Report No. 277
Reported by: Johann Peschka, Dean Report of August 3, 1946
Hardly any village suffered as much under the Czechs as Oberlipka. The 23-year-old commissar, a Czech Communist, immediately altered the War-Memorial into a Czech-Russian monument in commemoration of the victory, decorated it with Stalin's picture and with hammer and sickle. The kolkhoze-system was introduced. At 6 o'clock in the morning the inhabitants of the village had to fall in, in order to be distributed for work. Women who came late because they had had to attend their children were struck with a whip or punched in the face by this same commissar. Mrs. Hermine Fischer, wife of a mason, whose husband had not yet returned from the army, showed me her bleeding wounds and her broken nose. Miss Hedwig Seifert, who was supposed to have made an offensive remark concerning the Czechs, although this denunciation by the Správce (manager) was a false one, had to undress completely in the office of the commissar; she was then lashed, her hair cropped and she had to press a piece of paper against the wall [with her nose] for two hours. Whenever it slipped down, she received lashes with the whip. She was also not allowed to relieve nature, so that she defiled herself. At last she was confined to her room for a whole month, probably with the intention of preventing her from filing a protest.
This commissar also gave orders for the shooting of eight innocent persons, as for example Josef Kretschmer, a farmer, in whose field a weapon was found in a heap of stones and also Konrad Neutzler, who was a tenant of another farmer by the name of Pretschmer. It is reported by the neighbours that both these men were completely undressed, tied up and so terribly beaten that their cries of pain were audible far off, before they were actually executed.
One Winkler, a shoemaker and his wife, who had already crossed the German border, returned at night in order to fetch more clothes for themselves. They were both picked up and dreadfully tormented so that their cries could be heard at a great distance. Afterwards they were driven to Grulich, where they were locked up in the cellar of the Schiller printing-works and again cruelly maltreated. People from Grulich who saw these victims noticed their bloodshot eyes, swollen-up faces and the almost mad look in their eyes. Later on they were all shot, together with Berthold Seifert, a bricklayer's foreman, and Richard Hentschel, the leader of the local farmers' association. All the inhabitants of the village, including the children over eight, had to witness the execution, their hands above their heads. Everyone was forced to take with them their watches and jewellery. The Czech woman secretary ordered the singing of the German anthem. The drunken soldiers could not aim right, and the woman among the condemned received shots in the abdomen. Some of those who had been shot were still living when they collapsed into the hole which they themselves had been forced to dig. From above, the Czechs gave a number of mercy-shots. Many of the spectators fainted. Johann Müller, a smallholder, on returning to his house hanged himself in a panic. Before the execution the enforced spectators were searched and all their valuables were taken from them.
A soldier who had many war-injuries and had recently returned home was shot without any trial or interrogation. My servant, Miss Maria Neutzler, who had to renew the eternal light in the church at Oberlipka, was interrogated and tormented for a considerable time, since she was accused of having given light signals to the enemies from the church. She died as a consequence of this maltreatment in the hospital at Mährisch-Rothwasser.
By order of the commissar five women between 40 and 60 years of age had to thrash corn in the barn of a farmer by the name of Johann Rotter. One of the women was Mrs. Prause, the mother of Berthold Winige's wife. Since it was very cold, the five women went to a neighbour's house in order to eat their dry bread there and to warm themselves up. When the commissar passed the barn and did not see the women, he furiously fetched them from the room and ordered them to follow him to the barn. There they had to undress partially. After this the enraged brute kicked them with his riding-boots and beat them with a [bullwhip] in an atrocious manner. Even after several weeks had passed, the doctor could still see the weals and wounds. This deed of the commissar was too much even for the decent persons among the Czechs and since our constant reports and representations were in vain, the Czechs helped so that finally a commissar from Prague arrived and put a stop to this commissar's activities.
It is also well known in what a barbarian way the owners were expelled from their farms and houses. Ferdinand Jäckel, for instance, a farmer and innkeeper, was working in the fields near Freudenberg, when the new Czech owners arrived at the farm. He had to leave his property there and then, still in his working clothes. He was a seriously wounded war veteran.
Grulich had 4,200 inhabitants, the majority of whom were catholics, with about 500 persons of protestant faith.
The population was peaceful and had lived on good terms with the Czechs during the period of the Czechoslovak Republic. When the Czechs had left the area after the annexation, no one had hurt a hair of their heads or taken anything from them. The Czechs who remained had been treated well during the war and the Czech labourers had also had good pay and working conditions. They were independent and free to move about just like the Germans and to visit movie theatres and restaurants. It was for this reason that the inhabitants of Grulich calmly looked forward to the return of the Czechs after the collapse of Germany. They were willing to work with them.
On May 22nd, at 7 o'clock in the morning, buses arrived at the market place and heavily armed partisans got out of them. They surrounded the town and searched every single house. They threatened the people with death if a single man would be found hidden. All of the men were assembled in the market-place, with their hands above their heads; later they were taken to the district administration building, a former Czech school. A Czech commission under the leadership of one Fiala, a gardener, and one Urban, a butcher, decided the number of strokes to be given - 50 to 200 - carried out with steel rods, whips, sticks etc. Only very few got away without corporal punishment. Many of the men were half maddened with pain and were bleeding so heavily that it took them hours to get home. Among those killed were Adolf Pospischil, a youth leader, and Ernst Pabel, a young soldier from Niederlipka, whom the Czechs had seized on the road. I lifted the tent-cloth from the corpses at the consecration and saw that [their] heads and the upper parts of the bodies had been beaten into a bloody mass. Pospischil had finally received a shot of mercy. Doctor Burek is able to testify to the above. Further persons beaten to death were: Amber, a tailor, also Schrutek, the owner of a printing-house and district forester, because he had altered his Czech name into a German one.
Political prisoners, functionaries of the NSDAP and other persons towards whom the Czechs bore ill-will were especially maltreated. In the evening after they returned from their daily labour, they were led to the school-yard, adjoining the parsonage, for the so-called "evening-gymnastics", which were supervised by Czech soldiers, allegedly former concentration camp inmates. We heard the cries of the tortured men and could overlook the whole school-yard through knot-holes and cracks in the boarding. First of all there were calisthenics, accompanied by lashing and face-slapping, after this the prisoners had to run the gauntlet. At the beginning and at the end of each row stood Czech soldiers, who kicked the running men in the abdomen and struck them on the back with their rifle butts. I saw Dr. Fanckel, a lawyer, who was suffering from a nervous ailment. He was running desperately, while the laughing soldiers kicked and beat him until he fell to the ground and with clasped hands pleaded for mercy. As an answer he received so many blows in the face that blood dripped from his mouth and nose. He died in the hospital at Mährisch-Rothwasser as a result of this treatment. The same happened to one Hugo Grund, a butcher.
Another man was laid over a box and was beaten by two soldiers with their whips and steel-rods until he collapsed. Afterwards cold water was poured over him and as soon as he came-to he was beaten again.
A Russian major, who witnessed the proceedings from a window of the school, stopped the "evening gymnastics", so that these terrible beatings came to an end.
Returning soldiers in uniform were shot down by the Czechs and buried in the open fields or in the woods. One day in May 1945 two soldiers from Austria entered my house at noontime. I advised them to make their way only at night and to hide themselves during the day. They probably did not take my advice, for when I arrived at the cemetery in the evening in order to perform a consecration, both of them had meanwhile been placed against the wall and shot.
The Germans were not allowed to use the railways; nor could they walk on the pavement or visit each other's houses. Women who did use the pavement were attacked even by the children, who smacked them or struck at them with sticks. "Nemecká kurva" (German whore) was the Czech epithet for all German women. One day at Hermsdorf some men met in an apartment for a game of cards, when unexpectedly a Czech search-party entered the room. The card-players, among them Hugo Koschinger, Hugo Fischer and Josef Vogel, were terribly beaten and were imprisoned for a long time. Hugo Fischer, who was a war-invalid, had to have immediate medical attention after this incident.
One Sunday Miss Gertrud Wagner went to the cemetery. On her way she was stopped by Czech soldiers and asked if she did not know that every soldier had to be greeted by the Germans. She was then violently slapped and forced to walk up and down in front of the soldiers, greeting them constantly.
At Eichstädt, as I was told by a man from there, 10 or 12 persons were hanged on the lime-trees near the church, after they had endured indescribable tortures. Among them were Pischel, a teacher, Hentschel, the mayor and local party-leader, and Safar, a master joiner, the last because he had taken a German name. Pischel had his mustache burnt off, his ears and nose were severed and his tongue torn out. He was forced to roll on the ground and was then dreadfully beaten.
At Böhmisch-Petersdorf also about 15 persons were tortured to death. I can guarantee all reports concerning my parish and I am prepared to take an oath on these statements at any time.
Report No. 278
Reported by: Max Pohl Report of July 4, 1946
On the day in November 1945 when a Czech administrator took over my farm, I and my family were robbed of every piece of clothing, linen, shoes and food we owned. When I remarked, "it would be best to take a rope and hang oneself," the Commissar beat me to the ground. Then they took me to the gendarmerie, on a cart since I could not walk. There, the gendarmes again beat me up, and locked me into the court prison for three weeks. When I returned from the prison, I and my family had to vacate our farm.
Report No. 279
Reported by: Steffi Lejsek Report of June 10, 1945
I was committed to the concentration camp Oderfurt near Moravian Ostrau on May 22, 1945. Everything I had was taken from me. For the first week in the camp we got no food at all, and everyone came down with starvation-related dysentery. Every day someone died. During the second and third weeks there, we received one ladle of watery soup of no nutritional value at all each afternoon. There was no bread to be had. At the same time, however, everyone had to work very hard (shoveling coal, etc.). The men got beatings every day, and many were totally disfigured by them. Already on the second day I saw how men, boys and girls aged 14 and up were whipped and chased bare-chested in circles around the camp square.
In order to get away from the dreadful conditions in the camp, 40 women volunteered for agricultural labor. Before we left the camp, all 40 of us were shorn bald.
I heard nothing from my husband. On May 22 some acquaintances told me that
on May 18 they had found my husband dead in our home, and had buried him. I
am prepared to take this statement on my oath.