) the rest of us men were taken under heavy guard to the concentration camp Mannsberg. For two weeks Josef D.'s name was still read out at the daily roll call, even though they knew perfectly well that he had been tortured to death in the Robotarna prison.

"Josef E. was also among the men who had been beaten in the Robotarna prison and had spent the night in darkness detention. Twice he tried to commit suicide to spare himself further torture, but his fellow prisoners managed to prevent it at the last minute. Josef E. was then also sent to the concentration camp Mannsberg and was assigned to outdoor labor at the Ditmar earthenwares factory. In late July 1945, due to renewed abuse by the Czechs, he made a third, successful attempt at ending his life."

One of the countless dead.
One of the many dead from among the millions of expellees.

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Sudeten German Inferno
The hushed-up tragedy of the ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia