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Pilsen

Report No. 57
translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Experiences in the district prison of Pilsen
Reported by: Oskar Gellrich und Franz Reich Report of November 23, 1945

location of PilsenShortly after he had been brought in, Mr. Altherr from Wenussen near Pilsen was placed in the "correction cell" No. 23; he died there after three days from the torments inflicted on him. This happened between the 15th and the 20th of May [1945]. The prisoners here worked outside the building under the surveillance of the Red Guards, removing air-raid shelters. This job of clearing away the shelters and removing the bricks was speeded up by the guards, who wielded rubber-truncheons and shouted: "Get a move on". The bricks had to be carried away on the double, while the men were kicked in the region of the genitals and of the kidneys, apparently by order.

The diet consisted of 120 to 150 g of bread per day, in the morning a cup of black coffee, at noon either a thin soup or three or four small potatoes with a repulsive sauce, and in the evening a thin soup. The cooking was miserable and without salt.

After the prohibition of corporal punishment came into force in June 1945 the treatment improved. But as far as the diet was concerned there was no change. This may be seen from the fact that a typhoid fever epidemic broke out in the convict prison at Bory, to which some warders also fell victim. How many German prisoners were among the victims was not revealed.



 

Report No. 58

translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Convict prison at Bory, May 1945 to March 1946
Reported by: Karl Oberdörfer Report of June 3, 1946 (Pilsen)

location of PilsenI was arrested on May 6, 1945 in Pilsen and was held in the district-prison until May 24th and afterwards in Bory until March 19th, 1946. I never knew the reason for my arrest. I was interrogated for the first time in April in the internment camp of Tremoschna, whence I had been taken from Bory. Even Dr. Krofta, who interrogated me, could not tell me the reason for my arrest.

I and the other inmates were seriously maltreated every day in the district prison of Pilsen and in the convict-prison of Bory. Only during the few days when American commissions visited us, was there no ill-treatment. In the cells at Bory we were knocked about every morning and then taken down to the cellar, one by one, where we had to lie down on a bench equipped with two boards. Our heads were pressed between the boards and then we were beaten with sticks and rubber-truncheons by the warders and also by Czech convicts until each of us lost consciousness. Then they threw us into a corner and poured cold water over us. Corporal punishment was at its worst on Saturdays and Sundays. My left leg was so badly damaged that the wounds are still open.

The food was absolutely insufficient. In Bory I lost about 34 kilos [75 pounds] between May 24, 1945 and March 19, 1946. The washing facilities were also insufficient. There was only one hand-basin and about 8 liters of water [2 gallons] for 30 men. During the whole time we only twice had a possibility of taking a bath. Spotted typhus broke out in August and lasted for about three months. Up to 15 men died every day and one day we counted 49. There was no medical attention at all. The prison doctor, Dr. Nemecek, took no notice of the Germans. Only at the instigation of the American commission were interned German surgeons employed.

The conditions in the internment camp of Tremoschna were a little better, but members of the Czech militia there also maltreated many of the internees. I myself was once knocked down in the latrine. I can confirm these statements on oath.



 

Report No. 59

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
A German family's account
Reported by: Maria Schöber (Pilsen)

location of PilsenOn May 7, 1945 my husband and I were taken from our flat; at 9:30pm four Czech men with whips showed up and ordered us to come along with them at once. I was in my housecoat and was only allowed to quickly change into a dress, but I had to do so in front of a soldier. My husband took his air-raid suitcase along. Together with many other Germans we were herded into the Bory Prison. There, the women and men were separated. I sever saw my husband again.

Two days later I was given my husband's dirty collar and two blood-soaked handkerchiefs, and 300 Kronen of about 18,000 he had had.

In Bory we 35 women, with children and infants, were crowded into a cell meant for 4 people. We got food only once a day, and there was very little of it, and very bad.

Each night we heard the screams of people who were being beaten, and the shots from countless executions.

After three weeks I was sent away from there, and was taken instead in succession to the following camps: Pilsen-Karlov, Eisenach in Thuringia, and from there the Americans sent me back to Bohemia, specifically to Pilsenetz, Dobran and Staab.

The lodging and rations in the camps were mostly unfit for human beings. Often the men and women were quartered haphazardly together, with no washing facilities, the toilets in unimaginable condition, sheds and barracks so overcrowded with people that they could only lie squeezed tightly together. There were straw sacks and other pallets for only a few of us.

Children and adults alike died every day.

Rations consisted unvaryingly of small quantities of dry bread, black coffee and watery soups.

The treatment we got at the hands of the guards was uniformly very bad, downright subhuman. I only had to work in Bory - the younger women were herded to a work site two hours away by foot, had to walk on the gravel and were beaten with whips if they tried to avoid the gravel or could not do the work they had been assigned.

In September 1945 my daughter managed to have me released from the camps and sent to live with her.

To her repeated inquiries in Bory my daughter was always told that her father was well. In October 1945 I was permitted to send him a parcel, and did so. But this parcel was returned to me in November, with the notice: "Died on September 19." My daughter then asked again to at least be told the cause of death. She was given a printed form stating "stomach cancer". That's all we ever heard.



 

Report No. 60

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Severe maltreatment, death, dysentery, typhus, dropsy
Reported by: Franz Pilfusek Report of August 7, 1946 (Pilsen)

location of PilsenI am 55 years old, was employed with the Railroad since 1913 and have never been politically active. I did my duty until May 18, 1945. Since May 6, 1945 American soldiers were quartered in my house, and we got along well with each other.

In the late afternoon of May 18, as my family and I sat unsuspectingly in our garden, three younger Czechs, among them a gendarme, suddenly burst into my yard and arrested me for no reason whatsoever. My wife fainted right then and there, and I was escorted to City Hall.

When I arrived, some other comrades were already there, with faces bloody and clothes dirty. Suddenly a younger Czech, Karl Petrikovic from Kosolup, lunged at me and punched me in the face. Some other comrades were also brought in, 11 in all. Then a large truck pulled up and we were forced to get in as fast as we could. In downtown Tuschkau four more comrades joined us, and then we were taken to Pilsen to the District Court. When we arrived there at about 8 o'clock p.m., a large crowd awaited us, and beat us as we got off the truck.

In the corridor of the District Court we had to stand facing the wall and to strip totally naked. We were not allowed to turn around or to say a word. Many a one of us was shoved with his face into the wall, and we were kicked, and hit from behind with rubber truncheons, rifle butts and the like.

After our personal data was briefly recorded in two offices, we were crowded into single cells in groups of 8, 10 or even more, without being given anything to eat. We were locked in, and the next day we were distributed amongst the common cells. The maltreatment and beatings continued. Rations were very scant and bad. For cooking they used stale, stinking water, and the unpalatable end results were prepared without any salt or spices and with dried vegetables and the like.

After a week, we several hundred men were herded back to Bory, and from there we were taken to the prison of Pilsen-Bory. Maltreatment and beatings by the staff were the order of the day there. Many people died of the consequences of this inhuman, brutal treatment. There was no medical care for them.

For weeks on end we only got very small rations twice a day. Later on we got some spoonfuls of black coffee in the afternoons, and we were also assigned to various work details. It was impossible to sleep at night without being tormented by all kinds of vermin. Not until we were only skin and bones were we allowed to receive food parcels of up to 3 kg from our relatives.

Suddenly, various diseases such as dropsy, dysentery, and several form of typhus broke out. Then the doctors among the prisoners were told to treat us, but it was too late, and besides, there were no medications. In some divisions the death toll was said to be more than 70%. I myself spent almost two weeks laid up with raging fever and typhus.

In this way I and several comrades spent until March 1946, some of us even longer, in the horrible prison of Bory. From there we were transferred to the internment camp in Tremosna near Pilsen, where I was released on July 16, 1946, for health reasons, after having been ill for 14 months already. My son, who had also been interned in Tremosna after returning from American captivity, was released from there a week before I was, even though he had appealed to the Pilsen District Court to have me released for joint resettlement [expulsion] with him. At the court he was repeatedly told that my name was not on any prison list and that therefore I had not been reported for arrest.

Shortly after my arrest, my family was expelled from our own home, and the house was totally looted by Czechs. On my arrest a Czech gendarme had relieved me of my pocket-watch and pocket-knife, with the comment that I would get them back on my return.

In conclusion I want to mention that, in the district resettlement camp shortly before being transported off, my son was beaten by a Czech gendarme and robbed of his rubber raincoat, leather gloves and boots. After making a complaint to the Staff Captain stationed there, his things were returned to him.


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