Report No. 130
Reported by: Rudolf Schütz Report of August 29, 1946
In September 1945 I and other Sudeten German prisoners of war came on a special transport from Russian captivity to the Sudetenland. At Tetschen-Bodenbach the transport was stopped by the Czechs and we were immediately incarcerated in the camp at Böhmisch-Kamnitz, which may be described as an extermination camp. Every day several people were beaten to death, among them many war-invalids with amputated arms or legs or other disabilities, who had not the endurance for the brutal exercises to which we were submitted, and sank to the ground, where they remained. Six weeks later everybody was in such a bad condition that they could hardly stand. Nevertheless we had to walk to Tetschen; on the way there anyone who collapsed was shot by the guards. I myself was completely undernourished and as a result I had dropsy, up my legs and right up to the hips. The others, approximately 120 men, were in just as bad a physical condition. In this state of health we were sent to the mines at Dux for forced labour, where they found that we were incapable of doing the work. Not until February were we able to start work. Regular maltreatment in the camp was the norm. The maltreatment lasted till July 1946 and only in the last few weeks did food and treatment improve. There were efforts to prevent us from being transferred and to persuade us to accept voluntary work.
Reported by: Albin Mübisch Report of June 28, 1946 (Böhmisch Kamnitz)
I was arrested at my apartment on August 16th, 1945 on the pretext that I had buried tins of gasoline, and was badly maltreated. I was repeatedly struck with a club in the face, on the head and on my bare feet; blood was running all over me and my toenails were beaten off my feet. Afterwards a Czech drove me into a corner with the machine gun and kicked me in chest and stomach. I was then handed over to the prison at Böhmisch-Kamnitz, where I was to be ill-treated in the most dreadful and inhuman manner. My son, who had already been there for three weeks, had now to witness my tortures. From there I was sent together with my son to the concentration camp at Rabenstein near Böhm.-Kamnitz. There about 800 prisoners were gathered. I witnessed several times how these prisoners were maltreated in the most dreadful way by special beating-commandos. During the three months I spent in the concentration camp, 8 men were beaten to death. It was said that 74 had been killed in the same way shortly before.
At the end of October 64 Rumanians, 16 Hungarians and 16 Austrians, who were released from Russian captivity, arrived at the camp. A square for the newcomers was outlined on the yard, in which they had to spend almost four weeks, day and night. With the start of winter, they were locked into a small, dark cellar. The food ration was so insufficient that many died from debilitation. On December 1st, 1945, we were transported to the prisoner-of-war camp at Tetschen, where the conditions were slightly better. On May 30th, 1946 we were discharged for expulsion.
Report No. 132
Reported by: Klara Kretschmer Report of September 19, 1946
During luggage inspection in the resettlement [expulsion] camp in Bohemian Krummau the inspectors opened one of my trunks, threw everything onto the ground, and helped themselves to anything of value, including a suit, a piece of linen, 6 bedspread covers, 2 sheets, 6 shirts, 5 hand towels, 1 kitchen clock, 2 skeins of cotton yarn, 2 skeins of thread, darning yarn, 2 pairs of suspenders, and cutlery. The dishes that were still in the trunk were smashed. My husband is a factory worker. There was hardly anyone on the transport who had less luggage than we did. When I objected to the confiscation, I was threatened with a beating. I was resettled [expelled] with our three children, my husband is still in captivity in Italy.
Reported by: Hedwig Feyerer Report of September 27, 1946 (Bohemian Krummau)
On August 15, 1945 I was arrested and badly maltreated because I could not say where my employer had hidden a rifle. I was beaten to the floor and then hit until I passed out. Then I was sent into the concentration camp Welleschin near Bohemian Krummau, where the maltreatment continued. I also saw many other inmates being brutally abused there. Once we were awakened at 1:30 at night. 20 men were called by name to report to the camp office. 10 of these men had to lie down on the floor and the other 10 had to walk on their faces with nailed boots. The faces of those lying down were slashed and mangled. Then they had to switch, and those on the floor had to get up and walk on the other men's faces. The women in the camp were forced to watch. Many of them fainted. These and similar brutalities continued until November, when a new commandant was appointed, who had been in a concentration camp in Germany himself and therefore put a stop to these cruelties. I had to remain in the Welleschin concentration camp until February 12, 1946, when the camp was closed down. Then I was transferred to the camp in Bohemian Krummau, where conditions were better.
Reported by: Franz Janovsky Report of September 27, 1946 (Bohemian Krummau)
I had been in the United States for twelve years and from there I took home numerous joiner's and other tools, as I intended to establish a little factory in my homeland. These tools as well as all the machinery were taken away from me by the Czechs. Furthermore, notwithstanding my age of 71 years, I was imprisoned in a camp for twelve months and was maltreated at the time of my arrest. The conditions of the transfer-camp at Böhmisch Krummau were beneath human dignity, the camp was unbelievably filthy, the latrines overflowing so that they flooded the pathways of the camp. The food was inedible.
Report No. 135
Reported by: F. Fiedler Report of July 10, 1950
In the vicinity of our town, soldiers who had returned home from the war, disabled ex-servicemen, and also Germans who had belonged to the NSDAP, were taken away and imprisoned in the new Czech concentration camp in Bohemian Leipa (40 victims from Sandau are known to me by name). 96 soldiers who had returned home from the war and who had previously been detained in the District Court prison of Bohemian Leipa were transferred into this concentration camp on June 6, 1945. Now the tormenting and torturing began. These people were thrown fully clothed into the reservoir that had been set up there for firefighting purposes. Their every attempt to leave the basin was punished with whip lashes and blows with rifle butts. Then, furniture and bed frames that were lying around were thrown onto the victims in the water in order to injure them.
Each week 100 people from the District Court prison were transferred into this torture camp. Half of the inmates had to undress and lie down on the floor, and the other half, wearing shoes and boots, had to jump from back to back of their prostrate comrades. Every attempt to land on the floor rather than on one of the backs was punished with brutal maltreatment. After this procedure there were always a few comrades who remained on the floor, dead, with broken ribs (for example the comrade Tille from Leipa, lessee of the "Breite" Inn).
In mid-June the following concentration camp inmates: District administrator Thume, price control commissar Richter, and wine tavern owner Pihan, were ordered to report to the Czech police in Sonnengasse [Street], to work there (street sweeping). Pihan was beaten to death there by that police team. Richter was left unconscious, and in order to avoid further tortures he commited suicide that same evening in the concentration camp, by hanging himself. Administrator Thume fell gravely ill as a result of the abuse he had suffered, but was nonetheless imprisoned in a solitary-confinement cell. He was not given a container to use for answering the call of nature, and the Czechs repeatedly shoved his face into his own excrement and maltreated him unspeakably in the process. In November 1945 Administrator Thume died of the consequences of this abuse. The same day he died, comrade Schreiber of Wolkersdorf was also beaten to death by these bandits. Others to die in the District Court prison were Herr Hiebsch from Hirschberg am See, who died of dysentery, and innkeeper Böhme of the Inn "Stadt Graz" in Bohemian Leipa; the cause of his death was never satisfactorily determined.
On October 9, 1945 the railwayman Franz Mai of Körnerstraße, Bohemian Leipa, was beaten to death by Czech partisans in the District Court prison. At that time the concentration camp population had risen to 1,200 souls. In December 1945 approximately 300 Czech partisans (of the Svoboda hordes) carried out raids among the German camp inmates and stole all watches, cutlery and electric razors they could get hold of. The only dishes anyone had after that were old food tins they had dug out of the trash heap.
Raids in the Women's Section: the female prisoners' clothes were searched and looted on the occasion of these raids. During the raids, which were carried out by about 100 Czech bandits, the 100 women and girls, aged 16 years and older, had to strip stark naked and perform squats in front of the entire guard team for the whole duration of the search, which took almost 2 hours.
Alarm: repeated alarms were sounded in the concentration camp, and every German, regardless whether he was an invalid or otherwise ill, had to report instantly to the parade square. Barefoot, the people had to"stand still!" from 7 o'clock p.m. until 2 o'clock at night. This was repeated again in the morning, from 7 o'clock until 2 in the afternoon. This was during December 1945. People who collapsed were severely whipped. Every evening three Germans were dragged to the guard room, stripped, thrown across the table and whipped into unconsciousness. Then cold water was poured over the victims, and when they came to again these bestialities were repeated (the occupants of the houses near the concentration camp closed their windows so they would no longer hear the moans and screams of the tortured. These nearby residents were the first to be evacuated so that the tortures could be carried out unimpeded). Many comrades committed suicide to escape these agonies. This prompted the new camp commandant, Wepper, to discontinue the beatings. Shortly thereafter, Wepper was replaced by a new commandant who was in charge of all concentration camps. This was the feared thug Vancura, who got particular pleasure from atrocities and brutality. Under his rule many comrades were beaten to death, and Dr. Steinitz, physician from Leipa, was forced to state "heart attack" as the cause of death on the death certificates; there were 251 such victims in just one year. The young pharmacist Hollitzer from Sandau, as well as senior teacher Hiecke from Wolfersdorf, among others, also died suddenly of questionable causes. The German prison supervisor Püschel from Bohemian Leipa was hanged on the District Court square, to the howls and cheers of Czech immigrants to the town who also participated in the execution to the fullest extent of their ability.
The rations we received were bad and insufficient. Medications were not available to us, and sick inmates were left to their fate. Our treatment was brutal and inhuman. Czechs wearing black uniforms (German military trousers and SA shirts) and "SNB" armbands were especially feared. This horde, which frequently carried out night-time raids, took even the slightest opportunity to knock their victims' teeth out as savagely and violently as they could.
Investigative commissions which showed up in order to inspect the camp and ensure humane treatment for us never even saw the camp. They were shown into the camp office and sent off again from there.
As of July 1945 the German population began to be evacuated, and most of them were expelled from their own homes and farms, dragged through this camp and either detained there or parceled out into expulsion transports. These many unfortunate people were crowded into this concentration camp under the worst imaginable conditions. They had to sleep without any straw for bedding, on the hard floor and in filthy horse stables. Day in, day out, this concentration camp was jammed with hundreds of families that were to be expelled from their homeland. 24 mothers and their children had to vegetate in small, 24'x15' rooms, sleeping on the hard floor without straw or the like, for weeks and even months pending their expulsion. Hunger and privation was great. A single dry potato was enough of a luxury to make the children stop crying. Every day, many toddlers and elderly people died. And to top it all off, these overcrowded rooms were frequently invaded at night by armed partisans who would select their victims by candlelight, choosing from among the young girls and women. Then the candles were extinguished, and the chosen victims were raped, repeatedly and by several of the marauding savages, regardless whether their mothers, fathers or brothers lay on the floor beside them. When the groups for expulsion were being assembled, the family fathers were forced to march through the camp grounds at a run so that they could not say their farewells to their wives and children. Any food which relatives tried to bring the starving inmates was confiscated by the Czechs at the camp entrance, and either kept for their own enjoyment or else broken and trampled into dirt before the eyes of those who had brought it. The booted Czechs then kicked these couriers (mostly women) in their private parts and drove them away with whips.
Report No. 136
Reported by: Adolf Mader Report of August 30, 1946
From October 9, 1945 until Christmas 1945 my son and I had to work in the sugar factory in Bohemian Meseritsch. Even though it was hard labor, we were not paid anything for our work. The living conditions there were inhuman. There were no major incidents of beating, however. After a mass examination, I was sent from there to work in the coal mine "Luzna" in Luzna, Rakovník District, where I did slave labor from December 24, 1945 until June 25, 1946 and had to submit to dreadful beatings. Only one supervisor indulged in the beatings, during the night shift. I had the bad luck of being assigned to the night shift shortly after I arrived at this work site. Here I and my fellow laborers were beaten every night, for half a year. The procedure went off as follows. First everyone had to report for duty in the mine. There were 17 of us German laborers. Some hateful article was read aloud from a newspaper, and then we were systematically beaten with fists and sticks. Most blows were aimed at the head. Due to my age and the debilitating consequences of inadequate rations I was not always able to do the hardest jobs by myself, and as punishment I and other sick or weak comrades who were in the same boat as I were treated to extra installments of blows to the head, administered with heavy cudgels, so that I repeatedly collapsed. These inhuman beatings have left me with a severe hearing defect, and to this day I still have open wounds on my feet. The treatment was so bad that we had resigned ourselves to meeting our Maker, especially since many could not endure the hardships.
I can take this statement on my oath and bring witnesses to corroborate it.
Report No. 137
Reported by: Karl Schilling Report of June 27, 1946
I was released
from Russian captivity in October, and on my way home I was
arrested by the railway police in Bohemian Trübau and taken to the railroad
camp in Bohemian Trübau, operated by the Liticka company. There were about
250 men in that camp. We had to work very hard there, even on Sundays. Rations were
very meager. The Germans were used for the hardest jobs, and 50% greater work
output was demanded of them than of the Czechs who worked there. For example, if
it took 15 Czechs to carry a rail, only 10 Germans were assigned to do the same. The
Czechs received additional rations for heavy labor, whereas the Germans were given
only the insufficient camp rations. Among the German prisoners there were old and
sick people as well, but they had to work just as hard and were often beaten if they
could not do everything that was demanded of them. Younger people were beaten
even more, even though they sometimes collapsed from hunger. The physician
refused to certify sick inmates as unfit for work. In all the seven months that
I worked there, we received no wages. Our clothes were very ragged and were
neither supplemented nor replaced. In winter many had to work without a coat. Due
to the poor conditions, several prisoners attempted to escape. When they were
caught they were horribly beaten. We were allowed to write
only one postcard each month, and these had to be written in Czech even though
most of us did not know Czech. Mail that arrived for us was not handed out if it was
written in German. After the first escape attempts we had to surrender our civilian
clothes and were issued prison uniforms instead. On our release, many of our
civilian clothes were not returned. I was released to be resettled [expelled] in early
July, but the Reich Germans and the Sudeten Germans whose families had already
been expelled were detained further.