Report No. 351
Reported by: B. Zeisel, ex-locum tenens of Vollmau Report of March 6, 1946
In spite of the armistice and of the good neighbourly relations between Germans and Czechs, uniformed Czech bands, heavily armed, suddenly broke into the village. They murdered, looted and finally drove the peaceable, defenceless German population out of their homes, to face an unknown future. Most of those affected were old people, women and children, the young men being with the army or in captivity.
Their misery reached its climax when the American border control did not allow them to cross the border of Bavaria. They were unable to return to their home village nor were they allowed to cross the border. They lay down in the nearby meadows - robbed of all their personal possessions, without food, not knowing what was going to become of them. The children were famished, but the horror they had been through closed their mouths; they did not even ask for bread. An old woman actually died there on the meadow as a result of all she had endured. Others collapsed. Women, far advanced in pregnancy, had to be hurried to the hospital at Furth in view of the danger of premature births. The first victims were J. and A., a married couple, almost 70 years old. J. M. and his wife were shot before the eyes of their five young children. The children's grandmother also received a shot in the thigh. The children themselves reported the murder. F. K. was also shot. K. S., who in his first fright tried to defend himself with an axe, was slain with the very same tool. His wife found him lying with his head split open. A refugee from Heidelberg was shot while in bed.
An eyewitness told me of six refugees on their way from Böhm.-Kubitzen to Bavaria, whom the horde caught up with at Vollmau and massacred. He himself was only able to save his life by taking refuge in a barn. Dr. Sladký, a detective, later spoke of 47 persons who had been shot at Vollmau on this day. A later victim was St. W., a girl of 16 years, who was shot down by the Czechs. All victims, save the last, were buried on the spot.
After all the inhabitants of the village had been expelled, the lootings started. On the first day of the looting, cabinets, wardrobes and chests were broken open. Their contents were thrown on the floor and whatever the plunderers liked, was taken away. Later on the Czechs also took clothes, food, cattle, agricultural implements and furniture, in a word, everything which was of any value. This looting at Vollmau took place even before the Czech Government had decided on the expropriation of German property. The raids were carried out on May 13, 14 and 15, 1945. On May 25, by Edict of the President of the Republic, the draft of a bill of the Czechoslovak Government, dated May 19, 1945, concerning the transfer of private and public property, movable or immovable possessions of Germans, Hungarians and traitors to the National Administration, was announced.
Some days later the local Czech Representative of the Prague Government, one Čhák, said: "We still don't know who ordered the raids or for what reason."
Hundreds of inhabitants of Vollmau can swear to the truth of this report.
Report No. 352
Reported by: Franz Moherndl Report of November 2, 1946
For the last 7 months of the war I was deputy Mayor of Vorderheuraffel, District Kaplitz, and because of that, I was arrested on September 3, 1945 and detained in the internment camp Kaplitz for 14 months, on no grounds at all. An interrogation in October 1945 had shown that I was not guilty of anything. The camp was the scene of many a dreadful maltreatment. One Josef Schuster of Friedberg had a hand chopped off, and one Eduard Prischl of Deutsch-Reichenau had three of his ribs kicked in. Three times I saw Rudolf Wagner of Vorderheuraffel beaten so badly that he remained lying unconscious on the ground. I myself was also beaten so badly several times that I was swollen beyond recognition. These maltreatments were especially bad and frequent until Christmas, so that even the Russians intervened to put a stop to the inhumanities. The systematic maltreatment stopped after that, but did continue sporadically until my release in October of this year. The prisoners were totally at the mercy of the guards. The Germans had no right to complain, and no German had the opportunity to defend himself against any accusation that was made against him. When I was released from the internment camp I was transferred directly to the resettlement [expulsion] camp and was not permitted to set foot in my house again.
Report No. 353
Reported by: Josef Sonnberger Report of November 2, 1946
My son, 21 years old, was wounded 16 times during the war. One of his arms had been amputated, and he was classed as severely war-disabled. On July 19 of last year, at around 9:30 p.m., my son was shot near the residential area of Waldau, and bled to death within a few hours. Due to his injuries he had been unable to work, and so had been tending livestock. On the evening in question I had sent him to our neighbor, who lived some 500 steps distant from my house. The likely perpetrators are two Czech soldiers, who had been out hunting at that time and who also gave themselves away after the shooting by their excited behavior. Two shots had been fired, and the soldiers also admitted that they had fired two shots. But aside from taking a report, the gendarmerie did nothing; no investigation was even begun.
Report No. 354
Reported by: Emil Havlik Report of July 19, 1946
During the last year, Germans in Wallern and vicinity were maltreated by Czech public servants during interrogations on a daily basis. They were beaten with whips or rubber truncheons, and often they were kicked as well. Destructive house searches were carried out, during the course of which looting was a free-for-all. The Germans had no right to object, and besides, they were so intimidated by the intolerable treatment they received at the hands of the authorities that they would not have dared to register a complaint anyway. In most cases German laborers were not paid wages, or were paid only in part. Those who were put to forest work, loggers and the like, were generally paid only about 65% of the wages they were entitled to. No accounting or compensation payment ever came about.
In most cases, notice of imminent expulsion was given while the people were at their place of work, so that often the one or two hours that were granted for packing hardly sufficed for them to gather up even the barest necessities. Many people didn't even have enough time to buy the travel provisions that their ration coupons entitled them to.
I can bring witnesses to support my statements at any time.
Report No. 355
Reported by: Otto Müller Report of June 20, 1950
I was a soldier. In 1942 I was discharged from active service as totally blind. I have always been well known and respected in my native town. In November 1945 a group of armed SNB-men entered the office of the firm of Johann Liebisch & Co, Warnsdorf, where I worked. They fetched me away, but without giving any reason.
After keeping me waiting for hours in an office, they took down evidence. They insulted me and accused me of having in 1938 threatened a Czech citizen of Warnsdorf with a stick. This accusation was untrue and the incident entirely fictitious. Indeed, it was only during the war that I had used a stick at all, for a short time following an injury to my leg. This was known all over the town. When the officials had finished their hearing, they left me under the "protection" of the SNB-men, who treated me like a criminal. They vented their anger on me in the following ways: after they had emptied my pockets and also taken away my boot-laces, waistbelt etc., they pushed me onto a camp-bed. Then they covered me with a blanket and, yelling ferociously, they struck me with sticks and straps with such force that I rolled from the bed to the floor and lay there, unconscious. After some time I came to. I heard their brutal laughter and noticed that they had defiled me. Gathering all my strength I attempted to protect my face and to regain my feet.
All of a sudden with a friendly impulse one of the policemen offered me a cigarette. I replied that I did not smoke. After this I was offered a candy. I refused it. Thereupon I received a blow in the face which knocked me down again. After some time had passed two policemen took me between them. They took me to a flight of steps which led to the cellar of the house. It was the former Kunert Villa which I knew well. I was pushed downstairs, but I must have made a successful attempt to recover myself, for as though by a miracle I suffered no broken bones. I regained consciousness and found myself lying on the floor of the cellar. I stretched out my hands and felt the walls, but there was nowhere to sit down. Only two little cans which were supposed to be used in order to relieve nature. The cellar was not opened for three days and three nights. It was winter weather and I suffered terribly from cold and also from extreme hunger and thirst.
By the time the cellar-door was unbolted I was in a state of complete exhaustion. My clothing was restored to order and I received a dry roll, which I could not swallow in spite of my hunger. Although I made repeated attempts to do so, they grew impatient and brought me some overly sweet coffee. I was taken to the doctor, who assured me repeatedly that the Czechs are not sadists like the followers of Hitler and that in view of my condition I should be taken out of the cellar at once. My case, however, would be an exception.
Thereupon they took me back to the office of the SNB, in a villa which had belonged to the dentist Jungnickel. There, for the second time, they made an official record, which was quite meaningless. My hand trembled so much that I was unable to sign it. I could also, of course, not read what was written on the paper.
The cell of the district prison at Warnsdorf, in which I was put, was overcrowded. I was together with Czechs who were nothing but common criminals. There was also a German in the cell. During the time I spent in the district jail I had several collapses as a consequence of my treatment at the hands of the SNB. Naturally the only witnesses were my Czech tormentors themselves. The physician at Warnsdorf, Dr. Laupelt, examined me after my release in the middle of January. Although I tried to conceal them, the doctor noticed the marks on my body even after such a long time. I explained to him that those marks were scars, caused by scratching as there had been vermin in my cell.
When I was released - temporarily, as they said - in the middle of January 1946, the jailer insisted on hearing from my own mouth that I had been treated with consideration. I shall never forget the screams of those being flogged in the jail. Doctor Weber of our neighbourhood was also among the victims.
Reported by: Adam Ehrenhard Report of June 24, 1946 (Warnsdorf and Nachod)
I was released from American captivity on June 12, 1945 and, equipped with an American border-crossing permit, I went to Czechoslovakia to find my family. When I crossed the border the Czech border guards took from me all the food and provisions I had been given on my release, as well as my discharge money, blankets and my coat. In Warnsdorf I was arrested, my discharge papers notwithstanding, and committed to the prisoner-of-war camp, where I was detained from July 24, 1945 until May 28, 1946. Approximately 2,000 German prisoners-of-war, most of them citizens of the Reich, were imprisoned in this camp even though they had been released earlier from American or Russian captivity. They lived under the worst imaginable conditions, were all malnourished, and are being forced to do unpaid labor in the mines.
Approximately 200 members of the SS were taken to the brewery house in Nachod and handed over to the civilian population to be maltreated. I myself was an eyewitness to the brutal murder of all 200 of them by the civilians. Czech women particularly distinguished themselves in this butchery - for example Mrs. Zinke, of Nachod, Komenského 233, who repeatedly bragged that she would kill even more if only she could. I know many other Czech women personally, though I cannot name their names here. The SS men were stabbed by the women with knives and daggers, and bludgeoned with truncheons and rifle butts. Bodies that still showed signs of life were doused with gasoline and set on fire. I myself had to help load the corpses onto trucks and to bury them in three mass graves on the Nachod Castle grounds.
The prisoners-of-war were beaten daily. Several suffered broken jaws, or were stabbed. Some also had an eye punched out. On May 8, 1946, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the market square of Nachod - decorated with Allied flags - was the site of gross maltreatment of the Germans by the civilian inhabitants. The Germans were individually driven about 500 meters through an echelon of Czech civilians, and men, women and children alike were beaten with sticks and canes. When they fell they were kicked while they were down. With loudspeakers the German victims were called up by name to be thus maltreated. The Czech police was there to witness this spectacle. One man, aged 54, suffered a broken jaw, a broken ankle, and was blinded on one eye.
Report No. 357
Reported by: Josefine Titz Report of October 9, 1946
In March of 1946 Czech gendarmes searched my home. In the course of this house search they boxed me, a 69-year-old woman, about the head so badly that I fell down unconscious. One of the gendarmes then kicked me until I came to again and got up. Since then I have lost all hearing on my left ear.
camps Jauernig, Adelsdorf, deaths
Reported by: Dr. Adolf Schreiber Report of October 9, 1946 (Weidenau)
In my capacity as parish priest of Weidenau I was personally not molested by the Czechs, but my pastoral activities were restricted. All religious instruction for Germans was forbidden, also instruction in religious knowledge for children as well as the so-called hours for spiritual counsel. Czech priests were not active at Weidenau before the beginning of September 1946. Divine services for Germans were allowed, including sermon, but not processions. German funerals were permitted at Weidenau, but at other places forbidden, as well as divine services and sermons. At Schwarzwasser, for example, German sermons, funerals and the delivery of funeral orations etc. were prohibited. There was no internment camp at Weidenau itself, but parishioners of Weidenau were interned in the camps of Jauernig and Adelsdorf, where four of them died. The pastorate received notice of their death only 4-5 months later, without details of place and causes of death or the location of their graves. Numerous juveniles were conscripted for labour in the mines of Ostrau, whence deaths from typhoid fever have been reported. These youths truly underwent great suffering.
Report No. 359
[actually: Vietseifen], maltreatment
Reported by: Hans Tautz Report of August 15, 1946
On June 19,
1945 I was arrested, and was taken to the Weidsiefen [Vietseifen] concentration camp on June
24 along with 48 other men. In this camp I witnessed many cases of severe
maltreatment, which recurred on a daily basis. On July 8 Kuchartsch from
Zuckmantel was severely maltreated and then shipped to Moravian Ostrau for
forced labor; on July 9 the lumber merchant Raschke from Thomasdorf was so
badly abused that he hanged himself during the night. On August 3, Böhm,
the community farmers' leader from Oberlindewiese, was found dead on his
pallet after he had been beaten unconscious the evening before. On July 26, Vater
from Hermannstadt escaped from his place of work after having been badly
maltreated two days before. As reprisal for his escape, the other 10 laborers from
his work unit were so badly abused that some of them had to be admitted to the
hospital. On July 29, 1945 18 prisoners were brought from their place of work
into the camp and horribly beaten before being transferred to the resettlement
[expulsion] camp. On August 14 Dr. Pavlowski succumbed to severe injuries
which he had sustained from maltreatment. On August 15 it was alleged that the
camp had been raided at night, and six
comrades - Dr. Franke, Seifert, Klimesch, Hanke, Buchmann and
Reinhold - were shot. That same day the Weidsiefen camp was closed down and
the inmates transferred to Adelsdorf, where the maltreatment continued. On
August 16 Schiebel from Niklasdorf was so badly maltreated that he died during
the following night. On August 17 the lumber merchant Schubert received a blow
to the face, fell down unconscious and died half an hour later. The same day
the 15-year-old lad Knoblich from Würbenthal was severely abused. The
next morning he was dead. I myself saw two bullet holes in his throat. On August
21 the gendarmerie took over the camp. After that, maltreatment became the
exception rather than the norm. Our rations also improved, and there was medical
care for the prisoners.