Report No. 33
Reported by: F. Danzer Report of July 22, 1946
On September 5, 1945, just as I was doing the inventory prior to transferring my business to a Czech administrator, I was arrested and committed to the Karlsbad Police jail. My fiancee who had been helping me with the inventory was also arrested. During her arrest she was slapped in the face for no reason at all. I myself was beaten with rifle butts, and kicked. On arriving at the jail I was again severely maltreated. Two ribs in my left side were broken in the process. My face and head were swollen beyond recognition, and several of my teeth had been knocked in. I also suffered contusions on my tailbone and right leg. I was thrown unconscious into the cellar. I was not interrogated until late June of this year. I was not charged with anything. In mid-July this year I was discharged, to be resettled.
Reported by: Josef Mörtl Report of September 29, 1946 (Karlsbad)
I had been an officer at the police headquarters in Karlsbad since 1939, and in May 1945 the Czechs left me in office because no-one had brought any charges against me. In late July 1945 the Czechs dismissed me. In the meantime I had repeatedly witnessed the maltreatment and execution of Germans. Several times Germans had been taken from their cells and gunned down in the yard. On the 13th [of August?] last year I was arrested myself, and committed to the Auschowitz camp in Marienbad. There I saw many people who had been beaten beyond recognition. An 86-year-old man by the name of Zeiler, from Einsiedl, told me that he too had been badly maltreated. I also had to spend 8 months in Neurohlau. 13 and 14-year-old boys were imprisoned there, and were also badly abused. In the meantime my family was repeatedly thrown out of our home and robbed blind. I have nothing at all left of my belongings. My resettlement luggage consisted only of what some good-hearted people gave me.
Reported by: Hedwig Nao Report of September 13, 1946 (Karlsbad)
On July 21, 1945 my 80-year-old husband Marko Nao was arrested right off the street and sent to the Karlsbad Court prison. Despite his age and his weak constitution he was put to performing clearing operations. The very first day he collapsed at work and had to be carried back to the prison. The men who carried him were beaten, and my husband also was hit over the head. A week later he was sent from the Karlsbad prison to the concentration camp Neurohlau, where he arrived in such a weakened state that he could not even give his name. On August 4, 1945 he died of debilitation. He was not given a religious burial and therefore his death was not registered and I have also not been officially notified to this day. I had to learn it all from other men who were imprisoned along with my husband, and from Dr. Kudlich, the camp physician of Neurohlau, as well as from the German camp administrator Korb.
Reported by: Wilhelm Meindl Report of September 13, 1946 (Karlsbad)
I owned a mill-construction business in Karlsbad. On October 1, 1945 the Czech Jan Verner was appointed as trustee to my business. He saw to it that I was not present when inventory was taken, and consequently the inventory ended up being too low by 250,000 Kčs, as was discovered later on. By means of slander and defamation he made it impossible for me to report his misdeeds to the police, and he covered up his own irregularities by constantly accusing me of sabotage. In this way he tried to intimidate me. Nonetheless he tried his best to prevent me from being expelled because he wanted my expertise in mill construction. When it was time for me to be resettled, he saw to it that my luggage was looted. All my bags were searched and mostly my winter clothes and linen were taken from me. I was prevented from taking any tools with me, even though the District Resettlement Commission had given me a permit allowing me to do so.
by Czech youths in the street
Reported by: Leopoldine Schneider Report of September 13, 1946 (Karlsbad)
In mid-August 1946, at 6 o'clock one afternoon, I was walking home through Panorama Street in Karlsbad. I was wearing my white armband. About halfway down Panorama Street, near the milk bar, a 12-year-old boy holding a whip barred my way and cursed me in Czech. I tried to go around him, not saying anything. He hit me over the head with his whip. Then four or five other boys of the same age came running up and also hit me with their whips. I began to run, and they pursued me with whip lashes, heckling and cursing me, for about 15 minutes all the way home, where I arrived sobbing and exhausted. On the way, Czech adults looking out of windows and doorways as well as Czech passers-by in the street watched the spectacle, laughing and shouting encouragement to the boys.
Reported by: Alfred Müller Report of September 13, 1946 (Karlsbad)
I was police chief in Karlsbad and was allowed to remain in office when the Czechs marched in in early May 1945, as there were no charges against me and as I was commonly known to be loyal and kind. I continued to serve as deputy chief of the police jail. There, I saw how from the very first day on all the men being brought in were grossly maltreated until they collapsed, covered in blood. I was horrified at these happenings, and commented accordingly to the Czech N., who himself disapproved of the abuse and stressed that not a single blow had been dealt out here during the time of German administration. Someone else must have heard this comment as well, for only half an hour later I was dismissed from office. That was on May 28, 1945. In early July I was summoned by the police, detained in the jail, and badly maltreated there myself. I received about 100 blows to the head, and just as many punches to my back and stomach and, as I fell to the ground, kicks to my head and face. With his boot heel one of them knocked out three of my teeth and injured my left eye. I was then handed over to the court without any interrogation whatsoever, and four weeks later the court sent me to the Neurohlau concentration camp. In Neurohlau I was again maltreated very badly and repeatedly. Being a former police officer did not help my situation. Once I was beaten unconscious. It was not until September that my personal data was registered and I was interrogated. Dr. N., who conducted the questioning, suggested that I would be released in as little as 14 days. But as it turned out I had to spend 13½ months in the camp, and was then discharged without even a trial.
[Scriptorium notes: in a special reprint of this book issued in
the Europa-Buchhandlung in Munich, pages 294+ contain the following report which is not
included in the original edition. This supplementary report is introduced as follows: "This report,
which is a significant contribution to the accounts of the events that took place in Karlsbad in
1945, was included here instead
of Reports 171-176 of the previous edition." The
reports 171-176 in question are the accounts that have been reproduced above as
Reports 33-38. Scriptorium wishes to thank Mr. N. L. for kindly providing us with this
Reported by: Marie Scherzer Report of January 23, 1951 (Karlsbad)
After the Russian troops marched into Karlsbad,* a Russian division, among others, set up camp on the car and carriage parking lot beside the cemetery, about 50 steps from the cemetery administration building where my parents (Franz Weis and Julie Weis) and my sister (Gertrud Weis) lived. On October 17, 1945* around 11 o'clock p.m., some 30 Russian stormed the house, broke down the house door, invaded my parents' apartment and the office rooms and engaged in a frenzy of senseless destruction. Due to the danger of looting, my parents and sister had not stayed the night in the apartment, but rather with acquaintances living in the closed settlement region. We learned of the incident the next morning, and when we were able to get back to the house and apartment after three days, what awaited us was a dreadful scene of destruction. In the office, the closets, desks, safe etc. were broken open, the money, files, books, documents etc. were torn up and strewn all over the floor, even the typewriter had been thrown on the floor. The apartment was in an even worse state; linen, clothing, bedding and cook pots were gone, and some items were found in the nearby woods, torn and dirty. Some of the things that were left, such as furniture etc., were smashed, food was dumped on the floor, and the entire apartment was disgustingly filthy. It was a shocking, devastating sight. My parents and sister had to stay with me now.
[*Scriptorium notes: the date seems to be an error and should probably read May 17, 1945. The Russians marched into Karlsbad on May 6, 1945 and the rest of this report deals with events in June 1945; October would be outside the relevant chronology. "Thank you!" to Mr. M. K. for pointing this out for correction!]
After the wave of lootings subsided, my father resumed his job in the cemetery administration, and my mother attempted to restore the apartment to order and cleanliness. But during these days they were constantly harassed and bothered by Russian soldiers as well as by partisans and Czech civilians claiming to be Commissars. While working on the Jewish cemetery on June 1, 1945, my father was attacked by two Czech gendarmes, who beat him to the ground with bludgeons and knuckle dusters. Then these two gendarmes went into the cemetery administration building, where they found my mother. They dragged her into the kitchen and began to beat her too. After adding this misdeed to their accomplishments, they locked her into the kitchen. Then they went into the office and vented their fury on the employee, Alexander Neumeyer. He sat unsuspectingly at the typewriter, typing. He too was beaten. It is said that he died of the consequences of this beating. In the meantime, my mother in her fear and pain had opened the window and cried for help. My father, who was just dragging himself into the house, heard my mother's cries for help, and tried in the depths of his despair to put an end to the martyrdom by slashing his wrists and carotid artery. A woman visiting the cemetery found my father in the new section of the Catholic cemetery, where he had dragged himself, lying on a grave in a pool of blood. The woman hurried to the cemetery office and told Mr. Neumeyer, who meanwhile had freed my mother from her kitchen imprisonment, and she also told my mother. Mr. Neumeyer immediately telephoned the rescue service, who came and took my father to the hospital.
On June 3,1945 my sister Gertrud Weis, my brother-in-law Ernst Scherzer, and I visited my father in the hospital. My brother-in-law left the hospital shortly before 5 o'clock p.m., while my sister and I stayed with our father a bit longer. Suddenly the sounds of howling and yelling penetrated the ward, and a short time later four Czech civilians appeared, led by the alleged "Commissar" Crha, and asked who we were. After we answered, they yanked my father out of the bed, took away his pocket-watch, and declared that the three of us were under arrest. When I asked on what grounds, they roared at me: "More Germans must meet their maker!" With crude curses, they herded and shoved us down the steps - my father was only wearing a thin shirt and pants - and forced us into a waiting car. The four civilians sat on the wings, and off we went to the "Národní výbor", which was housed in the former Jewish retirement home, now a government building. Two of the civilians went into the building and returned a short time later with several bottles of liquor. They distributed these among themselves and wasted no time drinking to each other's health. To constant curses, and threats such as "Take one more good look at everything, this is your last ride, you Nazi swine," "Your final hour has struck," etc., the ride went on to the "Golden Cross" in Waldzeile [Street], the headquarters of the Czech police, commissars, partisans etc. When we had arrived there, we were pushed into a ground-level room at the left and inundated with the crudest kind of curses. The term "German Nazi swine" was the mildest. My father had to take a seat, and my sister and I stood to either side of him. The four civilians were joined in this room by more and ever more "Commissars", some 8 of them, armed with rifles, rubber truncheons, leather straps, knuckle dusters etc. Then "Commissar" Crha turned to my father and began in broken German, "Well, you German Nazi swine, how many men did you hide at mobilization when Adolf came," and right away all the "Commissars" began raining blows on my father with whatever they had in hand, so the blood gushed to all sides. When my sister and I began to cry, we too were given a hefty share of blows. The they dragged my father into an adjoining room and threw him onto a plank bench, and the beating began anew. After these tortures he was brought back into the first room. Meanwhile some of the Germans being held prisoner at the "Golden Cross" had been fetched. They had clearly undergone beatings of their own, and were disfigured almost beyond recognition by bloody bruises, cuts and swellings all over their faces and hands. Each of these men was now asked, "Do you know this German Nazi swine?" With a single exception they replied "no", and we too did not know the men in question. Only one, the former senior groundskeeper of the cemetery garden, Alfred Lippert, who was also disfigured by blood-suffused bruises and swellings, said "yes". At that, Commissar Crha said to Lippert: "Here, take Puška and shoot all three." But Lippert replied: "Commissar, I can't do that. Shoot me if you must, but these three have done nothing." Then the prisoners were hustled out of the room again. While they had been there, the "Commissars" had gone to work again on my father. One of them was constantly yanking on his ear and even cut into his right ear, another poured gasoline over him and wanted to set him on fire, which a third, however, prevented him from doing by knocking the lighter out of his hand. Yet another kept shoving sharp cartridges into my father's back and sides, and others hit him with their rifle butts or kicked him. Then father was pushed back into the adjoining room.
Then "Commissar" Crha asked me: "You have last wish?" At that, I knew what was to be done with us. I told him that I would at least like to see my mother and my three little children (3½ months, 4 and 6 years old) one more time and to say farewell to them. He demanded proof that I had children, and I happened to have a photo of them with me. Then he said: "You want to say goodbye to father and sister, or not?" I thought of my mother, my three little children, and my husband, of whom I had had no news for over a year, and replied: "If it has to be so, yes!" I was herded into the adjoining room, and under guard I had to say farewell to my dear father. He spoke softly and said, "give my love to your mother." He was bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears, and one eye was swollen shut. I squeezed his hand and kissed him on the forehead. I was unable to speak for agitation and sorrow. And already the guards roared, "out!" I returned to the other room where my sister stood, to say my farewells to her too. She was as pale as a sheet, and hugged my neck and would not let go. This took too long for the thugs' liking, and they began to beat on us with rubber truncheons until my sister collapsed. They yanked her back on her feet and roared, "quick, quick, we don't have all day." Some of them were already leading my father from the room, and others dragged my sister along behind. I had to join the procession. It goes without saying that we were surrounded by a horde of "commissars" at all times. When I reached the gate and had a view of the square - my father and my sister had already had to enter the square - I had to stop, and "Commissar" Crha, standing in the gateway, counted "jeden, dva, tři." Shots rang through the square, the shirt on my father's chest turned red and bulged, and he sank over backwards. His head hit the pavement. Before the sound of the shots had even faded away, another two shots fell, and my sister collapsed. All this took place within just a few seconds. With blows from rubber truncheons I was driven back into the room, where Commissar Crha said only: "I am dismissing you for today, but you must promise me that you will not say anything about what happened here. [If you promise] I have a heart for your children." To rude curses I was then chased out of the "Golden Cross".
All the events I have described took place between our arrival in the "Golden Cross" and my release from this house without any grounds or interrogation, in barely 30 minutes - we were not there longer than that.
of a false accusation on July 4, 1945
Reported by: Anton Riedl Report of June 22, 1946 (Karlsbad)
I was arrested in Lesnitz on
July 4, 1945 and taken to the Karlsbad District Court. I was accused
of having led transports of people into concentration camps. I denied it, and named the Czech
engineer N., Chief of the company Pittel & Brausewetter in Karlsbad, as witness who could
confirm that I had been employed in the Egerland ore mines in Schönfeld, District
Elbogen, and had not left the facilities even temporarily. At that, the Czech who was
interrogating me roared at me: "What, you German pig, you're even trying to justify yourself!"
He then hit me twice in the face, hard enough to make me stagger. Right afterwards I was beaten
in the corridor by three men with rubber truncheons and bullwhips. I suffered about 60 blows.
One hour later I was beaten bloody again the same way. I then spent 36 hours crowded into a
20x20' cell with 14 other men. This was followed by another interrogation, during which I was
again beaten up. For the next two days I then had to stay in a laundry room with approximately
80 men of all ages, all of whom had been beaten in the same way as I. On July 11 I was called
out yet again. The Czech engineer N. was there and told me that I had been arrested on the basis
of false charges and would now be released. He drove me home in his car. The consequences of
all the abuse laid me up for 4 weeks. After that I worked for this engineer until I was resettled [expelled].