History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk > Military (and other) History

Nationalism destroyed all...

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Keunert:
Last week i had the opportunity to talk with a german/austrian born in 1938 in Böhmen, today part of the Czech Republic. Listening to him was really scary, he was the first survivor of ww2 i was able to talk in person.

He grew up in a more or less wealthy wine farmer family. his village was a hundred percent german but they had a long partnership with their czech neighbours. at the end of the war his 30y old mother took care of the farm and the three children. they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of their father.

late in the war they were hearing the front coming close. when the russians took over the village they were lucky that the big house was chosen as the quarter of a red army major. one night some soldiers tried to rape the mother. when the major noticed this he pulled out his gun and pointed it on the head of one of those soldiers. from then on they were save from harm.

at some nights the soviet major took the family on the balcony to show and explain them the artillery fire. during the day the villagers digged ditches in the village park. soldiers from both sides were thrown into those. the guy who told me all of this still remembers the destroyed bodies and at burned pilot that were buried there. when the war moved away the red army exhumed the bodies with with excavators for registration. again the boy was witnessing destroyed and burned bodies.

one night in 1946 an official informed them that all german had to leave the country. they had to pack up within 24 hours and assemble on the village square. 20kg per person was allowed for transport. his young mother had to organise packing and took care of three kids and a grandmother. they were brought to München via Prague. there they lived very poor for the first years. the place where they were brought too was less evolved than the village they were deported from. but as they had almost nothing to bring with them, they were looked as poor poeple. they did not have shoes but harsh winters. when confirmation came the priest organised his first pair of shoes in the west. nevertheless the guy told me that the integration of half a million refugees in a war torn Bayern was an incredible achievement.

after some years their father was released from prison in Belgrade. with some luck he was able to locate his family and to reunite. during the nineties the family recieved 15'000 mark for their big farm and land. the village now is almost ruined. the czechoslovaks forced gypsies to settle there. they did not have the knowledge to produce wine so this culture died there.

Germany and the czech republic still aren't able to discuss this topic. this guy does not want to go back, nor does he want the 'new' inhabitans to leave the place they were forced to live in. he told me that only time will solve this: when all witnesses and claims are gone. he feels for the palestinians that still remember the places they grew up.

listening to him, the way he discribed the pain of loss, the mass of killed soldiers made me a think about my hobby..

Greybriar:
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Keunert.

twitter3:
Yes, thank you for sharing.  It definitely brings up the saying that 'every action has a reaction.'  My mother's family (both parents) are from Poland and while I was born and raised in America, my grandmother tells me stories of how her grandparents went through much of the same during/after WWI.

LongBlade:
Thanks for sharing that, Keunert. Yes, our hobby has a dark history. But it's like going to see a movie - just because you see a vampire movie doesn't mean you want to be one (well, most of us anyway).

Learning the history is good. We stand a better chance of not repeating it.

Gusington:
I wouldn't mind being a vampire. My existence wouldn't change much.

But at least I exist. I thank my Great Grandparents for emigrating to the US. If they didn't, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that I would not exist at all. Not great odds.

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