Report No. 266
Reported by: parish priest Oskar F. K. Hahn Report of July 22, 1946
I am an invalid, but on October 20, 1945 I was put into the concentration camp of Neurohlau. As Catholic clergyman I had been parish priest, and was suspected of having massacred Russian soldiers in a butcher shop, with the assistance of the kitchen staff. The charge had been brought by a woman who was in an insane asylum three times already.
I am a war-disabled ex-serviceman myself, but nonetheless I was repeatedly badly maltreated, like all other prisoners as well. The worst time came in the night of November 2-3, when all inmates who had been members of the SS, the SA or the Party, including foot amputees, were forced to run laps around the square. In the process we were beaten so badly with rifle butts, steel canes and slats that many collapsed. As the result of maltreatment, the last of which to my knowledge took place in March 1946, an opera singer, Karl Tretsch from Prague, suffered seven broken ribs, and kidney and head injuries. This kind of maltreatment was also repeatedly inflicted on other prisoners. Among the prisoners in Neurohlau there were numerous 70- and 80-year-old men and women, some of whom suffered from severe injuries such as hernias. I shared my room with about 48 invalids (amputees). Even these were badly maltreated. The student Günther from Gottesgab was beaten with rubber truncheons on both his leg stumps until the blood shot out. One Mrs. B. from Lubenz, 68 years old, was recently sentenced by the People's Court to 20 years' imprisonment for allegedly being to blame for two girls committing suicide in 1936/37. Her husband had been beaten to death in the camp while she was forced to watch.
in the concentration camp at Neurohlau
Reported by: Johann Schmelzer Report of June 1, 1946 (Neurohlau)
I was imprisoned at Elbogen on June 9, 1945. On June 26, I was transported to the concentration camp at Neurohlau together with other prisoners. On the same day all inmates - more than 100 men - were called to the office and knocked about in such a manner that the cries of pain could be heard in the street, even though the windows had been closed. The very moment I entered the office I myself was attacked by four men, who struck me in the face and on the head. After that I had to bend over the back of a chair and was then beaten with sticks and clubs by those four men until blood dripped from my nose. Afterwards they forced me to lick the blood off the chair. All prisoners were treated the same way. I was interrogated three times during my imprisonment of eleven months and released on May 11, 1946 without having been tried or sentenced.
For many weeks the food was not only completely insufficient, but also inedible. Many prisoners became ill and died from exhaustion. Among them were one Konhäuser, functionary at Altsattel, and Karl Wohlrab, formerly a pattern-maker at Dallwitz.
Once, in July, I saw a prisoner, who was standing in line for the roll call, shot down by a commissar with his pistol without warning. I remember a further case: a prisoner who, suffering from hunger, took some potato peels out of the dust-bin near the kitchen was warned by the commander and threatened with shooting. When the same prisoner ate potato peels again, several days later, he was killed by the commandant himself with a pistol-shot. When one of the SS-men escaped from the camp in August, all the SS-men there were beaten and SS-man Lippert from Elbogen was shot. I am prepared to swear to this statement and I am also able to name witnesses.
Reported by: Adolf Trägner Report of July 22, 1946 (Neurohlau)
On July 23, 1945 I was ordered to report the next day at the Altrohlau school, for work assignments. At the school I met 31 other men who had received the same order. From there, we were committed to the Neurohlau concentration camp, where we were all dreadfully maltreated. I was kicked in the genitals both from the front and from behind until I collapsed unconscious. When I came to again, I was laid on a bench and beaten unconscious all over again. When I regained consciousness this time, one man beat me over the head with a steel cane until I collapsed yet again. I sustained a severe head injury from this abuse. Ever since then I have suffered from constant headaches, which sometimes become so severe that I pass out from them. The camp physician in Kladno-Dubi diagnosed my head injury. A heart defect from which I also suffer now is related to this maltreatment as well.
Reported by: Marie Georgi Report of September 2, 1946 (Neurohlau)
Director Pohl of the paper factory at Neudek was picked up by the gendarmerie in September 1945. He was taken to the camp at Neurohlau and shot there. One Czech by the name of Kalupa afterwards bragged of having shot Pohl in Neurohlau.
Wenzel Siegert, a post-office employee, whose apartment had been requisitioned during his absence, was mistreated when he returned to his apartment; he was then taken to the local jail, where in September he was beaten to death.
Josef Schönecker, born on October 26, 1893, was arrested in November 1945 on his way to withdraw money from the savings bank, although he was already in possession of his transfer documents. Since that time he has been kept in Neurohlau, even though he is a sick man and unfit for work.
Anna G., the wife of a baker in Neudek, was taken prisoner in June 1945, severely ill-treated and brought to the court-prison at Karlsbad. I saw myself at Christmas the scars on her legs, originating from metal-studded scourges. During the night they would take her out of the cell several times, then she had to undress and they would pour cold water over her. Later she was sentenced by the "Volksgericht" [People's Court], often presided over by men without legal qualifications, to twelve years imprisonment.
in the Neurohlau camp, 1945/46
Reported by: Josef Heller Report of June 22, 1946 (Neurohlau)
I had to spend the time from December 28, 1945 until May 29, 1946 in the concentration camp in Neurohlau. Even before that time I had been in the camp a couple of times a week for several months, on deliveries I had to make for the camp. On those occasions I witnessed many instances of maltreatment. Once I saw how an old man, who was in his sixties, walked across the camp square around noon and was suddenly gunned down by a Czech guard, without there even having been so much as an exchange of words between the old man and the guard. Then, when I became an inmate in the camp myself, I witnessed how the guards sought every opportunity to maltreat the prisoners. During the night of April 30, 1946 we heard several shots being fired. On May 1 nobody was allowed to leave the camp. We were told that someone had shot at a guard from outside the camp. Allegedly the bullet had gone through a guard's cap. This incident was taken as an excuse to conduct house searches in the surrounding villages, ostensibly for weapons, and in the course of these searches the people were robbed of even their last poor possessions of clothes, linen, money etc. No weapons were found. A Czech investigative commission then determined that a guard had fallen asleep and when his hand had slipped down his gun it had triggered the shot that went through his cap. Another guard had responded to this shot by firing several times more.
During the luggage inspection in Neurohlau the inspectors, who were drunk, helped themselves to most of the expellees' possessions. My 79-year-old mother was robbed of her feather bedding, my wife of all our clothes and linen, and I myself of my best clothes and shoes. As compensation we were given 500 Marks each.
Report No. 271
Reported by: retired public school director Josef Schramm Report of May 14, 1950
Neutitschein was occupied by German troops on October 10, 1938. On November 22, 1938 the new authorities dismissed me from my post. I was dismissed with the comment that I could not expect to enter service in the Reich.
Prompted by a written denunciation, I had to justify myself to the new authorities because in April 1937 I had required the teachers on my staff to prove that they had adequately informed their students about the difference between democracy and dictatorship in a state, as per Decree 81/n issued by the District School Board on January 11, 1934.
And finally, in 1937, I had put my wife's landholdings[?] at the disposal of the Czech military administration, to use as a military magazine. This was done under contract, to avoid the risk of confiscateion.
On May 5, 1945 Neutitschein was occupied by the Russians. I had to submit to the first looting. Already the very next day it seemed that I would be granted protection, due to my early efforts to preserve the Czechoslovak state. On the basis of my written documentation, the local Czech výbor issued me a voucher with the Soviet stamp, that was to protect me from further looting. Nonetheless I had to surrender my radio.
In the night of July 4-5, 1945, 4,000 to 5,000 German inhabitants of the city Neutitschein were suddenly deported without prior notice to the city of Pirna on the Elbe. I was also still held exempt from that. The evening before, I was given a "white card" for myself and my family, for this purpose. But this card and my written documentation did not keep my wife from having to perform forced labor for Czechs. I mysef had to spend a Sunday from 7 o'clock in the morning until 6 in the evening performing public clearing work.
On August 21, 1945 a public announcement was posted in many places in the city Neutitschein. I myself had to keep such a poster, 85x60cm in size, displayed in my window for 14 days. I still have this poster today. The text on it stated, in Czech: "Národní výbor Neutitschein, No. 4735, August 4, 1945. Re.: trustworthiness of Germans. Announcement. The following persons living in Marxova Street have been exempted from the restrictions placed on persons of German nationality." Then there follow 7 names, including mine. "Because the výbor wishes to base its favorable decision on a fair and legal foundation, all persons of Czech nationality are requested to submit any objections to this decision in writing within 14 days. The výbor is certain that the Czech citizens of Neutitschein, who have lived here throughout the time of the German occupation, will be guided in their submissions only by the interests of the people and the state. Any and all intervention in the affairs of Germans are admissible. Jan Oplustil, Chairman of the Národní výbor." Nobody submitted any objections.
On December 18, 1945 I had to vacate my own home in favor of the Czech Major Dlouhý. As compensation I was assigned one room and kitchen, where 23 of the 36 window panes were missing. An appeal to the Mayor and Public School Director Bechný, with whom I was personally acquainted, was to no avail. Allegedly the government permitted a German to have one room at most.
I applied to the security consultant at the local Czech výbor in Neutitschein for a certificate attesting to my anti-Fascist activities. On the basis of my documentation I received a very detailed one. With this certificate I applied for resettlement as anti-Fascist, which was specially organized by the Social Democrats. Even though I had never belonged to a political party, I was accepted. Nonetheless, on March 19, 1946, I received the order to comply with regular resettlement [expulsion], with only 50 kg of luggage. When I showed my anti-Fascist certificate, it was taken from me. It bore the original signatures of the security consultant and the Chairman of the výbor, along with an official seal. My complaint to the Chairman resulted in him reissuing me the confiscated certificate, but he too could not exempt me from the imminent expulsion. Late in the evening before the scheduled expulsion, an order arrived from Prague, stating that the anti-Fascists should still be exempted for the time being.
I had to apply all over again for resettlement as anti-Fascist. It was again granted.
I had the Communist Chairman of the district výbor issue me written confirmation that due to my being resettled as anti-Fascist I was exempt from confiscation of my possessions. I was issued this confirmation politely and without problems. Armed with this document, and within the specified time frame, I reported to the national výbor, Moravian Ostrau branch office, to protest against the confiscation of my possessions. This office notified me that due to an October 18, 1946 decision of the Moravian-Silesian national výbor, Moravian Ostrau branch office, my protest was denied.
On November 26, 1946 my family and I had to report for resettlement [expulsion] to Bavaria.
Reported by: Franz Bordirsky Report of July 11, 1946 (Neutitschein)
I was arrested on June 26, 1945 by Czech policemen, who took me right off the field where I was working and to the community office. There I was shown a gun which had allegedly been found in my house, and I was asked where it had come from. I didn't know the first thing about this gun and was therefore unable to give them any information. Then they downright tortured me to extort a confession. First they beat me bloody with rubber truncheons. Two days later I was questioned again, and they accompanied the interrogation by whipping me on my legs and the soles of my feet. I was stabbed in the side with a knife so that the blood ran down. Then I was choked unconscious with a belt. After that they burned my face and ears with a red-hot iron and singed my hair, and then they forced me to press a shovel up against the wall with my nose while holding up a brick in each hand. Whenever my arms sagged or the shovel dropped, I was beaten again, so that I collapsed several times. They concluded their treatment by beating me over my legs and feet with wooden sticks. This produced open wounds, one of which has still not scarred over to this day, a year later. In the state I was in, they then kept me imprisoned for ten days in the basement of the school. Then I was taken by car to Neutitschein and again imprisoned. The next day I was walked to the concentration camp. Not until the next day was I admitted to the hospital, but discharged again two weeks later on the order of the Czech doctor because the hospital had to be cleared of all Germans. I was returned to my prison cell, and on December 7 I was transferred to the concentration camp, where I remained until June 7 this year. On that day a hearing was finally held, and I was acquitted of the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, but nonetheless I was sentenced to ten months in prison for allegedly having pulled a bayonet out of a Czech policeman's boot and threatening him with it.
Report No. 273
Reported by: Johann Stanzl Report of July 3, 1946
On September 13, 1945 I was arrested in Nieder-Mohrau, even thought the police was aware that I had already been diabetic for a year and a half. I was 16 years old at the time and was accused of having been a "werewolf". There had been no werewolf organizations in the entire surrounding region. 52 young people and adult men were arrested along with me. All food we had with us was confiscated. We were transferred to Olmütz and penned into a school there. We were all dreadfully maltreated by the guards there every day. Rations were very scant, and frequently inedible. In six weeks at least ten people starved to death. In early November we were transferred to the Hodolein concentration camp, where I was released about three weeks later, for health reasons.
On April 7 of this year I and 15 other youths from Nieder-Mohrau were again imprisoned after a barn in Nieder-Mohrau had burned down. As it turned out later, a Czech had set it on fire. I was arrested even though at the time of the arson I had been bedridden for three days, as I'd been repeatedly since my release from the concentration camp. After 24 hours I was again released for health reasons. The other boys were detained longer.
Report No. 274
Reported by: Elfriede Brockelt Report of October 15, 1946
After my father passed away, my son and I took care of my mother's agricultural estate in Niemes. On June 1st of last year the Národní výbor in Denis ordered me to move back to Denis to my own home. I complied with this order immediately. On June 6 my husband and I were suddenly arrested, with no reason being given, and incarcerated in the prison in Grottau. In Grottau I was badly maltreated. We had to work on the railroad, and every morning before work as well as after our return to the camp in the evening we were beaten with fists and rubber truncheons. My husband and I were separated, and I have not seen him again since. On June 13 of last year, we - approximately 30 people - were committed to the District Court of Reichenberg. On our arrival the men had to strip naked in the hallway and were beaten with rubber truncheons and whips. We five women were led to the Women's Section and badly maltreated there. Each of us had to strip completely naked and bend over a bed, and four soldiers would then beat us with rubber truncheons and whips. When it was my turn as the last of the five of us, I refused to undress, as it was that time of month for me. A sergeant checked to see if it was true, and then declared, "That doesn't matter." Since I still refused to undress, a sergeant pulled my top up and another one my pants down, and then four men beat me on my back, buttocks, legs and feet with rubber truncheons and whips. It must have been 25 to 30 blows. I was black and blue from this maltreatment. When I was supposed to return to my cell, I collapsed. I dragged myself into the cell with the last of my strength of will. An hour later we were fetched to report to the admissions office, where I was again threatened with the whip for having crossed the border with my children in 1938. When I returned to the cell one of the sergeants boxed me about the head and dragged me into the cell by my hair, because I "also" had children, as he put it. On September 5 this year I was sentenced to five years' imprisonment with forced labor. I had to do janitorial work. On October 10 I was released, without having tried to effect my release, and without being told a reason for it. My husband was also sentenced to five years' imprisonment and is still being detained in Karthaus.
Report No. 275
Reported by: Johann Gerlinger Report of June 17, 1946
On September 21, 1945, four Czechs came at night, knocked on the door of my house and asked me where I kept my pistol. I have never in my life owned a weapon, and said so. At that, they thrashed me with their rifle barrels, and beat me black and blue all over. To this day I have not regained the use of my left arm. Then I was ordered to report to the community office, where I was given water to wash up, as I was covered in blood. Then they led me into the basement and hung me up by my hands, which were tied behind my back, and left me hanging like that for half an hour. After they had untied me, I tried to drink from a water tub as we passed it on the street. One of the guards shoved my head under the water. Then I was locked up. The following night I was released without any further interrogation, and threatened that I would get more beatings if I told anyone how I had been maltreated. Meanwhile my family had been thrown out of our house. They had only been able to secretly take a few minor possessions with them. We stayed with my sister for three weeks. Then I and my wife were imprisoned in the Nikolsburg concentration camp, where I had to stay for nine months. My wife was released after two months because she was ailing.
to extort a confession
Reported by: M. Krebs Report of June 17, 1946 (Nikolsburg)
I was arrested on May 26, 1945 and taken to the court-building of Nikolsburg on the following day. There I was asked for my NSFK-uniform [NSFK = organization affiliated to the NSDAP] and for my shot-gun. I declared that I had never possessed a uniform and that I had delivered the gun to a Czech trustee. This they refused to believe. In order to extort a confession from me I was then subjected to severe ill-treatment. On two occasions I was placed over a chair and received 25 strokes with a rubber hose, which they obliged me to count myself. Afterwards I was forced to undress completely and then I had to run the gauntlet in a secluded yard between 12 to 15 men, who were armed with rubber-truncheons, tubes, rods, cables etc. On this occasion I received blows especially in the epigastric region and the genitals. I broke down several times and while on the ground I was trampled under foot. Then I was left standing in the yard at dusk. Three Czechs returned and I was beaten for the second time; they placed me over a chair, one man pressing my head and the other my feet towards the floor. How many strokes I received I do not know, but in any case they were enough to cause me to faint. After they had poured water over me the beating was continued.
On May 28, in spite of my wounds, I was again maltreated. 14 days later the wounds on my buttocks burst open and for four weeks were in a festering condition. I stayed in the sick-room for the whole of this period. As a result of a blow which I had received on the spine from an automatic pistol I also suffered from neuralgia, followed by atrophy of the right hand which still persists. I myself saw many other prisoners being tortured and ill-treated in the same way. The beatings were carried out by the following Czechs: Malicek, Medek, Tyrsch, Trha, Blaha and Schick, the last of whom with his automatic pistol shot down Mrs. Mischensky from Weißstätten in front of the other prisoners.
During the first six weeks no bread at all was distributed. The daily ration consisted of two cold potatoes and two slices of beet-root. Later on we received 250 g (½ pound) of bread daily and a potato-soup; for six weeks there was no salt in the soup. There was no heating even during the winter. The windows had been lime-washed and barbed wire stretched over them. A wagon full of clothes, linen and undergarments, a gift from UNRRA to the camp inmates, was shared out among the guards.
I am prepared to swear to this statement.