Report No. 206
Reported by: Johann Staudinger Report of November 2, 1946
On August 17 of this year I was stopped between Leonfelden and Zwettl by uniformed Czech gendarmes and an Austrian gendarme and asked to produce my ID papers. I am a Sudeten German and had been released in April of this year from French captivity, to go to Austria. The Czech gendarmes confiscated my French discharge paper, and then they took me and two friends by car to Czechoslovakia. They beat us throughout the 20 km long trip. Our hands had been tied. On our arrival in the prison in Hohenfurth we were beaten so badly that we passed out. I had to spend a week in medical care. The District Court of Kaplitz eventually discharged me into the resettlement [expulsion] camp.
Reported by: Dr. Josef März Report of November 2, 1946 (Hohenfurth-Kaplitz)
I was Chief of the Hohenfurth brewery. On July 13 of last year I was suddenly arrested at my place of work, and accused that in 1938 I had allegedly "climbed up the brewery smokestack with a machine gun" and, from there, shot a Czech soldier. For months I was detained in prison like a murderer, forced to wear convict clothes, and repeatedly severely maltreated. I was not interrogated until February 18, 1946, and the actual reason for my arrest was barely mentioned on that occasion. I was accused of other things, which were just as untrue. I continued to be detained until September 5, 1946 and forced to do heavy physical labor, with very poor rations. In August of last year my wife and daughter had also been arrested and confined to the concentration camp in Kaplitz. Later we were conscripted for hard agricultural labor. We lost all our possessions during our imprisonment. Our resettlement luggage did not amount to the permitted weight and consisted only of things that acquaintances gave us.
luggage for deportation denied
Reported by: Karl Leuchtenmüller Report of November 2, 1946 (Hohenfurth)
I was a member of the Social Democratic Party for 27 years, and the Czech authorities were well aware of this fact. Nonetheless I was arrested on August 23, 1945 and committed to the District Court of Budweis, where I was dreadfully maltreated. I was detained there until February 12, 1946 and then transferred to the Budweis concentration camp. There inmates were treated badly there as well. My wife had also been arrested on August 29 and was imprisoned in the Kaplitz concentration camp for 14 months. After my wife's arrest our home was looted down to the bare walls, so that now we no longer have anything at all. We had neither clothes nor linen for the expulsion, and our luggage for 4 persons amounted only to 120 kg. My daughter's efforts to obtain some supplies from the Národní výbor in Hohenfurth were totally in vain.
Report No. 209
Reported by: Robert Zürchauer Report of June 3, 1946
I was arrested by Czech partisans on May 8 of last year and kept imprisoned until May 17 this year. In all that time I was never told why I had been arrested. On my release the Czechs asked me why I had been arrested, but neither they nor I knew that.
During my imprisonment I and my fellow prisoners were horribly maltreated with rifle butts, steel canes, wooden cudgels and rubber truncheons. During the first three weeks we were chased around the prison yard in circles for half an hour every day, and beaten until we bled or collapsed. I myself collapsed twice under this abuse and had to be carried from the yard back into the prison cell. Rations were so insufficient that in three months I lost 31 kilos [68 pounds] - I am 182 cm [6'] tall and my weight dropped to 45 kilos [99 pounds]. There was no medication for us at all, and sick people were left to die a wretched death. Among these were my acquaintances Janka and Kosler from Holleischen. Rudel from Staab was beaten to death in a cemetery near Klatten.
In November an inmate escaped, and another one in February. Each time the entire camp was subjected to corporal punishment.
I can take this testimony on my oath.
Report No. 210
Reported by: Franz Stadtherr Report of June 8, 1946
During the luggage inspection by the gendarmerie in Hostau near Bischofteinitz I was robbed of all the luggage belonging to my daughter who was being resettled [expelled] with me, all of my tools which I need for my profession as carpenter, the bricklayer tools belonging to my father, the bedding and blankets for my father and my mother, who were also being resettled [expelled] along with me, a baby bath, a laundry basket also containing dishes, a carrier with laundry tubs, and many smaller items. The other families who were being resettled were also robbed of many things, especially clothing, linen and tools. Objections were in vain.
I can take this testimony on my oath.
Report No. 211
Reported by: Elisabeth Böse Report of January 9, 1950
On May 8, 1945 we experienced the German surrender in Zöllnei near Wichstadl, District Grulich, whereto we - women, children and old people - had been evacuated by the Party leadership in Jauernig, East Sudetengau, as the Russians had approached to within 15 km of our town and a break-through was to be expected at any moment. My elderly parents and I were quartered in a more than primitive shack, which from outside looked more like a stable than a human habitation. But this was actually what we had to thank for the fact that we would later be spared the otherwise standard visits by Russians and other gangs. In fact, our lodgings, with the hayloft above, served the women of the town as night-time hiding-place from the Russians that were out to rape them. We had come to the town on March 23. On one single day 12 men were brutally murdered in Wichstadtl, where we had to do our shopping; they were hanged from the trees surrounding the church after the Czechs had first cut off their noses and ears, beaten them up and shoved them into the water. Among the victims there was also a Czech who had made weapons for the "Volkssturm". The town's inhabitants were forbidden to leave their houses while this tragedy was happening. One neighbor (a farmer) had to dig his own grave before he was shot, allegedly because a military gun and ammunition had been discovered in his manure pile. Probably the murderers had put these things there themselves. That was done in many cases, to fabricate a reason for the murders. Some of the German Wehrmacht had fled into the nearby woods, and anyone who was discovered in the woods was shot as partisan. Real manhunts were staged, and the wild shooting went on for days. The people could venture into the streets only at risk to their lives.
On May 20 we had to leave the town, and started on our trip home together with several families of our acquaintance. As the train tracks had been destroyed, we traveled by horse-and-buggy, changing frequently in the various towns since the farmers were not allowed to go far beyond their town lines. After enduring many a danger and looting, we reached our home town three days later. But a new shock awaited us - our home had been totally looted. Beds, linen, clothing, all was gone. Good neighbors helped us set up a makeshift home. We had to report our presence immediately to the Communist authorities, some of which were still "German" at the time, and to register our civilian occupation. And so I was "black-listed" from the start, and conscripted to forced labor together with many other women from the NS Women's Auxiliary and the NS People's Welfare Association. I had been active in the latter organization for six years, as Zellenwalterin [a kind of low-ranking organizer].
On June 21, 1945 three gendarmes "tricked" me out of the house; I was supposed to come to an "interrogation". Otherwise I would probably never have left the house alive again, like my very aged parents whom I was never to see again in this world. And so I went along with them, unsuspecting, trusting in the assurances given publicly on garish posters, that no harm was to come to the insignificant little Party ranks. But my path led straight into prison, without any interrogation. Once my eyes had adjusted to the dark, I recognized my fellow-sufferers. For 14 days we nine women sat on three straw sacks. Meals consisted of black coffee, one slice of bread, and a watery soup at noon. In the mornings we were permitted to dip our hands into a bucket of water and to wipe our faces. The facilities consisted of a bucket that was only taken out once a day.
One day we were moved out. When the bus stopped we found ourselves in "Bieberteich" (District Freiwaldau). Later this "Koncentracní tábor", as it was called, was transferred to the Regenhard factory. We had been interrogated briefly, once, in the prison. But the main hearing did not take place until three-quarters of a year later. The charges were read to me, it was the assertion of one Mrs. Dobisch. I was accused of having been a "leading member of the SdP" and of having engaged in Nazi propaganda, which was untrue. After about a year I and 70 other women were released from the camp.
We were approximately 300 women in the camp. We ranged in age from 14 to 70 years and served as labor slaves. Shoveling coal, felling trees in the woods, sweeping streets, cleaning up paint and brickwork etc. Rations consisted of bitter black coffee in the morning, first 160 and later 200 g bread daily, which for a time had sand baked into it. Potato soup at noon, and also in the evening. Once in all the time I was there we got some horse-meat stew. Many came down with dropsy, with swollen feet and faces, me too - and once I almost died of dysentery. However, I was not beaten. At times we were treated brutally, but sometimes our tormentors developed "human" feelings. The female camp leader was Anna Eret, the male camp leader was a gendarme, her brother, but I don't know if his name was Eret as well. During the last time in the camp we were given a little white bread and sugar weekly.
On June 6, 1945 Cardinal prince-bishop Dr. Adolf Bertram, our provider, passed away in Castle Johannesberg; a few days later he was laid to rest in the Jauernig cemetery. The day after, several hundred people, among them also my unhappy parents, were driven from their homes and rounded up on Ring Square like a herd of cattle. My father was the retired archiepiscopal accounts councillor Bruno König, 80 years old, and my mother Emma König, née Clement, was 77. (After an entire year in the concentration camp I found out from eyewitnesses that they had been involved in this action.) The men were taken into the concentration camp (a former labor camp) and the women to Castle Johannesberg. They were probably lured away with the same lie I had been told, i.e. that they would be back in their homes very soon, for they did not take any warm clothing or even a coat with them. A few days later they were transported off to Setzdorf, where they had to sleep in the lime works, on the bare ground in the lime dust. The German population in the area supplied these poor people with food, often incurring harsh punishment for their trouble. Two and a half thousand people were herded together from all the towns in the area, and one day they were loaded into open cattle cars. In pouring rain, after several days on the road, they reached Bodenbach on the Elbe, i.e. Herrnskretschen, where they were herded across the Saxon border in the dead of night after first being "assessed" one more time and relieved of anything of value they might still have had left. Probably on foot and half-starved (eyewitnesses report that for days they lived on grass), my parents reached Chemnitz in Saxony, where they were quartered in a school. My mother died there on October 1, 1945, and my father followed her on October 6. They were buried in a mass grave.
In May 1946 I was released from the concentration camp, and found myself homeless and on the streets. Our house, Johannesberg No. 38, had been damaged by bombs and was totally looted. My parents' house, Johannesberg No. 15, was occupied by Czechs. Relatives took me in, but I was conscripted into harvest labor right away, and until I was resettled [expelled] I worked on a dairy farm - this time I was paid. I used the money to buy shoes and clothes, as I only had rags left to wear.
On September 18 we were resettled [expelled]. For 12 more days we had to remain in the resettlement camp of Niklasdorf. In the course of another strict "assessment" we were relieved of our remaining best things; the "assessors" even stole two cans of food from me, which I had saved up with food stamps and at the cost of increased hunger in order to have something in an emergency. We were allowed to take 70 kg luggage, but mine only consisted of mostly old and worthless things that acquaintances had given me.
In conclusion I wish to list the casualties my family suffered through the expulsion:
Bruno König, retired archiepiscopal accounts councillor, age 80; Emma König, his wife, née Clement, age 77; engineer Hubert Leischner, my cousin, last resident in Trautenau, where he was beaten to death by Czechs (reported by eyewitnesses); Maria Weiser, merchant's wife, one of my father's sisters, died in Erfurt of the consequences of the expulsion; Maria Weiser's grandchild, 2 months old, died during the transport; Josef Rainold, mill owner in Jauernig, one of my father's cousins, died in a concentration camp; Lotte Brieter, my cousin's wife, died in Vienna in the camp, of typhus; Maria Hannich, née Clement (mother of 2 children), my cousin, died in Bonn/Rh., of malnutrition and nerve paralysis; Lydia Chmel, née König, my cousin, wife of Dr. Chmel, chief administrator in Wagstadt/East Sudetengau; Dr. Hans Chmel, chief administrator, his mother and his child, a girl aged about 7 years. It is doubtful that this family died of natural causes.
Addendum: people who brought charges against us Sudeten Germans are said to have been paid 200 Kc. per charge and person. The concentration camp guard N. N. sometimes bought bread and margarine from us, out of his own funds, when we had to work in the woods. On the other hand, according to eyewitnesses he is said to have participated in the murder of 10 men while posted as guard in the men's camp Adelsdorf (three quarters of an hour away from our camp). Among the victims were Dr. Franke, lawyer in Freiwaldau and Mr. Hauke, Rothwasser. Their wives were confined in our camp and did not learn of their husbands' deaths until after their release.
I received a few old items of underwear and clothes from the Czech community administration in Jauernig shortly before I was resettled [expelled].
On the whole, the regular Russian troops behaved far more decently than the Czech partisans.
I affirm that my report tells the truth in every regard.
Reported by: Heinz Girsig Report of September 7, 1946 (Jauernig)
From June 1945 until March 1946 I was detained in the Jauernig concentration camp. While there, I was badly maltreated several times, and lost two teeth as a result. I also witnessed the severe maltreatment of other prisoners, and saw how several inmates were tortured and shot. In July of last year, the two Hauke brothers, 16 and 18 years old, were shot by the deputy camp leader Katiorek, one day after the latter had used a knife to carve a swastika into one of the boys' buttocks. They had also been shot at with cartridge blanks. Often we were chased out of our sleeping quarters at night and maltreated. Meissner from Krosse, a plumber from Zuckmantel, and Hauke from Jauernig were beaten to death in this camp. I endured my last maltreatment there in mid-February.
Reported by: Alfred Lorenz Report of September 15, 1946 (Jauernig)
From June 22 until October 8 last year I was in the Jauernig concentration camp. Terrible maltreatment took place there. Some prisoners died of the consequences of how badly they were abused. I recall two days in particular: on July 9, 1945, we 70 prisoners were awakened by rifle and machine gun fire. Allegedly there had been a rescue attempt from outside the camp. At 10:30 at night we had to line up in the yard, wearing only our night shirts. Half of us were to be shot on the Jauernig market square. Then that order was changed. Instead, we had to crawl around for an hour on our belly on the stony camp roads while being kicked and beaten on our buttocks and head with rifle butts. I received a kick in my right side that cracked two of my ribs. A blow from a rifle butt to my left upper thigh tore the flesh off the bone. A particularly sharp stone injured my heel, and I could not walk for 14 days. My elbows and knees were badly skinned and took two months to heal. After this torture we were chased with whips into the wash room, crowded closely together under the showers, doused with cold water, and constantly whipped throughout it all. Then we were chased into the barracks, accompanied by more beating.
On August 20 last year, after the first mass that was ever held for us in the camp - by chance it happened to include the parable of the Good Samaritan who had fallen into the hands of robbers - we had to spend the rest of the day, from 9 o'clock in the morning until 10:30 at night, barefoot and bare-chested in the prison yard, doing calisthenics non-stop and with nothing to eat or drink. Older prisoners collapsed from this.
Report No. 214
Reported by: Johann Seidler Report of September 21, 1946
After I was released from Russian captivity and was on my way home, Czechs imprisoned me in the concentration camp Josefstadt and then sent me to work in the coal mine of Klein-Schwadowitz near Trautenau. The works militia there indulged in undescribable orgies of beating the prisoners. These beatings took place several times a week throughout the year, right to the end. Even when we were designated "free laborers" on August 10 this year the beatings did not stop. As late as August this year, for example, Adolf Hanisch from Neu-Ermelsdorf was beaten so badly that he lost consciousness several times. All of the camp's prisoners always had to attend and watch such beatings.
Report No. 215
Reported by: Anna Nitschek Report of August 15, 1946
My husband was a member of a Social Democratic organization, and therefore my ID papers stated that I was an anti-Fascist. During the luggage inspection in the resettlement [expulsion] camp I was nonetheless robbed of a suitcase and a chest of clothes, underwear and dishes. When I begged them to let me keep my things, I was rudely shouted at, and shoved out the door. I am 74 years old.
Report No. 216
Reported by: Dr. Julius Geppert Report of January 8, 1946
Up until the revolution I was a notary in Kaaden but was expelled from my post by the Czechs. I had to leave my apartment as well as my house and lost the whole of my fortune and my property. After I had been temporarily employed as a coachman and gardener, I obtained a post at the kaolin works of Petzold & Döll, where I was employed as a clerk in the joiner's department. On December 18, 1945, I left Kaaden and emigrated to Bavaria.
I am in the position to make the following statements concerning the situation at the kaolin works: the works were nationalized, that is taken over by the State, and were then under the direction of the firm's former agent by the name of Schreier, who treated the Germans very well. Of the 300 workers, 10% were Czechs, and 25% of the office staff. The works were terribly short of coal. Only five of twenty furnaces were in operation.
Almost all of the skilled workers were Germans; among the Czech workmen were many who were not familiar with the techniques. Thus, for instance, there was a Czech porcelain worker who had been put in the company's form-casting section, of which he understood nothing. He did not even show the necessary interest to make himself acquainted with the subject. It was the same with almost all of the Czechs, who had formerly been employed as workers. They criticized the Czech management all day long, accusing them among other things of embezzling brandy and cigarettes destined for the workers. A petition referring to this and submitted to the Labour Office at Prague was nullified by the managers themselves, who displayed the articles in question.
The Czech management made every attempt to retain the German skilled workers. Applications for voluntary transfers, which had to be approved by the factory manager, were rejected on the grounds that the presence of the German workers in the factory was absolutely necessary for its operation. The factory managers even went to central Bohemia for the sole purpose of setting free the wives of the German skilled workers who were being held in deportation camps. They also petitioned the Ministries in Prague, pointing out that it would be better for German women to keep house for their husbands employed in the factory, rather than to vegetate unprofitably in mass agricultural employment.
Most of the workers in our factory were asked to opt for Czechoslovakia as their home country. This also applied to workers who had been members of the NSDAP. Nevertheless all German workers, including the anti-fascists, constantly applied for permission to be transferred. The majority had been forced to vacate their apartments and had lost most of their personal belongings as a result of looting. Although the German workers received special food allowances for heavy labourers, their position was still worse than that of the Czech workmen, as the German ration cards allowed for much less food (for instance, no butter and no meat).
The coal mines could not fill the quotas required, as most of the Czech miners were now employed in factories, formerly entirely German, in which the work and the techniques were completely strange to them.- Tens of thousands of Germans were seized for the work in the mines before Christmas. In consequence of the fact that these Germans were not familiar with the work there and also that they were treated like slaves, the output was extremely small, not least of all due to the workers' sheer physical incapacity.
Dr. N., a Czech notary who was my successor at Kaaden, advised me to opt for Czechoslovakia so that I could take over the office again. He himself would prefer to go back to Pardubitz, his former place of employment. I answered him that after my recent experiences I would sooner do the most menial labour in Germany than be a notary in Czechoslovakia.
Report No. 217
Reported by: Ida Tauber Report of July 12, 1946
In November 1945, while the contents of my house and flat were being listed prior to their being taken over by a Czech, a paper showing that we had opted for Austrian citizenship was found. The Czechs tore up this paper and threw the pieces contemptuously at my feet. Afterwards the gendarme punched my head, face and ribs. I was at that time seven months pregnant. We then had to clear out of the house.
Report No. 218
Reported by: Anna Czasch Report of July 12, 1946
October 1945 I asked the Národní výbor (National Committee) for
permission to go from Karlsstadt to Hermannstadt in order to obtain a copy of my birth
certificate. I got the permission, but I was told also to go with the certificate to the gendarmerie,
where it was to be endorsed. At the gendarmerie I was dreadfully beaten by three men. I
several blows in the face, so that it was all swollen up and the sight of my left eye is still bad. I
also received a blow in the abdomen, the consequences of which I am still suffering from. I am
now 66 years old.