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Elbogen

Report No. 170
translation by Gerda Johannsen.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Cases of severe maltreatment
Reported by: Franz Weinhard Report of June 22, 1946

location of ElbogenI was arrested on July 20th, 1945 at Gfell and was moved to the camp in the castle of Elbogen. There I was dreadfully maltreated, as were the other inmates. Twice and sometimes three or four times a day we were thrashed with a horse-whip until we bled. While we were tortured we screamed so loudly that the American guard could hear us through closed windows at a distance of about a hundred meters. Finally - it was in the evening of about the 6th of August - an American sentry fired several rounds with the machine-gun towards our windows. Two days later an American committee arrived at the camp; they inspected us and discovered the marks of ill-treatment on our naked bodies; photographs were taken of our backs and faces. We did not dare to tell the Americans anything of our treatment for fear of further beatings. Four weeks later the political prisoners were sent by the Americans from Elbogen to Landshut, where everything was better. On September 15th, 1945 we were released by the Americans and taken back to Czechoslovakia. There the Czechs took away our American discharge papers and we were transported to the labour-camp at Plan. During the time of my arrest my flat was searched and looted a several times. Even my daughter's wedding trousseau (she had married a French prisoner of war in May 1945) was stolen. Of the few things which were left in my possession, blankets, linen and tableware were, however, taken away from me at the luggage inspection at Gfell. My cell-companions at Elbogen were: Heinrich Gräf, Ernst Frisch, Fechter, Franz Kolb and Rudolf Jessel. They were just as badly mistreated as I.



 

Report No. 171

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Fortress Elbogen,
treatment in Czech prisons on April 11, 1946

Reported by: Heinrich Meier Report of June 1, 1946 (Elbogen)

location of ElbogenOn April 10, 1946 I was arrested on the allegation that in late April 1945 I had said that dead Jews should be buried where animal cadavers are dumped.

On April 11, 1946 I was severely maltreated in the Fortress of Elbogen, on the orders of the commandant. I was led into a closed room and had to lie across a bench. A guard who was there for the purpose then gave me five blows on my buttocks and upper thighs with a cudgel as thick as an arm that took both hands to handle, and then ten blows from the commandant himself, with a riding whip or rubber truncheon. This maltreatment remained visible for 4 weeks in the form of bruises on my buttocks and thighs. Finally the gendarme Frante from Schönfeld punched me in the face with a gloved hand. There was a hard object hidden in his glove, and my jaw was dislocated, which is visible to this day. After a month I was released from the prison without any trial. On my release, Dr. Jäger, Justice at the Elbogen District Court, informed me - but only verbally - that an investigation had shown that I was innocent. I am prepared to take this statement on my oath.



 

Report No. 172

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Concentration camp (Neurohlau, Kladno), maltreatment
Reported by: Karl Haberzettel (Elbogen)

location of ElbogenOn June 17, 1945 I was arrested in Altsattel together with 19 other men and one woman, and we were taken to the fortress in Elbogen, where we were all brutally beaten unconscious. In the three weeks I had to spend there, we were beaten several times each day. In the morning we had to do exercises until we collapsed. Several times during the day, and at night as well, partisans invaded our cells and arbitrarily beat the inmates. Whenever a guard approached the window of the cell, the inmates had to call out, with fists raised: Long live Dr. Eduard Beneš, President of the Czechoslovak Republic, and Marshal Stalin!

From Elbogen we were taken to the concentration camp in Neurohlau. Our welcome there consisted of a beating. In this camp we were put to work in the quarry or on the railroad. Our rations were grossly inadequate, consisting only of 100 g [3½ oz.] bread and a watery soup. In the evening we had to stand outside for 2 hours, even when it rained, while the guards intimidated the people with shots fired in the air, slaps, curses etc.

In late July I and 120 other men were sent to Kladno to work in the mine. The rations there were also so insufficient that many collapsed at work. On November 1st the mine began to issue us somewhat better rations, but it was still much less than the Czech miners received. We were not paid at all. On October 15 the Ministry at Prague ordered that the German miners were to receive a daily ration of cigarettes, depending on the work they did. And indeed the laborers in the surrounding mines received them, but not those in the Prague pit in Kladno-Dubi. Our quarters were crawling with lice and bedbugs.

In late January a cold resulted in my falling ill with glandular suppuration. Despite my illness I was forced to continue working in the mine underground. Only when my condition grew worse and ever worse was I discharged, on March 27. In Elbogen I had to spend 7 weeks in the hospital, where I underwent 5 operations. I am ready to take this statement on my oath.

Postscript:

Soon after my arrival, other prisoners from Elbogen were brought to Neurohlau as well. All of them without exception were in an entirely battered and beaten-up condition. Among them was an acquaintance of mine from Altsattel, Peterl, whose wounds were dripping with pus. He was unable to walk. I helped him clean his totally mangled and crusted face. Peterl was taken to the sick-room, and I never saw him again. The physician said that he had been taken to Karlsbad to the hospital. But according to a memo from the internment camp, dated January 12, 1946, Peterl died of blood poisoning in the Neurohlau camp on July 11, 1945.

I am ready to take this statement on my oath as well.



 

Report No. 173

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Concentration camp, maltreatment
Reported by: Karl Jessel (Elbogen)

location of ElbogenI was arrested for no reason on February 27, 1946. I was accused of having been with the volunteer SS of the SdP. I had never even heard of this organization. While it goes without saying that my accusers were unable to provide proof that I had been with this group, I was expected to bring proof that I hadn't.

I was detained in the Elbogen concentration camp until June 1, 1946, and my wife and 8 children spent this time without their breadwinner. During my imprisonment my wife was allowed the monthly sum of Kc 1,500 from the funds we had on deposit with postal savings, but only 1,000 Kc were actually handed over to her, so that she had to spend the second half of each month entirely without money.

As in all the camps, the rations in Elbogen were totally inadequate, and the prisoners depended on receiving extra food from their families. Beatings were common in the camp. No prisoner was allowed to have anything at all in his pockets. If anyone carried even so much as a button that had fallen off his pants, or some cotton that he needed for an ear infection, he was beaten for it. Once every prisoner in the camp was beaten because it had been rumored that one of the guards was having an affair with a women who worked in the kitchen. I can take this statement on my oath.



 

Ernstbrunn
(near Böhmisch Krummau)


Report No. 174
translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Looting and abuse
Reported by: Rudolf Baier Report of August 7, 1946

location of Ernstbrunn, Böhmisch Krummau and 
ChristiansbergAfter the German surrender in May 1945 our town was occupied by American troops. Ernstbrunn was a purely German community, only the owner of the glassworks was a Czech. For as long as the area was under American occupation, life went on as usual. In June the Czechs took over the civil administration. From that moment on, Czech partisans and the gendarmerie began a looting spree. Both day and night they went through our homes (we were forbidden to lock the doors) and helped themselves to anything and everything they liked. We Germans had to wear identifying armbands, and whenever a Czech encountered a German in the street and liked anything this German had, the Czech simply took it. Shoes were taken off right in the street, pockets were searched, money, watches, jewelry, even wedding rings were taken from us by teenaged Czechs armed to the teeth. My brother, who was relieved of an old silver watch and who begged that he might be allowed to keep this memento from his father, was punched in the face. They took the watch and locked him into a shed. Later three Czechs returned and maltreated him terribly.

Livestock and horses were also driven away by the Czechs. The farms in the area were mostly settled by Slovaks, people the Czechs brought in from as far away as the Carpathian Mountains. They were consistently poor Slovaks from the mountainous areas who were forced to take over the German regions and who complained to the Germans, often in tears, that they had been forced to leave their own homes. Even though the Slovaks arrived without any luggage and had been promised that they would take over finished and furnished homes and businesses which the Germans had voluntarily abandoned, the Czechs had nonetheless first carried off whatever they could, in other words clothing, linen, grain, tools etc. The Slovaks were aghast that they were supposed to help expel the Germans, and swore to the Germans time and again that it was not their doing and that they would rather have remained at home.

The glassworks in our town had employed more than 300 workers, all of them Germans. The factory is now idle. On the formerly German farming estates the former German owners have had to cultivate the fields for the Slovaks, who know little of such things. However, many houses and even entire villages are still totally empty - ghost towns that have yet to be resettled.

On June 26, 1946 we were ordered to report to the collection camp Christiansberg on June 28. We were allowed to take only the items specifically listed in this deportation order. Once we had arrived in the camp, the men had to line up hands raised beside a table and were searched by the gendarmerie (body check). The women were searched the same way, by women but in the presence of men, and their skirts were lifted and even their underwear was felt. Whichever of the permitted items we had with us that were relatively new and not badly worn were mercilessly taken from us. Our savings bank books, all jewelry (including wedding rings), watches and valuable documents, especially those attesting to property holdings (deeds of sale etc.), had to be surrendered. We did not receive any receipts for them. We had to stay 12 days in the camp. The camp consisted of 9 barracks, housing 2,600 people. There was little space. We slept tightly crowded together on the bare ground or on our few remaining possessions. Our rations consisted of black coffee in the morning, turnip or pea soup at noon, and black coffee in the evening. After 12 days we were loaded into railroad cars and shipped under military guard to Furth im Walde.



 

Falkenau / Eger


Report No. 175
translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Robbery and theft
Reported by: Adalbert Sturm Report of September 4, [1946?]

location of FalkenauLadislav Prokop, an inspector at the Graslitz-Falkenau/Eger dairies, was a frequent visitor to our house at Schram Street No. 5 in Falkenau/Eger, where he visited his friend Kotrc and also got to know us. My daughter Margarete Wagner was employed in the dairy in Falkenau on the Eger. He asked my daughter about details of our financial situation. Unsuspectingly, she told him about our very valuable family jewelry and after he threatened her she also told him where it was. This fine gentleman, who had wormed his way into our home so cunningly, then robbed my wife of this jewelry, including highest-carat gold set with many diamonds, gold watches, necklaces, and other gold and silver objects to the total value of half a million Czech crowns. Then he also stole our linen, two radios, shoes, clothing, suitcases and purses etc. He loaded everything onto a truck owned by the dairy and had it taken away, destination unknown. After this great raid he reported to work as being sick, and was allegedly transferred to the dairy in Starý Kostelec n/Orl. He wrote us repeatedly that he would return all our property to us. Then one day we no longer heard from him - the fine fellow had disappeared without a trace. Several times in Falkenau/Eger he brought us some butter and rotten meat, things he no doubt had also stolen. I didn't become aware of this fine gentleman's thefts until later, but there was nothing I could do about him because at that time, until July 1946, robbery, murder and looting were the order of the day in Czechoslovakia and if we had reported him we would have risked being arrested ourselves. And so this crook easily managed to take his loot, worth at least half a million Czech crowns, to safety and to disappear into Eastern Bohemia to Starý Kostelec/Orl.



 

Fischern


Report No. 176
translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Luggage inspection
Reported by: Raimund v. Wolf Report of September 13, 1946

location of FischernDuring the inspection of my expulsion luggage in Fischern the control officers confiscated a suitcase with dishes and food, and a suitcase containing carpentry tools for which the resettlement [expulsion] commission had issued me written permission to take them with me. When I objected to the confiscation I was threatened that they would also take my suitcase with weaving supplies.

After this looting I was left with less than 70 kg of luggage per person. I filed a complaint in the resettlement [expulsion] camp in Meierhöfen, and was given some chipped dishes that are almost unusable. In the resettlement [expulsion] camp I found out that the inspection officers in Fischern had been drunk and that the only expellees to get away without being looted were those that had given them alcohol.



 

Frankstadt
(near Moravian Schönberg)


Report No. 177
translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Maltreatment in Frankstadt
and during labor in the mines in June 1945

Reported by: Rudolf Dobias Report of June 10, 1946

location of Frankstadt and Moravian SchönbergOn June 6 I was arrested for no reason and detained in the prison in Frankstadt, where I was brutally maltreated. Aside from dreadful beatings that disfigured us beyond recognition, we also had to kneel down and put our head on the cobblestones, and then a partisan would trample us on the head. In my despair I attempted to commit suicide. As I lay there all covered in blood, one of them even wanted to finish me off by beating me to death, but one of the others stopped him. Then I was taken to the Friedeck hospital. While there, I saw men and women being admitted, totally battered beyond any hope of recovery. Prontosil tablets were all that was available for our treatment.

A few days later I was sent to work in the mine. The hard labor and lousy rations there were accompanied by constant maltreatment. We had to work underground from 5 to14 o'clock and above ground from 14 to 18 o'clock, and only then did we receive anything to eat. Our pay amounted to 5-10 Czech crowns per day. I had to work in this mine from August 16, 1945 until March 16, 1946. Then I was sent to Freistadt to be interrogated. I was accused of having been awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service. From there I was transferred to the Neutitschein District Court. When I entered the court I was greeted with a blow to the head. From there I was sent to the resettlement [expulsion] camp. Rations were insufficient all year long.



 

Report No. 178

translation 
by Victor Diodon and Arnim Johannis.   zum deutschen Originalbericht
Conditions in the prisoner-of-war camp Frankstadt
Reported by: Adolf Hauk Report of June 23, 1946 (Frankstadt)

location of Frankstadt and Moravian SchönbergI was released from American captivity in Tepl on July 31, 1945. For 5 months I worked for a farmer near Furth im Walde. On November 10 I returned to my home town of Heizendorf, near Hansdorf, and since November 15 I again worked in the brewery in Hansdorf, where I had already worked for 18 years before the war. On November 11 I had reported my presence as required to the Hansdorf police, and presented my American discharge papers. In the time that followed I was repeatedly summoned by the gendarmerie and interrogated about my military service. I had served in the Wehrmacht's medical corps.

On March 2, 1946 I was arrested and taken into the POW camp Frankstadt near Moravian Schönberg. I was immediately beaten for having been a German soldier. Corporal punishment was the norm in the camp. The people were beaten for the most trivial things, and locked into a barbed-wire cage set up in the yard. This cage had no roof, and the prisoners were exposed to wind and weather and had to go without any rations at all every other day.

Rations consisted only of barley soup and bread. As many as 160 men had to sleep in a single room. Everything was crawling with lice and bedbugs. A single pump in the yard was the only washing facility, and not until the last few days was a distributor pipe with 6 outlets affixed to it. Beatings were always done with wooden canes. Every day we were cursed in the vilest way imaginable, by the civilian population as well whenever we worked outside the camp. On our way to and from work we always had to sing Czech songs. On May 25 I was released, to be resettled [expelled]. Wounded and sick people were also imprisoned in this camp. There was no medical care for anyone, and no bandages to be had either.


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