(Concentration camp Tremosna / Pilsen)
Report No. 341
Reported by: Dr. Brandl Report of December 9, 1945
In the middle of November seven Germans were also assigned to us, who had come from the internment camp at Tremošna and were residents of villages in the Erzgebirge. The Germans were in a deplorable physical and medical condition. Their bodies were like skeletons, revealing every bone. Their backs showed signs of severe beating. There were numerous scars which originated from weals left by whips or rods.
All of them reported that their rations had been totally insufficient. For weeks they had only received soup and one quarter of a loaf twice a day. Three of them were suffering from heart-ailments, but had received no medical treatment, since medicaments were lacking. Any medicaments would have had to be bought by the German inmates of the camp, and this was impossible since they had been deprived of all their money. Mr. Weidlich from Graslitz, an editor, reported that many of the camp-inmates had been transferred to the house of correction in Bory, where they had died of hunger-typhus.
The seven Germans were taken before the American Colonel Bost, who expressed his indignation at their condition.
Report No. 342
Reported by: Erna Mildner Report of June 15, 1946
I was employed by the Raiffeisen bank for 15 years and have boarded with the farmer Heger since July 20, 1945. When Heger was assigned a Czech administrator, I worked for him for four months without any pay. On December 5 the Czech administrator Urbanek from Nemcic, District Prerau, ordered me to move out of the house, and I was forbidden to take any clothes or linen for myself or my children, even though these things belonged to me, not to the farm estate, since I had only lived and worked there. Finally he gave me a few old rags, and forced me to sign a list written in Czech which I couldn't read. He also took all the groceries I had on hand. When I went back to him the next day to ask for a few more of my things, he shoved me out the door and threatened to have me sent to the concentration camp. I did not dare report him to the gendarmerie. At Christmas my daughter went to him to fetch our Christmas decorations and nativity scene, but he threatened the child as well with sending her to the concentration camp, and smashed the Christmas decorations and nativity scene on the floor before her very eyes.
Urbanek was a bricklayer by profession and had no clue of agricultural matters, but I saw him beat the farmer Heger in the field with his whip and shove him to the ground, even though Heger was an invalid.
I am prepared to take this statement on my oath.
Report No. 343
Reported by: Josef Faßl Report of June 27, 1950
On June 6th, there occurred the murder of a miller, Wenzel Ment, 42 years old; following this a group of drunken partisans drove in a car through our village. They dragged my sister, then 42 years old and mother of five children, out of her house, threw her into the car and drove away for about a kilometer; they then pushed her into a ditch and killed her with a burst of fire from automatic pistols. They left cheering and singing.
On June 13, my brother, 40 years old, was decoyed under a pretext to Tuschmitz to see the commissar, officiating as station-master at the Tuschmitz railway-station. On his arrival there he was seized and was tortured all night long, so that his screams could be heard even at the next village, 2 kilometers [1.3 miles] distant. He was finally taken into the country next morning, shot, and buried without ceremony. The criminal who was responsible for this and other crimes, most of them committed in this area, boasted in public that he had already killed 36 Germans and hoped to increase the number to 50; the same man murdered also the farmer of the name of Josef Baier from Liebisch some days later. At the end of June the licensee of the casino, one Mr. Bechine, Edmund Miser, a workman, Josef Strohwasser, a farmer, the two brothers Karl and Walter Merker and Hermann Peinelt, a shoemaker, were all shot close by the cemetery wall of Tschachwitz. Their next of kin were forced to watch the executions and to pretend to laugh.
The following persons may be named as witnesses: the children of Mrs. Franziska Müller, my murdered sister, Mrs. Emilie Gläser as well as the former mayor of the community of Liebisch, Mr. Franz Löbling.
Report No. 344
Reported by: Erna Peschke Report of June 21, 1946
My husband came home from the army on April 19, 1945. On May 9th the population of Tschenkowitz was summoned to an assembly. We were on our way to this assembly, when my husband was sent for from the municipal council. I went with him to the office. He was detained there and, after some hours, he was taken to the town of Gabel on the Adler, together with several other men from Tschenkowitz. When I made inquiries from the mayor, Mr. Burian, I received the information that the Germans were only under protective custody and would probably be released within a few days. On May 14, at 9 o'clock in the morning, about 30 men, among them my husband, were brought back from Gabel. They were disfigured past recognition. I heard that my husband was to be hanged. I took my child, aged three months, and hurried to the municipal council, in order to appeal for mercy. My father-in-law also begged for clemency.
Two men were hanged on that day, my husband and also a man by the name of Spiller. The mayor told me: "It serves him right, he is a German!"
Report No. 345
Reported by: Franz Schreier Report of June 9, 1950
In Tschirm No. 84, Troppau District, on Sunday, July 17th, 1945 at 11 o'clock at night, four Czech partisans (two of them civilians, one man in Czech and one man in Russian uniform) broke into the bedroom of my daughter, Angela Schreier, 25 years old, in order to rape her. She resisted. Furious at this, one of the partisans leveled an army pistol at her and fired. She died after a few minutes.
Dr. Baier from Wigstadtl, who was called immediately, certified the cause of death as a shot through the lungs.
The Reverend H. Alfred Possel performed the consecration and officiated at the funeral.
In the same bed with my daughter when she was murdered was her child, Ingrid, born on March 15, 1943, who was also hit by a shot in the spine and has been paralyzed since that time. The child was afterwards in the children's hospital at Munich for 9 months.
Shortly after the murder the Czech community official Jan Bayger from Tschirm arrived at the scene of the crime. When he left, he took with him all the shoes that he could find, the new clothes, and all underwear and linen.
Report No. 346
Reported by: Emma Eigler Report of September 18, 1946
My husband worked as cemetery gardener and sexton in Tüppelsgrün. On June 21 he was arrested and severely maltreated all night long. When he returned home the next day he was disfigured beyond recognition. After that he was always ill. During the maltreatment he had sustained an injury to his spleen, which suppurated. In June 1946 he died of this. The Czech physician of Altrohlau confirmed that my husband had died of the consequences of the maltreatment he had been subjected to.
Report No. 347
Reported by: Eleonore Hochberger Report of June 18, 1950
On May 18, 1945 the Czechs arrested my husband Adalbert Hochberger, teacher in Tuschkau, resident at Kosolup 123 near Pilsen, District of Mies. As of May 7 the Czechs had made him and other Germans tear down tank barricades and then clear rubble, since our town had sustained several direct hits during air raids. At first the Czechs were still somewhat restrained since they were afraid to incur the Americans' displeasure. But that changed when they realized that they had nothing to fear from the Americans and could do whatever they liked to us Sudeten Germans.
When my husband did not return from work on May 18, my daughter told me that many men had been arrested. I immediately ran to the výbor, and there I saw about 20 men standing, lying or huddling around. I saw my husband standing, he was as yet uninjured. Many local Czechs as well as gendarmes who had arrived from Pilsen by bus were at the výbor. I went to them and cried: "What has my husband done, whom has he harmed? I was with the Party too, so take me as well." One of the Czechs approached me and said, "Tak pojdte." One of the gendarmes took my arm and pulled me into the community office. He took down my particulars, and then accompanied me and four Czechs to my home. Everything, the entire house and even the yard and garden, was searched. One of the Czechs said, "where is revolver?" I told him that we had never had one. He said, "your husband said he has revolver." When they were finally finished with the house search two hours later without having found anything, they left. As he was leaving, the gendarme, who had behaved with relative restraint and had only confiscated the radio, said to my daughter, in Czech: "Tell your mother not to be so upset. Her husband will come back soon." He never came back.
When I dared go back out again some time later, the bus with the prisoners was gone. It was not until four weeks later that I found out, via a preprinted postcard with my husband's signature, that he had been taken to Pilsen to the Bory prison. The card stated that relatives were permitted to bring the prisoners fresh clothes every week. Once I tried to obtain a permit from the Czechs to take the train to Pilsen. "You criminals want to ride the train? You can walk," said the Czech, but then he did give me a permit. The Americans, on the other hand, did not give me one, and before entering Pilsen we were warned that it was very dangerous for us Germans there. Twice I managed to send clean laundry to Bory, that is, somebody took it from me but I don't know if my husband ever actually received it. I took various steps to help my husband and to try to save him, but it was all in vain. I wrote a petition but they just laughed at me at the výbor.
I tried time and again to see the Commandant to appeal to him for help. It was simply impossible to get to him. Two Czech legionnaires stood guard at the gate and admitted only those who had a permit from the výbor. Once I managed to speak with the American interpreter. He told me curtly: "We Americans haven't come to help the Germans, we've come to liberate the Czechs from you. We don't care what they do to you. Only the Reich German refugees are under our protection, nothing must happen to them."
One day a Czech whom I had never met before brought me a letter from my husband in which he told me that he was suffering terribly from hunger and that I should send him some food. The Czech left no address, and I had been away from home when he had arrived. This was about the same time that the Czechs ordered me to vacate our house. My daughter told an American soldier of our plight, and he came the next day with two friends and carried our heavy furniture into the quarters we had been assigned to. The soldiers only thought it was strange that we were moving out of our beautiful home and into this old inferior one and they could not understand why we obeyed the Czechs.
My daughter had to work on the local estate without receiving any meals or pay for her work.
When we had vacated the house, I found out that my husband had died. It was on August 20, 1945. I was trying to take the first food parcel to him, which was finally permitted since the great dying had already begun among the prisoners. Three small potatoes in two cups of hot water was all they got per day. I was just trying to pass the barricade when once again something was not in order with my papers. I gave the parcel to an acquaintance who was also going to Bory. In the afternoon she brought it back, and told me that my husband had died that morning. For two days I went from one office in Pilsen to the next. I ignored all the rules and prohibitions for the Germans. Without our armbands we went around, my daughter and I, took the streetcars even though it was forbidden on penalty of heavy fines, but I didn't care about any of it. We were sent from one office to the next, and I hoped to at least be able to recover the body of my poor husband, who had starved to death. But when we had finally come to the right place, the Czech official just said to me, in Czech: "You are Germans? No, do you think we were able to have the bodies of our dead transferred home from the German concentration camps?"
On the fourth day we left our homeland. An American helped us, so that we were able to take at least a few necessities with us.
Reported by: Franz Zitterbart Report of June 8, 1950 (Tuschkau)
After being discharged from the army I came home to the town of Tuschkau on May 5, 1945. I worked for the Czechs as a tailor and also pressed uniforms for the Americans. On July 19, 1945 the American Military Police sent me an order via the Czech mayor, one J. Reiser, to report to the town-hall. After a short interrogation I was sent in a truck to the PoW-camp at Hammelburg in Bavaria. The American guards at this camp were extremely friendly. When I was released on September 20, 1945, the Americans brought me to Tirschenreuth, near the Bavarian border. I was now a free man, but my family was still living in our house in Tuschkau. Following orders I reported to the American border officer at Altmugl, showing my American discharge papers. Together with 29 other comrades I crossed the Czech border and came to Promenhof (Proumov) on September 22, 1945. In front of the custom-house the Czechs took away our discharge papers and our money, from myself 186 Marks and 100 Kčs, giving us receipts for it. We had also to deliver up all blankets, underclothes, knives, watches, canned food and tobacco. Then - after we had waited for an hour - gendarmes and partisans arrived on bicycles and, led by the Czech platoon commander Šnaidr, we all marched to the town of Plan, while the people shouted at us, slapped and kicked us. In an old wooden barrack at the station, which was full of bugs, we then had to sleep on old palliasses, always two men to a bed, and without blankets. In this wretched camp we were exposed to slapping, whipping and kicking and were forced to sing Czech marching songs in addition to having to work extremely hard. Very often they searched the palliasses, sometimes even at night, looking for newspapers, letters and weapons.
On October 12, 1945 twenty of us had to dig up bodies in a forest near Raketendörflas. We stood at attention in front of a Czech judicial commission (gendarmes, railroad workers, partisans) for almost an hour, while the partisans struck us, insulted and slapped us. After that we marched into the forest, where the graves were. Mr. Bittner, a teacher, Mr. Kanzler, a mechanic, Mr. Ernst, a tailor, and I myself reached an isolated grave. We dug hurriedly. Then the half-decomposed body appeared. Now two Czech civilians began to strike us unmercifully with rubber-truncheons. I was already exhausted, when a Czech captain of the gendarmerie yelled: "What is your profession?" I answered: "Tailor, wounded in the war". The gendarme shouted: "Use your fingers then and dig him up neatly!" So I dug with my fingers in the dirt and the stinking ooze that had once been a human being. All of a sudden I received such blows on my head, neck, back and legs that I lost consciousness and rolled over beside the grave. Later on we were drawn up in a meadow and ordered at the double to tear up grass for the purpose of cleaning off the corpses. A Czech grave-digger took me along with him to the car, so that I was able to rest. This Czech was unable to bear watching our ill-treatment. At eight o'clock in the evening we marched back to the barracks of our camp; there some of us were slapped in the face by the Czech camp commander Ulma. On November 2, 1945, 150 men (including myself) were sent to the labour camp at Třemošna near Pilsen. To begin with there was also ill-treatment here of which several persons from Graslitz died. But later on the Czech commandant of the camp, K., prohibited the excesses. On February 2, 1946 we (150 men) returned in closed cattle-vans to the miserable camp at Plan. There, under the leadership of the drunken commandant of the camp, Šnaidr, the beatings and the stay in the camp-prison were a regular custom. I was lucky in that I was able to work as a kind of home-tailor in the apartments of higher Czech officials. These Czechs treated me very well. I also worked for three Czech Communists to whom I had to tell all the atrocities we had endured. Suddenly, in the beginning of May 1946, the brutal commandant Šnaidr was dismissed and the conditions in the internment camp at Plan became more bearable.
Only a few Germans were sent to the district prison of Eger. At last, on July 27, 1946, I was released, equipped with some necessities by the Czechs, and sent home by train.
The "Národní výbor" (Czech National Committee) and the Czech Communist mayor S. had been humane and considerate to my wife and my children. The American soldiers at Tuschkau (the 16th division, I assume) had also helped my family. On August 2nd we were transferred to Bavaria.
Czechs even gave us food for our transfer. All this I must honestly admit.
Report No. 349
conditions along the linguistic border
Reported by: Max Hilscher Report of December 12, 1945
I am the owner of the Udritsch estate near Lubenz and I was still on the estate when the Russians arrived. I then left temporarily in order to escape the Czech partisans, but returned to the estate on May 17th, 1945. I had been neither an active member of the NSDAP nor had I ever held any prominent position. I had therefore no reason to fear anything.
On June 6, 20 year old František Sedláček was appointed as manager (Národní správce) of the estate. He was certainly no expert, indeed, he had no idea whatsoever about the problems of an agricultural undertaking. This young man was accompanied by 40 men of the so-called "Svoboda Troop". These men searched the farm and found remnants of equipment of German units who, in the course of their retreat, had sought lodging there. The Czechs made me responsible for the existence of the remnants, undressed me and struck me with clubs, ropes and [bullwhips], without giving me the chance to speak in my defence. After this I was taken to the cellar of the Czech school at Luditz, which had been equipped as a jail. The conditions in this jail were very bad. Previous to my arrival one Melchner, a salesman, Frank, a shoemaker, and Mr. Victor Hutterer, all from Luditz and none of whom had been a party-activist, had all been shot without prior interrogation. Mr. Liehm, the former mayor, had been reduced to complete physical prostration. In spite of his age - he was 65 years old - he had been incessantly beaten ever since his arrival. Among those in the jail, there was also a certain Mrs. Maria Brehm, 74 years old, an aunt of the author and poet Bruno Brehm. She showed clear signs of mental disturbance and constantly asked for chicken-food for her poultry. One day she got away from the camp; every tenth man of us was to be shot in reprisal. But in the evening the old woman was brought back by a Czech soldier, bruised all over and with her clothing torn. I had to stay in this prison at forced labour for four months and was finally released in October, because I could not be convicted of any crime.
During the first days of May the Czechs from the neighbourhood broke into German villages and farms, possessed themselves of the goods and chattels without any official authorization. At Lubenz 18 Germans were shot without any reason being given, among them also one Mrs. v. Brechler, the widow of the former district governor of Marienbad.
The Czech managers and the new settlers were mostly unskilled and ruined the farms in a short time. There are cases known where these people sowed oats in autumn or plowed up clover. Czechs who took over industrial undertakings had no professional training and the industries broke down in a short time. Eight Czech managers, who had been imprisoned because of unfair management, sat together with me in the cellar at Luditz. A certain Prokopoc from Nebosedl, who, although a simple miner, had acted as manager of the estate there, had been already imprisoned for the second time.
Report No. 350
Reported by: M. Sch.
On August 6, 1945 Miloslav Kubitschek, a tailor from Prague, was assigned to our farm as harvest commissar. He sold the entire harvest. On November 11 he took over our farm as administrator. We had to work for him for an entire year, for no pay and only so-called German ration stamps. We got only 700 g [24½ oz.] meat for the entire year. We five persons had to do all the hard farm labor in the stable and on the fields, and we received only 1,100 Kr. compensation for the entire year. For the entire time until our resettlement [expulsion], we were severely maltreated several times each week. He repeatedly raped my daughter. 14 days before our expulsion he punched her, kicked her in the legs and stomach, and even stabbed her in the leg with a knife. She got pregnant from his repeated rapes. Reporting him to the gendarmerie was totally useless. He searched my married daughter's house five times and took anything and everything he liked. He often fired shots in the house, terrifying the entire family. Several doors have bullet holes.
I can take this statement on my oath at any time, and the entire town can verify
what I have said.