Report No. 255
Stoky (Stecken) near Havlickuv Brod 1945-1947
Reported by: Dr. Wilhelm Weschta Report of August 2, 1950
I was a professor at the High School in Mies since 1922. I wish to report that I and my family, my wife and three children, were imprisoned for fully three years and forced to do hard labor. Despite repeated requests we were not informed why we had been arrested or why we had to do forced labor.
In early June 1945 all teachers, professors and students of the educational institutions of Mies - everyone aged 12 to 60 - were conscripted into forced labor for ten days on the Malesice estate near Pilsen. On my return I was not personally harmed, but the poroucik (lieutenant) Hala had moved into my house. On June 24, in the course of a general house search carried out from house to house jointly with American occupation forces, my house was searched as well.
On June 27, in other words three days after the house search, the younger of the two gendarmes came to my home and asked me to report to the gendarmerie in order to sign a statement confirming that nothing incriminating had been found on my premises. I immediately complied with this request, and after I had left the house I noticed that two other gendarmes armed with rubber truncheons and carbines were following us. In the Egergasse [Street] I made to turn off in the direction of the gendarmerie, but the gendarme accompanying me ordered me to keep going. At the entrance to Ring Square we turned towards City Hall, and I saw that the other two gendarmes were close behind us. When we had arrived outside City Hall the gendarme walking beside me hit me in the right shoulder. Meanwhile the other two gendarmes had unlocked the front door. Then I was beaten so badly with rubber truncheons and blows from rifle butts that I was unable to even get up for a while. When they began kicking me I managed to get to my feet, and since the prison guard was absent I was handed over to the military guard standing outside the cell block. After the prison guard returned I was locked into Cell 2 on the left-hand side of the square. Many farmers from Lingau, Leiter and Oschelin were already locked up there. In the evening of the same day the retired teacher Steinbach from Mies and I were taken by a military guard to the forced labor camp (so-called internment camp) at the train station in Mies. Both of us were driven forward with incessant kicks and blows with cudgels. Between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening we arrived in the camp, utterly exhausted. We had to report for registration in the building behind the camp entrance. The director of the camp, F. M. from Mies, and the camp administrator Kristofovec, who previously had been a baker's assistant in Mies, sat there. After I had been interrogated, M. turned to administrator Kristofovec and said: "That's the scoundrel who defiled the Czech colors." (M., laborer in Mies, could not speak Czech at all.) Kristofovec jumped up, seized his rubber truncheon, leaped at Steinbach, and there was a cracking sound. The first blow had hit Steinbach full-force across the neck and right on the back of his head. Steinbach sagged down. I had to pick him up, as Kristofovec kept beating him. After a while, when he had recovered a little, I had to lead him out. I informed the camp "Kapo" briefly of what had happened, and we were assigned to Barrack 4. We were refused any blankets for the night. The fellow prisoners of Barrack 4 helped both of us as best they could. The barracks were locked at night. If anyone needed to go outside, the "straz" (guards) had to be called first. Then the barracks were unlocked and a few men were let out. On one such occasion the teacher Steinbach, who had suffered brain damage from his beating and was totally confused, got out unnoticed. But he could not find his way back, was picked up by a guard, beaten again and locked into an empty goat shed. The next morning the old man was dragged out, carried into the Sick Room and handed over to the orderly there. He did not regain consciousness. A few days later his son came with a cart to take him home to die.
I had to remain in the concentration camp Mies until August 27, 1945. We had to go to work every day. Once, I and my former classmate Karl Haala, recently a teacher in Gibian, had to go to work in the High School that was now occupied my the military. Since they knew that I had taught at that same institution, and that Haala was a teacher in Gibian, they forced us to clean out the cesspit. To the crowd's amusement I was shoved into the cesspit, and Karl Haala had to collect snot and phlegm from the onlookers. Then he was hit on the back of his hands, so that the entire mess ran over his face and jacket.
We also had to work in the former Naschau Factory, where I had to clean toilets. I recognized my radio standing beside one of the toilets. In the evenings the guards always made their rounds and meted out punishment. This was usually done while we had to stand facing the "Wailing Wall". Often the older people collapsed, and then the torments were ended a little earlier. Or we had to leap around the square like frogs. One day a transport of mostly young men arrived from Wiesengrund-Dobrzan. These fellows had been beaten so badly that their welts had filled with pus and had to be lanced by the physician, Dr. Moravan. These men could not sleep at all for the first several days.
On August 27, 1945, at 4 o'clock in the morning, 60 men including myself were led off to the train station. A train already stood there holding our family members, more than 1,000 people in all, old, invalid, frail people etc. The train moved out and drove towards Prague, via Pilsen. At the zone border the transport was stopped by the Americans because ill and frail old people were among the passengers. The train was switched, and we were left to stand in the marshaling yard in Chrast near Pilsen for two days. Despite the oppressive August heat we were forbidden to fetch water. The little children cried because they got neither milk nor water. And then we were sent back again to Tuschkau. Some people were taken off the transport there by the Americans, and then our trip went on, via Prague to Tschaslau in Eastern Bohemia, where we arrived after four days without food or water, and were put to work on farms.
Knezice near Ronov, 18 km east of Tschaslau
My family - my wife, our six-year-old daughter, two boys aged 10 and 14, and I - were assigned to work for the statkar (estate owner) Josef Sedivý in Knezice No. 21. I was used as horse groom, my wife as maid for 48 head of cattle, and my 14-year-old son as stableboy for the oxen. We were not paid anything at all for our labor until November 1, 1945, after that 2 Kc. per day until June 1, and then the minimum wage for unskilled laborers, with total disregard for all the overtime and Sundays. In return, we had to pay out 20% of our so-called wages to the Resettlement Fund, 10% to the Town Council (místní národní výbor), as well as all social welfare contributions. We were quartered in a miserable, vermin-infested barrack that contained neither a heating system nor even one piece of furniture. We were denied any pots or pans, and any washing facilities at all. All we got was a bit of straw to lie on. We had to see to our own rations. We only got what was provided for by the food-stamp cards for Germans, and a few potatoes from the feed cellar.
Under these conditions we had to perform the hardest kinds of work from sunrise until late at night. Neither Sundays nor holidays were time off for us, and we were beaten for even the slightest reason. At noon we had at most an hour to ourselves, and during that time we also had to buy and prepare our meal since we got off work so late at night that all the stores were long closed. My 14-year-old son had to carry the heaviest sacks, 70 kilos and even more. He was beaten just like all the other men and women. At first we were not allowed to see a physician for anything at all.
We were not resettled [expelled], but instead were sent right back to forced labor in the concentration camp Stecken. Two of the guards were constantly drunk. They were the farmer Slanina and the drateník (wire binder[?]) Lanka. Both of them liked to beat the inmates when they were drunk.
It also happened that drunk men came into the camp and abused the women. For months we got nothing to eat but bitter, black coffee and some potato soup at noon, weekdays and Sundays alike. During the entire winter we lived in the barracks that consisted of nothing but bare walls, but we did not get the least bit of fuel to heat with.
The farmer for whom I had to work told me specifically that he had had to give Slanina 200 Kcs and a bottle of rum so that he could have me. It goes without saying that we were used for the meanest, dirtiest jobs. There was an unbelievable number of bedbugs in the barracks. Entire braids of them hung in the wooden bed frames or from the cracks in the boards. When the weather was warmer most men slept outside the barrack, in a meadow, or on the table or the floor. The camp physician's and our requests for disinfectants and insecticides were in vain.
On March 10, 1947 I was sent to the farmer Ferdinand Palan in Spinohy, near Vetrné Jenikov. Treatment there was very bad. I was beaten for asking to see a doctor, after I had had a high fever for several days. From the moment I could no longer work, I got nothing more to eat. Chickens and a young pig were let into the room where I slept.
Reported by: Helmut Kommer Report of December 27, 1945 (Mies)
On November 27th, 1945, I was taken to the camp at Mies together with my parents Karl and Lina Kommer; my father was a butcher in the town of Mies. On the same day about 1500 persons were brought to this camp. After three days, during which we received almost no food, 25 inmates were shot on November 30, 1945 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, only about a hundred yards away from the camp. I was myself able to observe these shootings. The reasons for them are unknown to me. Among the persons shot were my parents and also two other persons, who were known to me as customers of our store, one by the name of Hans Sturba, about 50 years of age, a pensioner, who had been living in Mies, and a certain Frau Morger, about 20 years old, also residing in Mies. The other persons were not known to me.
The shootings were carried out by Czech soldiers. Afterwards 10 persons from the camp, including myself, were commanded to bury the corpses. I was thus able to determine that among the persons shot were 18 men and 7 women.
On December 1st, 1945, I fled from the camp during the night and reached Bayreuth via Marienbad-Asch-Rehau-Kulmbach.
I herewith declare that the statements made are in accordance with the truth.
Reported by: Irmgard Görner Report of December 6, 1945 (Mies)
I had finished high school and lived in Mies, where I was employed by the Americans. My father, director of the glass works, was imprisoned by the Czechs at the beginning of June and taken to the convict prison in Bory near Pilsen.
We ascertained almost nothing of his fate. Only later we succeeded in sending small packages to him, for we knew that he must be in great need of food. We sent him 16 parcels in all. When he finally was able to send us a letter on August 15th, he acknowledged the receipt of only four parcels. The others had not been delivered to him.
On October 26th, one of the parcels we had sent was returned to us, marked "zemřel" (dead). Thereupon I left for Bory on November 7th, in order to secure information as to my father's fate. The doorkeeper of the convict prison shouted at me and declared that nobody could enter or leave the prison, as illness had broken out. It was an epidemic of starvation-related typhus, the victims of which included almost all of the German inmates. Czechs residing in the neighbourhood of the prison told me (I myself speak Czech fluently) that in the course of a single day about 350 corpses had been transported out of the prison.
The Czechs entered our apartment at 4 o'clock in the morning on November 30th and ordered me and my 63-year-old mother to dress ourselves and to follow them, taking only hand luggage. We had to march to the railway station of Mies, which caused my mother great suffering since she has a serious heart condition. At the station of Mies many tables had been set up, at which typists sat. The German men, women and children were chosen by Czech farmers according to their physique, and recruited as labourers. Families were separated ruthlessly, the children crying for their mothers. My own mother was not wanted by anybody, because she was too old and not sufficiently robust. She therefore was permitted to go home again. I myself was able to escape in an unwatched moment and to reach Germany with the assistance of American soldiers who took pity on me.
Denial of medical assistance to a child
Reported by: Margarethe Singhartl Report of June 26, 1946 (Mies)
I was picked up together with my 3-year-old child at my apartment at Wasseraujesd in the district of Mies on October 3rd, 1945 and sent to labour to the Koschtir estate near Prague, at Horní Počernice. First I lived together with fourteen other people, then alone with my baby in a damp room, the windows of which were without glass. I scarcely had the opportunity to take care of the child. I was often forced to take the child with me into the fields and there, in the fog, to leave it on the bare ground. The baby became ill. First it got scabies. As a former nurse I was able to treat the child myself. Afterwards the child got exanthema on the head and finally diphteria.
I had to walk for half an hour to the doctor on icy roads with the feverish child in my arms; the doctor sent us to the hospital in Prague. In the Karlov Hospital the child received an injection. From there they sent me to the Bulowka Hospital. When I reached this hospital, medical assistance was denied to me, since the doctors were forbidden to attend German patients. They let me stand there with the child in my arms for 2½ hours until the child died. The dead child remained in the hospital.
luggage inspection in deportation camp Mies
Reported by: Heinrich Hornung Report of August 25, 1946 (Mies)
As a prisoner of the internment camp Mies I worked with other comrades in the resettlement [expulsion] camp of Mies from early March until April 16 of this year, and during that time I was involved in the luggage inspections of 7 resettlement [expulsion] transports. In the course of these I observed that all expellees who still had any good-quality articles of clothing, linen or shoes were robbed of these. The best of the confiscated items were taken by the inspectors and stashed in their residence. Especially the chief constable Breier took entire suitcases of confiscated items home on his motorcycle every week, as did the camp's administrator, Kristofovec.
I can take this statement on my oath.
Report No. 260
for the Modrany transport, abuse
Reported by: engineer A. Lendl Report of October 14, 1946
I was the transport leader of the resettlement train that left Modrany on October 9 and arrived in Augsburg on October 10, 1946. The transport was comprised mainly of former soldiers and prisoners-of-war, of people who had spent a year or more on labor details, in internment camps or in prisons (police detention) and who had been deprived of all their possessions at the time of their initial arrest. For that reason the transport was in very bad shape where the luggage allowance was concerned, and this inadequacy was noted and objected to by the American transfer commission. The Czechs then sent some things, especially clothing, to remedy the situation; it didn't do much to improve the average luggage weight of only 35 kg, but at least the poorest of the poor, who had nothing at all, could be outfitted with the minimum that had been set contractually by the Americans. In general the state of clothing of the transport members was deplorable. Rations were very scarce due to the unexpected 3-day delay at the border. Especially the children and elderly people suffered from the cold weather.
Where clothing and underthings are concerned, the supplementation of the expellees' luggage in the resettlement [expulsion] camp of Modrany was in no relation at all to what the expellees really needed. The clothing and linen that was distributed was totally unusable, and the Americans also rejected these items. Complaints made in Modrany were brutally refused, and the expellees' treatment in Modrany was also very crude and harsh in general.
In November 1946 my wife and I myself had come to Prague from English captivity, on the summons of the Czech government, but in Prague I was immediately arrested, led off in chains, and detained in several prisons for 11 months. In these prisons I witnessed terrible maltreatment of German prisoners, especially in the District Court in Prague-Karlsplatz.
Report No. 261
Reported by: Alois Zwatschek Report of August 18, 1946
I had been with the German Wehrmacht, and in February 1946 I was released from Russian captivity in Odessa because I had been ill with diphtheria, which left me with paralysis of both my hands and feet, unable to speak, and almost totally deaf and blind. When the train crossed the Czech border, Czech soldiers came and looted the homecomers of their possessions. They yanked my wedding ring off my finger and a watch out of my pocket. Despite my helpless condition I was detained in the concentration camp Motol near Prague on such poor rations that after a month I even volunteered for farm labor, but rations were also very bad there. In May 1945 my mother, a 70-year-old lady, had been so badly maltreated in Moravian Neustadt by the Czechs that she lost consciousness, and all my things that I had deposited at her home for safekeeping were confiscated. When I was released from the Motol camp on August 1 I went to my wife, who lived with her parents in Lautsch. She too had lost all her better possessions to the Czech administrator who had taken over her parents' estate.
Our resettlement [expulsion] luggage consists mostly of things given to us by my in-laws. I myself have no clothes beyond what I am wearing.
Report No. 262
Reported by: Alois Mannl Report of September 13, 1946
On the pretext of allegedly having stolen a motorcycle, my uncle and cousin and I were arrested on March 4, 1946 in Mühlbach near Eger and committed to the District Court of Eger, where we were detained until August 14. During the arrest in Mühlbach, and then in the District Court of Eger, we were badly maltreated. My uncle sustained a kidney injury and was ailing after that, but since he nonetheless had to work his condition worsened until he died two days before he was to be resettled [expelled]. I myself have suffered from kidney and stomach pain ever since the maltreatment. While in Eger I also saw how even 15- and 16-year-old youths were maltreated so badly that their faces were disfigured beyond recognition. Among the youths abused like that were Anton Lattisch and Alois Witwitzki.
In June the questioning of witnesses established our innocence. Nonetheless we were kept imprisoned until our parents were resettled [expelled]. In the course of house searches carried out on our arrest, all our clothing and linen was confiscated, so that we had nothing at all for our resettlement. To compensate for my lack of luggage, my parents were permitted to take their sewing machine.
Report No. 263
Reported by: Otto Skrbeck Report of June 26, 1950
On May 5th, 1945 the revolution began. On May 8th, 1945 we had to leave the Protectorate in the direction of Weisswasser [Protectorate = Czechoslovakia between 1939 and 1945, excluding Sudeten German areas]. I had put on civilian clothes and walked in the direction of Münchengrätz in order to join my family. A Czech surgeon who drove by gave me a ride to the town of Bakow on the Iser. When we drove down Kosmanos Hill we saw a dreadful sight. There were partisans all over the place, firing on Red Cross nurses and forcing them to turn back.
In Münchengrätz the Czechs came for me during the night, at 1:30 in the morning; they surrounded my house and dragged me through the dark to the Headquarters of the Revolutionary National Committee; arriving there they placed me against the wall and explained to me that if I moved I would be shot. Men with pistols were standing around. Suddenly something struck my head and I was lying on the floor with blood all over me. This went on until I collapsed. All I had with me had been stolen while I was standing with my face to the wall. Afterwards I was taken to the prison.
The man who followed me was an innkeeper from Reichenberg, who had been a member of the Volkssturm [last reserve]. They had smashed his head in. A few days later he died in horrible pain. It went on like this all the time, they took people out and shot them either outside the town or in the prison yard in Münchengrätz. Shots were always to be heard in the yard. The rattle of shooting lasted until the Russians came, it was said then that no more Germans were to be shot.
I was in Czech captivity from May 8, 1945 to July 12, 1945. We were beaten daily. We had to remove tank barricades. There was very little to eat and the food was bad. The bread was stored close to the gasoline so that it became inedible.
During our captivity we constantly received stretchers, pick-axes and shovels, and had to dig graves near the municipal bathing establishment at Münchengrätz, to salvage the bodies of dead comrades out of the Iser and to bury them. We refugees had not only been robbed of everything, but were also used for compulsory labour. Our conditions were very bad in the Haskov factory, the Czech military barracks, where our work was extremely hard; Czech soldiers drove us on with hatchets and axes while we were carrying heavy loads.
We three - my wife, my daughter and I - were expelled on July 12, 1945 at 1 o'clock at night with 25 kilos (55 pounds) of luggage and 100 RM; even our wedding-rings were taken from us. They told us that we were going to work and would come back soon.
Report No. 264
Reported by: Anna Grimm Report of August 29, 1946
My husband suffered from a heart condition, and was arrested on his sick-bed on June 17, 1945 and imprisoned in Neudek for three days, with dreadful maltreatment, and then transferred to the concentration camp of Neurohlau. There too he was badly maltreated, as he himself told me. I saw that his back was entirely black and blue. As a result of the bad rations he developed dropsy, with fluid in his legs all the way to his hips, so that he could no longer put on his shoes or close his trousers. On September 10 he collapsed at his place of work and had to be taken to hospital. On December 6 he was brought back to the concentration camp in Neurohlau even though the doctor had declared him totally unfit for imprisonment. On December 11 he suffered a stroke and could no longer speak. When I wanted to visit him, I was forbidden to do so. When I returned to the camp on Christmas Day he was led into the visiting room. He was the picture of misery. He had terrible trouble breathing, could not speak, and was all swollen. I tried time and again with personal and written petitions to have him released into home care, but he was not discharged from the concentration camp until February 8, 1946. He did not recover, and died on August 5, 1946.
Report No. 265
Reported by: Eduard Geitler
Because I had insulted a Czech person in 1939, this Czech reported me to the gendarmerie in 1945. On July 3, 1945 I was arrested, and locked into a coal cellar in the police prison together with four other Germans. On the third day after my committal all four of us were led, singly, into a room on the second floor, where we were inhumanly beaten. I was punched in the face 15 times, then I had to lie down on a chair and was beaten with a leather whip. Then my tormentor turned the whip around and beat me with the handle. The doctor who later examined my injuries described them as serious physical damage.
After 10 days I was transferred to Sternberg into a collection camp. The rations we got there were very poor. We had to do sports [exercises] before going to work in the morning, and after we returned from work in the evening. Anyone who couldn't keep up got plenty of beatings. During work we were supervised by guards, and if someone didn't work to their satisfaction he had a beating to look forward to in the evening. Around 9 o'clock in the evening, when we were about to retire for the night, we were beaten for no reason at all. They wrapped blankets around our heads on this occasion to muffle our screams.
On January 9, 1946 I was sent to Neuhodolein, near Olmütz. We were kept
in a constant state of starvation here. When we tried to pass the time in the long
evenings by giving and attending lectures on educational subjects such as sugar
production, beer brewing, fruit growing etc., we were reported for it, deprived of
our straw pallets and forced to run the gauntlet. We were also inhumanly beaten.
Our punishment, therefore, consisted of having to sleep in unheated rooms and
without straw pallets,
in January - as well as of two fasting days per week and the withholding
of mail and parcel privileges. The beatings were easier to endure than the
constant hunger. I had to continue working even though I was gravely ill. The
slogan was, "there are only two kinds of people in the camp, the healthy and the
dead!" In late June 1946 I was released, since there were no charges against me.