(near Moravian Ostrau)
Report No. 116
Severe harassment of old people
Reported by: Valerie Klos Report of August 2, 1946
On July 19th of last year, some 750 people from Bennisch, including very many old and sick people and women with young children, were herded together with almost no advance notice and with a bare minimum of luggage, to be sent into the Czech regions for three weeks to serve as laborers for the harvest season. The next day, in Olmütz, the old people and the women with small children were culled from the rest and sent to the concentration camp Hodolein. Among these people were my parents, my father aged 74 and my mother aged 54. After 10 months, my sister and I were sent to a farmer, where we were treated very hatefully and were often cursed and even spat at. My father fell ill in Hodolein as a result of the maltreatment and poor rations, and according to an order of the chief police physician of Olmütz he was supposed to be released for health reasons, but instead he and my mother were sent to the concentration camp Stefanau, where the poor care and housing aggravated my father's condition to the point where he died on September 24. He had ulcers on his head and sides, the result of beatings. In only this short time he had lost so much weight that he was just skin and bones. My sister and I were only about 30 km away, on labor detail, but we were not allowed to go see our father one more time before he died.
When we were released and went home, none of our things were still there, and we were forbidden to enter our home. The luggage we have for our expulsion consists only of things that acquaintances gave us, and these items are mostly old and partly already worn out. We have no winter clothes at all.
Reported by: Hildegard Maschke Report of August 2, 1946 (Bennisch)
The Employment Office in Bennisch sent my 16-year-old daughter to work for the Czech farmer Uhlír, where she had to work every day from 5 o'clock in the morning until 10:30 at night. The farm is about 100 acres in size and my daughter was the only farmhand. And so in time the work got to be too much for the child. In early April my daughter came to see me one day, early in the morning, and asked me to accompany her to the Employment Office, since she could no longer manage all the hard work. But even before we could set off to the Employment Office, Mrs. Uhlír arrived with Túma, the Head of the Employment Office, to fetch my daughter. Túma beat her until she agreed to return to the farm. I too was beaten twice by Túma. In early July my daughter was again badly maltreated by Mrs. Uhlír and accused of having stolen some new things from her. I have a Czech gendarme to thank for the fact that my daughter was even released for resettlement at all, and has now been expelled together with me.
Reported by: Johann Januschke Report of August 2, 1946 (Bennisch)
On September 24 of last year the Employment Office of Bennisch sent me off to Moravian Ostrau to work in the Ida mine. Both the treatment and the rations we received there were very bad. In early December one of the guards gave me a beating when I reported to him, as per regulations, that while I was working one of my fingers had been caught in a cogwheel, which had crushed the first tip of the ring finger on my left hand. I had to continue working despite this injury. The second time I was severely maltreated was on Christmas Day. When I arrived for my shift in the morning I was smoking a cigarette. One of the guards came up to me and slapped me. When I turned away, he followed me and beat me with his rubber truncheon and rifle butt across my back and chest and on my head and hands until I lost consciousness. Afterwards, the physician diagnosed pulmonary bleeding, cardiac insufficiency, and bruising all over my body. I had to remain in bed for several months. For two months I couldn't even eat on my own. The physician attested that as a result of the maltreatment I had suffered, I would be unfit for physical labor for several years. Consequently I was dismissed from working in the mine on April 4 of this year. While I had worked in the mine I had not been paid any wages, and my wife and our four-month-old child had not received any support whatsoever.
Reported by: Erwin Plisch Report of September 9, 1946 (Bennisch)
The terror of all
inhabitants of Bennisch is the Ice Cellar, in which 15 men were constantly kept
imprisoned until October 1945. The prisoners were always changing, some being
sent in, some out. I myself was imprisoned there for three weeks. In the Ice Cellar
a team of thugs was constantly on duty to beat us, and the inmates were severely
maltreated by them every day. I was beaten there twice myself. I also witnessed
how some people were so badly maltreated that they had to be taken the
infirmary, where many of them died of their terrible injuries. I was released on
August 7 of last year, as being totally innocent of any political wrongdoings. Even
at the time of my arrest I was told that I would be released again immediately if I
agreed to join the Communist Party. Since I refused, I was maltreated. The
teacher Anlauf of Zossen was released on August 7, along with me. He had been
beaten bloody in the Ice Cellar. When he found out in early September that he
was to be arrested again, he committed suicide.