SearchScriptoriumArchives indexSponsor

(Page 1 of 2)
Report No. 179
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Unlawful confiscation
Reported by: Ida Fröhlich Report of September 7, 1946

location of FreiwaldauMy daughter Anna Pische is a trained seamstress and as such she had written permission from the Customs Office of Freiwaldau to take her sewing machine with her [on expulsion]. She also had written confirmation of this permission from the Národní Výbor in Zuckmantel. When we left Zuckmantel a gendarme checked our papers and pronounced them in order, and the Economic Commissar put his rubber stamp on the papers and let the sewing machine pass. In the expulsion camp the Czechs took the papers away from my daughter and confiscated the sewing machine together with the attachments and accessories. When my daughter objected, she was rudely dismissed. My own objections were also without effect, and were vulgarly rejected. The sewing machine was a fold-away Singer machine, bought in 1935, and in any case it appealed to the Czechs very much.

I am ready to take this statement on my oath.


Report No. 180

by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
The ordeal of an artist
Reported by: G. M. Report of October 9, 1946 (Freiwaldau)

location of FreiwaldauI am a concert pianist by profession, and a state-accredited music teacher. For the last year I have had to earn my living playing in bars just to keep myself, my mother and my two children fed. During this time I was treated by the Czechs in the worst way. In the bar itself I was frequently subjected to the rudeness of the audience. Shouts such as "Play, you German whore!" were the order of the day. On my way home I was repeatedly molested by Czechs, and was also raped several times and injured with kicks. Czechs repeatedly broke into my home at night, and several times they broke window panes to see if I was alone. I lost all my possessions when I was ejected from my 7-room flat. In the resettlement [expulsion] camp I was relieved of another quarter or so of the few things I had been able to save. I was not permitted to take my concert piano, a gold-medal-winning Förster grand Model III, even though I demonstrably need it to practice my profession.


Report No. 181

by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Severe abuse during farm labor
Reported by: Else Müller Report of August 23, 1946 (Freiwaldau)

location of FreiwaldauThe Freiwaldau Employment Office assigned me to agricultural labor in Brusy, near Prerau, with the farmer Franz Gavenda. That place was hell on earth for me and my 12-year-old son. After I had rejected the farmer's sexual overtures, he beat me and my son daily, and his wife also cursed and harassed us beyond all measure. At the same time, however, we had to do heavy physical labor 16 hours each day, even though the farmer knew that I suffer from heart and thyroid problems. I came away from this work with a severe hernia. After Christmas I complained to the Mayor, but that only resulted in even worse maltreatment. Since I could not get to the gendarmerie to lodge a complaint there, I urged my 12-year-old boy to write a letter to his father, describing our unbearable situation. I hoped that the gendarmerie would take notice of the contents of the letter when they censored it. And indeed a gendarme turned up at the farm soon thereafter and told me that a letter with contents such as this would not be delivered, but at the same time he also reprimanded the farmer for his treatment of us. But after that the farmer maltreated us even worse. I then went to see a physician, who issued me a statement to the effect that I was entirely unfit for work. However, the Employment Office nonetheless sent me back to Gavenda, who now even withheld my small between-meal snacks and gave me even harder work to do, even on Sundays. On May 8, after once again being badly maltreated by him, I ran away from that farm and turned to the Employment Office in Prerau, which assigned me to a different farmer where conditions were more bearable. During the resettlement [expulsion] transport my son and I were dreadfully maltreated by a railway official in the train station Prague-Maleschowitz. He yanked me out of the train compartment and beat me so severely that I fell underneath the train.

In my 10½-month absence from my home almost everything I owned was stolen. My resettlement luggage consists of gifts from my sister.


Report No. 182

by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
District Freiwaldau, the Jauernig and Adelsdorf camps
Reported by: Alfred Latzel Report of September 9, 1947 (Freiwaldau)

location of Freiwaldau, Jauernig and AdelsdorfMy homeland is the Eastern Sudetenland, which was known earlier as Austrian Silesia and was a crown land of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The District of Freiwaldau is a settlement area of the Diocese of Breslau and, according to the liber fundationis, had already been settled by Germans in 1284 "as far back as human memory". My ancestors are documented to have lived in the District of Freiwaldau ever since 1523, as governors, landowners and farmers, and our present-day family estate in Barzdorf was purchased by my great-grandfather Josef Latzel, who pioneered an aspect of Austro-Hungarian agriculture in establishing the Austrian sugar industry. On his freehold property, bought in 1846, he built a grinding mill, a potato distillery, an oil mill, and in 1850 one of the first Austrian sugar factories with a coke and gas refinery. His estate was exemplary and served as model for others. Already 90 years ago the land was drained and was tilled with English steam plows. He founded an agricultural school and set up further sugar refineries in Moravia and Upper Silesia. All subsequent generations continued to improve and enlarge the estate, and in 1945 it covered 225 hectares [556 acres]. Along with some even larger estates in the District it held the lead in production and efficiency. The estate was still in our family under diocesan administration, later under Austrian sovereignty, and also remained in our family in 1919 after we had had to surrender part of our wealth to the Czech state. In 1945 this family property was confiscated with a stroke of the pen, and my family was driven from our estate as beggars. In autumn of 1938, when the "mass flight" began in response to the propaganda from the Reich, I had been the only estate owner not to voluntarily leave his home. When the Russians liberated the Sudetenland and Czechia in 1945 I again remained on the estate. I was persecuted, but I would not voluntarily leave my home and property. Even though most of the means for operating the estate had been taken from us, I continued to cultivate the land as best I could, and on June 20, 1945 a National Administrator was put in charge of the dispossessed property by an office in Ostrau. This administrator is a farmer's son and comes from circles involved in the Czech People's Party, and so in his person my estate has been fortunate to come under the charge of one of the few exceptions to the rule, as shown by the enclosed copy of one of his letters to me. I attach this letter as proof of the views of a middle-class Czech on the conditions in our homeland. It is also to serve as evidence for my own personal, objective attitude towards the current economic conditions, since it shows that my assessment is not clouded by malicious or ignorant Czech destruction of my property.

In July 1945, bourgeois Czech parties warned me that my arrest and transfer into a concentration camp was imminent, and that I should try to get away in order to avoid being tormented by the partisan camp guards. But again I refused to leave my homeland, and expressly stated that I would no more voluntarily leave my home in 1945 than I had in autumn 1938, as I had nothing to fear in political nor in social respects. In mid-August I was arrested by the Czech gendarmerie, allegedly on orders from higher up, and was taken to the nearest town for "a brief questioning in court" on the pretext of allegedly having hidden some valuables. During my questioning a letter that accompanied my committal to the concentration camp Jauernig had been left in the typewriter, but I had ignored it. I was left in the dark until I had passed through the door to the common prison in Jauernig. A German Communist was the prison warden. Conditions here were already indescribable. The tiny cells were crowded with heaps of people who could not even lie on the stone floor, and would not have been permitted to do so even if they had been able.

The next morning I witnessed the first beatings by disgustingly dehumanized Czechs, seconded by German informants. They celebrated their first orgies, which I heard. Other than the wateriest soup imaginable, beatings were all we got. The vermin, and the expectation of even worse to come, kept sleep at bay. I was dressed only in light summer clothes, without a coat or blanket, just as I had come from the field, and my pockets had been totally emptied by the German "anti-Fascist". After four days we had to line up, and our march to the second concentration camp of the district began. It was located at the city outskirts and consisted of former Labor Service barracks. My father-in-law, Dr. Erich Lundwall, formerly a landholder in Weissbach near Jauernig, was the German camp leader, in charge of and responsible for all the inmates, and he had been one of the first, in June, to help erect the barbed wire fence around the camp. The camp was under the command of staff watchman Anton Pec of the Czech gendarmerie, and the guards were Communist partisans, work-shy elements formerly in Russian service who were now being rewarded. One Czech gendarmerie subordinate who later served as guard of my labor team called them criminals who had murdered countless Czech gendarmes when the latter had tried to bring order to the chaos reigning in those days. He said that where he was concerned, if the elections were decided in favor of the Communists he would take off his uniform and dump it in the ditch and then go straight to the Reich, where he had been well treated. Over time the gendarmerie lost ever more respect and power and came to be quite at the partisans' mercy. Matters of national pride were of secondary importance to the subhumans that constituted the guard teams. They wore outlandish uniforms, mostly a bizarre mixture of the uniforms of National Socialist organizations, and the "dandies" among them preferred SS uniforms. All of them wore the red enamel Soviet star on their caps and shirts, as well as a red arm band with the letters KTOF (Koncentracní Tábor Okres Frývaldov, Freiwaldau District Concentration Camp). The latter proves that real concentration camps had been set up, even though official foreign policy was to deny their existence. Hand guns and whips of all kinds and description completed their outfits. A Commissar in a gray uniform presided over them all. He was a horrible sadist who would trace the contours of the manacled prisoners standing at the door or lying on the floor with thrown knives in order to add a sense of emphasis to their interrogations, and who went around at night in a real SS uniform, goading and terrorizing the civilian population.

Even before being arrested I had heard rumors about the horrors of the camp. I had lost all contact with my father-in-law, and the camp inmates were totally cut off from their relatives and the outside world in general. The inhabitants of the surrounding regions trembled with us in anticipation of our fate. Whenever anyone tried to slip one of the inmates a piece of bread or some decent work clothes, the kind soul was beaten for his troubles. I once saw one of them in the sick-bay; his posterior was totally mangled, and the skin and flesh had burst open in slashes up to 15 cm [6"] long and several cm deep.

July 9 and August 12 - horrible days in the camp - were over. On the first date a shooting had been provoked near the camp fence and the inmates were then accused of trying to escape. It is impossible to describe the beatings that then ensued, all rations were suspended, and tanks that had just arrived at the neighboring Polish border drove up and fired at random into the barracks. The other day two boys, aged 15 and 16, had escaped from the labor team and had been brought back to the camp by their own German Communist father, as it had been made known everywhere that anyone found to be harboring the fugitives would be executed. These two boys were slowly tortured to death, in the truest sense of the term. They were tortured slowly and deliberately before the eyes of the entire camp, and not just for one day. Swastikas were cut into their buttocks with pocket knives - one swastika on each side. Not until the next day were they led to the corner of the woods beyond the camp fence, and shot and buried there in the forced presence of two inmates from each barrack. Calling a priest, or a later exhumation and reburial of their bodies in consecrated soil, was forbidden. On the other hand, the German physician from the hospital who was sometimes permitted to visit the camp for cases of severe illness or the occasional general visit (on which occasions, however, the guards would arbitrarily chase the sick inmates away from the door to the infirmary) reported how the chief guard and deputy camp commandant would sometimes mail C.O.D. parcels with skulls (declared value, Kcs 600 each) to anatomical institutes, since there was never enough ready cash for liquor.

On our committal to the camp we all had to strip down to our pants and were then forced with whip lashes and blows from rifle butts to do hours of squats and push-ups until we were totally exhausted. Some of us, including myself, were then selected for particular "commendation" by the abovementioned commissar, who just shortly before had ripped a medallion of the Virgin Mary from my neck and thrown it on the ground after I had accidentally forgotten to give it up during the preceding inspection. After such strenuous physical overheating we were then chased into the bath room where we had to stand for almost an hour under the shower, which spewed freezing-cold mountain water. With whip lashes our heads were constantly brought back to the position desired by our tormentors, namely one that would allow the water to run into our nose and ears. Then, while a guard armed with a submachine gun stood by, we were doused with hot tea [tea or tar - original unclear; Scriptorium] and had to line up in front of three guards. The biggest and strongest thugs had been selected for this purpose. We had to stand a few steps below them, and then, on the mark, they all punched you at the same time in the face and throat so that you flew into a corner like a bundle of rags, and over and over again we had to crawl back for more of the same treatment, to the point of exhaustion. Then we were beaten with long, heavy and also short, seven-lashed whips, until our entire bodies were suffused with blood or simply one huge open wound. The blows administered with a Spanish cane onto our genitals were dreadful - one comrade was still entirely black and blue there even after three weeks and was therefore forbidden to see the doctor, even though in his fear he had vowed to the guard that he did not know why he was black and blue there. Then we were locked into the camp's punishment cell, the dreaded "Basse", which was located beyond the guards' room and where one was at their mercy day and night. We found splashes of blood on the wall, and beneath the bunk there lay a totally blood- and pus-soaked shirt and an identical pair of underpants that had belonged to one of our predecessors. Towards the evening the same procedure resumed again. In the meantime they had found that I had been included with this group of prisoners arbitrarily, and so I was excluded from further maltreatment, at least for this day. The other four had to stand up against the cell wall and were then beaten across their eyes with short whips until all eight eyes were totally swollen shut. They had to keep calling out: "We thank our Führer!" and if they did not shout it they were beaten, and if they did shout it they were beaten all the more. The spectacle was repulsive to the point of being nauseating, and I felt shame at being the only one to be spared this ordeal, especially since it turned out later that these unfortunate victims had also been innocent. The first time I was put into this cell I had to spend three weeks there, sometimes with only one meal a day, without an inkling of what our future fate would be. During the night, after one day of working in the camp, I opened the window of our common barracks as I had to make use of the "facilities", a tin can that stood beside the window in our "bedroom". A guard saw it and leaped in through the window, and after another beating I was sent right back into the punishment cell.

One evening a 67-year-old man was brought in. He had been on the logging team (500 m out of the camp a swath had to be clear-cut to allow targeted firing in the event that someone escaped), and while working on this task he had been accused of harboring plans to escape. He was forced to jump around the small cell with his knees deeply bent in squats. One of the guards jumped on his back and squeezed his throat with his knees, while boxing him about the head with both fists until the old man collapsed. Then another prisoner, a younger, sturdier fellow - an ex-soldier who had been returning home from the war and whom they had simply snatched right off the street and put into the concentration camp - had to endure the same maltreatment, only it took longer for him to collapse. The old man was completely broken, he mumbled prayers day and night and seemed to sense death approaching. And indeed, he was soon accused of having approved a comrade's plans for escape over the double barbed wire fence, even though he was hard of hearing and could therefore not even have followed the conversation in question, which a sentry had overheard in the washroom. As punishment he was slowly trampled to death in the guard room, separated from our room only by a wooden wall. It was dreadful to hear those terrible screams, that grew quieter and quieter and ended in a moan and death rattle. Another elderly man also died in that guard room in a similar way; he was beaten to death and trampled to pulp. All these victims were dumped into a shallow grave in the woods behind the camp, without the benefit of clergy. The German physician was supposed to attest to death by natural causes, but he refused to do so without exhuming the body. That same physician was also supposed, under coercion, to eliminate another inmate by giving him a lethal injection. But it didn't go that far. His father-in-law was a Czech and served the First Republic as legation counselor in Prague, and he told me that he and his circles had envisioned the "liberation" of Czechoslovakia somewhat differently.

In the course of my "examination for admission" during a "treatment" in the washroom on the day I had been committed to this camp, my left ear drum had been punctured, but so far my ear had not festered like those of other prisoners who had been given a similar treatment. I had only lost my hearing. For this reason, three weeks later, a "specialist" gave me a well-aimed hollow-handed slap on that ear, and the sudden air pressure brought about the desired putrefaction. For weeks I then had to go to work with that infected ear, until finally my comrades took me to see the physician who happened to be in the camp. I had to be immediately transported to the hospital to be operated; the pus had already consumed the periosteum and penetrated the bone itself. The very specialized operation was performed by a non-specialist, but ended successfully. Only 48 hours later the pus would have reached my brain, and I would have been lying in the corner of the woods behind the camp. But that wouldn't have mattered, and there was nobody who would have dared object. Not even a Czech. Human lives didn't count for anything. The camp administration did not pay the hospital and doctor bill - instead, it was presented to the forced laborer working on my expropriated estate.

In a 5.5 sq. m. [59 sq. ft.] cell we six men had to lie on the floor without a jacket, coat or blanket, which were forbidden. During cold nights the window under the flimsy roof had to be left open, on hot days it had to be closed. We were let out quite arbitrarily to answer the call of nature, and nobody dared to call the guards for an extra trip due to the beating that could be expected if we had bothered those fine gentlemen. Everyone had to relieve himself only a little at a time into a tooth-brushing glass that served for all of us. This glass was then emptied out the window, clandestinely and fearfully, until this too was forbidden on pain of beatings. Later we were given a bottle, but still everyone could relieve only the worst pressure. It is necessary to have gone through this for a longer period of time to really understand what torture it is. Everything was caked up by the blood and pus from our wounds or the pus running out of our ears, and the air in the cell was enough to knock you out. One of our comrades regularly blacked out when he stood up to go to the window. I happened to have my hat in my cell, and it served as our emergency toilet, but as it was not water-tight we sometimes ended up lying in puddles.

Several inmates managed, at peril of their lives, to escape from the place they had been assigned to work, some managed to climb over the double barbed wire barrier, and some escaped by cutting through this double wire. Every time all the other inmates of the camp were punished with beatings or forced marches through the camp for up to 20 hours, without a break and without the smallest morsel of food. Everyone had to continue this until he dropped, and at first even invalids and amputees had to participate. After we returned from our work details, we were forbidden to hang up wet clothes or shoes to dry in the barracks, else the guards would throw them out the window into the ditch. On countless evenings and often even in the middle of the night we would suddenly be ordered to "line up!", and we had to report in whatever state of dress or undress we happened to be in, at all times of the year and in every weather. Often, after repeatedly lining up and being dismissed again, we then had to stand lined up for hours. Sometimes, "ladies" were also invited to enjoy the spectacle, and these would provoke and rabble-rouse and even make fun of the elderly people who could not keep up any more.

In May of 1946 a battle ensued between the leaders of the two concentration camps in the District. One of the two camps was to be closed and its inmates transferred to the other. Both camps had great stores of misappropriated food that had not been given to the kitchen and that should now have been sent along with the inmates, and each of the leaders worried that he would lose his position and the advantages that came with it. Finally we were loaded onto trucks - most of the hoarded food was not - and we were shipped to Concentration Camp I Adelsdorf near Freiwaldau, a former prisoner-of-war camp. It was crawling with vermin. The first Sunday I was there, I caught 147 bed-bugs in my bed and 94 fleas in the blanket. After we got settled in, we learned of the atrocities that had taken place in this camp. Some of them were even more imaginative than what we had already suffered through, and the most inhumane of them were done in a subsidiary camp farther up in the woods, from where the screams and shots could not be heard down in the village. The inhumanity of this camp was such that even some Czechs had reported it in Prague, whereupon the camp had been liquidated over night. For example, one day every sixth man was shot on the order of the administrator in charge of both of the District's camps, and this was done for no reason at all, with no regard for who the victim was, and with no regard for his "crime", which had not gone to trial for months after the prisoner's arrival anyway. In some cases, even 15 months after their arrival prisoners had not been told why they were even there. Often the only crime was that one had German parents. A doctor who was an inmate in this forest camp was just one huge festering sore, all over his body. He had to crawl painfully across the ground, as he had not been able to walk for a long time. Other inmates had to lick his suppurating wounds, had to eat his excrements, and had to lick each other's genitals. The Communist deputy camp leader Wiesner, who was embroiled in a perpetual power struggle with his boss, camp commandant staff watchman Grenar, had broken his knee in a motorcycle accident while driving drunk, but he insisted on being carried up into the woods on a gurney to attend the executions so that he might watch the blood of the German swine flow. A number of the worst-off in this camp hanged themselves from the barracks beams at night because they could simply not bear the tortures any longer, neither physically nor emotionally.

In early January a cousin of mine had visited me in the Jauernig camp. He had had to leave his home in 1939 for opposing Hitler, had gone via England to the United States, and returned in 1945 as American citizen, officer, and representative of the CIC [Counter Intelligence Corps]. Only after repeated attempts was he admitted, as an officer of the Allies, into the camp that only Russians had been allowed to enter before. Our brief conversation was monitored, and besides, I was too surprised and astounded that there should actually still be someone who dared care about us. We had given up all hope of that long ago. That very same day the gendarmerie, which on the whole had Social Democratic leanings, questioned me without reference to the previous transcript, and then asked me why I was here at all. I had no idea! It was not until further questionings in February and March that I found out from the Czech gendarmerie, through the transcripts i.e. reports of denunciations, that I, like so many others, had been arrested on the basis of denunciations by German Communists. The accusations had meanwhile been disproved by witnesses, but nonetheless I was still detained as work slave, netting the Czech state some 50 Kcs. per day, until my resettlement [expulsion]. In many cases the Czech gendarmerie - whose officials had often been active in our towns and villages prior to 1938 and who therefore knew the inhabitants - told the prisoners during their questioning which of the good German citizens had denounced them, and in every case it was a true-blue "anti-Fascist", in other words, in the Sudeten German case, a Communist or some other kind of subhuman motivated by personal revenge. Even as late as August 1946 statements were being extorted with beatings to the point of unconsciousness, and when the victim came to again he had to sign the finished transcript without it being read to him, much less translated. These prisoners were then sent in batches from the camp to the Freiwaldau court prison, and from there to the District Court in Troppau, where they were tried by the "People's Court". The results are well known. My 59-year-old father-in-law was sentenced to 18 years forced labor in Mürau near Hohenstadt, which under the old Austrian regime had been the prison for the worst criminal offenders. Many of my comrades were sentenced to many years in prison, or even life terms, and were shipped off to forest camps or coal mines.

As witnesses to corroborate these my experiences in the Czech concentration camps I can name not only a number of my former comrades-in-suffering, who also live as expellees in the Western zones [of Germany] and whose names and addresses I can provide at any time, but also the former private secretary of His Eminence Cardinal Bertram of Breslau Dr. Münch, who visited me repeatedly in the hospital after my aforementioned operation and who was in close contact with the German physician, a former classmate of mine.

Economic Issues

I began my report with a brief overview of the history of my former family estate. Our [the Sudeten Germans'] farms, trades and industries were just as flourishing and productive. As laborer in the concentration camp work teams I witnessed the initially slow decline in all its stages. At first there were still Germans in all towns and cities who were skilled in the work required. Businesses were still on a solid foundation, and reserves were available. Then the decline progressed rapidly, and today our home is literally becoming a wasteland due to ignorance, the people's unwillingness to work, and malice - true to President Beneš's words that it would be better that the thistles take over the German fields than that Germans should continue to work them. I have worked on farms, in the forest and in industry, I had to help loot homes and to dismantle and steal machinery at night so that it would not show up in the inventory before the lawful owners were resettled [expelled]. Locksmiths, street sweepers and mostly pit laborers - all of them honorable occupations in and of themselves, but utterly unsuited to agricultural pursuits - were put in charge of our flourishing farms. They sowed oats in the fall, brought out the tedder to harvest potatoes, and lived on illegal slaughtering and alcohol. The grain was brought in wet, it barely went through the thresher and most of the kernels remained in the straw. When we objected, and fed the sheaves through the machinery more slowly, we were told that it was good enough for a "new farmer". The Party badge and his political affiliations shielded these newcomers time and again. To give another example: in the lumber industry, water was poured by the bucketful onto the wood wool before pressing it. The lumber was sold not only in the forest but a second time, illegally, on the train ramp, and after repeated sales and resales it was sometimes even stolen before it was to be loaded up. Working on the grinding machine for saw blades, a Czech laborer polishes three or four blades a day, and poorly at that, while his ousted German predecessor had polished some 300 blades. In one linen factory with a branch outlet in the United States, things went downhill just as quickly. When the American representative came over for the first time after the war and wanted to resume business relations and to speak with the owner and directors, he was told sheepishly that they were in the concentration camp and that he could not speak to their wives. The German had to be fetched from the camp to give some estimates. Later on, the shipment had to be canceled for being faulty, the supply quota for 1945 was not filled even by 1947, but 1947 prices were being charged for the remainder. Business relations were broken off by the American side. In the meantime the resettlements [expulsions] continued, and the shortage of skilled labor increased with each passing week. Estates were put under state control, leased by the state to a Communist association that took over the entire inventory from the state at absurdly low prices. After being released from imprisonment I saw such an inventory for my own estate, and even have a copy of it as proof. A large Hofherr-Schrantz threshing machine (1250 mm drum), that had been purchased in 1944 for about 7,000.- Mark, was declared in 1945 as being worth Kcs 6,000.-, in other words one tenth of its real value. An old Landauer (closed coach), on the other hand, whose roof had been slashed and windows smashed, was "valued" at Kcs 7,000.-. Nowhere was there the slightest indication of any real expertise. Our town had 2,300 German inhabitants, and not a single Czech prior to 1919. In 1938 there were a few Czech financiers, gendarmes and one "minority teacher". From 1938 until 1945 there was not one Czech. Today the town is inhabited by barely 600 Czechs, who are to do all the work in the 2,300 hectare [9 square mile] town. Many businesses are inoperative, even entire mountain villages are uninhabited, the livestock has been driven off, the houses are falling into disrepair and are looted for parts. In spring 1947 countless hectares of potatoes and turnips had not been harvested, countless grain stores were left empty, and countless potato clamps had been ruined by frostbite due to inadequate winter covering, so that there was a potato shortage in the cities even though the harvest had been unusually good. My estate has nine draft teams but only five day laborers, and not one reliable stableboy. Both remaining tractors have been wrecked by improper operation. The few workers are only just enough to cart the feed into the stable and the potatoes to the distillery. The administrator, acting on his own initiative, hired and brought in a group of Slovakian minority laborers (my estate has always employed these hard-working piece-workers for its intensive sugar-beet operation ever since 1893), but as per ministerial decree from Prague, these minorities are now no longer permitted to work on the farms in the Sudetengau, and the Labor Office failed to provide any replacement. Instead, however, 6 Bulgarian families were settled on the estate.


Report No. 183

by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
District Freiwaldau, the Thomasdorf and Adelsdorf camps, murders and abuse
Reported by: Karl Schneider Report of September 15, 1946 (Freiwaldau)

location of Freiwaldau, Adelsdorf and ThomasdorfI was imprisoned in the Thomasdorf concentration camp for 14½ months. I had been committed to the camp on June 15, 1945. I was accused of having shot a Czech in 1938. In the camp I was severely and brutally maltreated. In the course of 4 weeks I was beaten 16 times, individually, at various times of the night. My tormentors used rubber truncheons, whips, chains, pieces of squared timber, etc. Each time I was beaten unconscious. I was kicked in the ribs and 3 were broken. They also knocked my teeth in and damaged my shin bone. Whenever I fell to the ground they would fire shots into the ground to either side of my head, set a German shepherd on me, etc.

Layout of Concentration Camp Adelsdorf
[English captions added by The Scriptorium to map taken from:
Zuckmantler Heimatbrief, No. 143, September 2004, p. 98.]

On August 1, 1945 I was transferred to the Adelsdorf concentration camp, where I was also maltreated. On August 17 Franz Schubert from Niklasdorf was ordered to box me about the head, and since he did not do it hard enough to please the guards he was given a punch in the face that killed him. That same night, comrade Schiebl was also beaten to death, and the 16-year-old lad Knoblich from Hermannstadt was shot after first being horribly tortured all night long. My innocence of the charges against me had already been established by a witness on July 20, but my first questioning was not until August 10, 1946, after which I was released.

In Thomasdorf I also became a witness to the horrific torture of Dr. Pawlowsky from Freiwaldau, who succumbed to his injuries on August 30, 1945. On August 1, 1946, two of my toes were crushed in an accident while I was loading wood. I received no medical attention whatsoever. My foot was neither set nor put in splints. To this day I can't walk normally again.

previous pageTable of Contentsnext page

Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Survivors speak out