On the 18th of October,
1944 the first Russian troops came into our village of Feketitsch.
During the stay of the Russian troops we had peace from the partisans.
The Russians told us that we should hide or bury our valuables because
the partisans would plunder us. On the 15th of November, 1944 the
partisans who took over the power were the rabble of the area.
First they went from house to house and took hunting clothes and suits
for the time being which they put on immediately.
On the 17th of November,
1944 in the evening 8 partisans came into my house with machine guns and
ordered me to come with them. Along the way they took the men out
of several homes and led us to the “Gutwein” Restaurant. As we
arrived there even the pharmacist Heinrich Kloss was interrogated by a
female partisan and several other partisans. The female partisan
ordered that pharmacist Kloss lay on the table. His jacket was
taken off beforehand. A partisan sat himself at the head of the
pharmacist, he had his hands under his face, two other partisans held
him at the feet, and a fourth beat him with the horse whip from the
ankles to the neck. Already at the first dreadful beating the
pharmacist cried out loud. I saw him after he received 45 such
blows. Then I was called to the interrogation and also had to take
off my jacket and lay on the table whereupon they started to beat me.
From the ankles to the neck and back down again. I was unconscious
and only by the beatings on the kidneys did I jerk awake again.
When it was over a fellow countryman told me I received 120 lashes.
After the lashes on my body one could see the swellings and bruises.
Each spot was completely black. There were 55 of us men who were
all beaten in this way, as well as three girls who were also beaten and
their abdomens were stepped on.
After we were all given a good
beating we were locked up in the community detention (in a room 9 square
meters for 58 people). We stood pressed close together so that we
and the walls sweated. Again and again the partisans came and
opened the door and struck us and walked on our heads. I stood by
the door there, a partisan struck me on the hands so that I could hardly
feel them for a long time. The girls who were with us had to wash
the blood off the next day in our room and also in front of the prison
where they gave a Hungarian a dreadful beating while we were locked up.
On the second night as the partisans mistreated us again, a Russian
officer came who saw this. It was a Mongol and he inquired why we
were locked up. The partisans said we were the Fifth Column and
had shot at the Russians. The Russian officer replied that that
was not true and we were locked up in the cinema for it.
At the time, as we were in
the community prison, we received nothing to eat or drink. If we
had to go to the bathroom, we had to wait until there were 10 people.
Then when we were first allowed out we had to line up in rank and file.
A partisan commanded and we had to do exercises. Not all of us
understood Serbian, so if we made a mistake we were again beaten.
Then if anyone was beaten, we were not allowed to go to the bathroom at
When we were still in the
prison the partisans dragged two old men into the prison. It was
81 year old Jakob Weissmann and 70 year old Jakob Hoffmann. They
were so beaten beforehand that they could no longer walk, so they had to
be dragged to the prison.
Next to the cinema there
was guestroom in which the partisans had their dining room. During
the whole day we had our rest. It was dark in the cinema hall and
in front of the entrance door a partisan sat constantly with a weapon.
Sometimes he let us out during the day to go to the bathroom. But
that always depended on the guard posts concerned. Sometimes they
did not let us out and that compelled us to do it in the hall in the
corner. We slept on the floor without straw or covers. We
received something to eat for the first time on the third day when our
relatives were allowed to bring us something. The partisans ate
each evening in their dining room next to the cinema and as they ate the
drinking binge started. Around 9 or 10 PM, as the harmonica player
started to play, we already knew it was our turn. Before they
dispersed they came in to see us. They always took pharmacist
Heinrich Kloss first. They did it in an especially sadistic way.
They said that he was the first to receive a beating yesterday and he is
a good man and was never to be blamed and stroked his face. At
once they began to curse him and punch him in the face, and then
thrashed him with the batons where they always struck him. Then
came our turn. We had to line up and then they beat us until we
were tired. Then they went home. Our lathe master Andreas
Riesz was mad from the many beatings and from a gun butt blow to the
On the fourth day the
partisans led us to the cinema. A passing Russian general stood
and asked what they held on to us. They partisans said they wanted
to shoot us. The Russian general said that was out of question,
they should put us to work somehow. As a result the partisans led
us to Topola to the district prison where we stayed overnight.
There were over 100 men from Feketitsch. The girls who were with
us were kept back in Feketitsch. In the Topola prison the
partisans stood at the door and as we entered they hit us with gun
butts. We had to sleep on the cement floors.
Through the whole night
the partisans opened the flap on the door and demanded watches, rings,
and money from us. Those who came to us in the cinema later still
had their watches etc. with them. The next morning we had to leave
the prison and there again stood the partisans at the door and struck
each of us. We were led into the artillery depot on Bajscha
Street. In this depot there were 179 of us men, which also brought
us together with Hungarians who came from Feketitsch. There were also
Sekitsch and Bajmoker Germans under them. In the depot we lay on
the cement floors for the first four days and then we received a straw
sack for every 8 men. We were in the depot for 10 days.
During this time we did not work, but we did do exercises.
The food consisted of
cooked cabbage broth. On the 10th day we had to break corn in the
snow at the Falcione Manor with 101 men. There we remained for a
month and then went back to the depot in Topola again. There we
Germans were divided into three groups. The first group was men up
to 45 years old who went to Kula on the 26th of December and from there
(80 men altogether) were transported to Russia. The second group
went to Mitrovica on the 29th of December 1944 and the third group of
about 100 men from Sekitsch and Feketitsch went in the woods to
Radonovac near Pallitsch. In the woods we had to dig up and fell
the acacia trees from the frozen earth to cup up for wood. It was
decided by the Russians that they were forbidden to hit us. At
this work Josef Paul died by accident. Peter Freitag broke an arm
and a foot and I broke two of my ribs and the shoulder blade we were
brought to the city hospital in Subotica and a Jewish doctor treated us.
He said that I actually had to be laid in plaster, but if a plaster cast
was put on I could not work for about 3 months, and we should and must
work, because we deserved nothing better. This accident happened
on the 20th of March 1945 and on the 31st of March everyone who worked
on felling trees came to the Mitrovica Camp.
I was in the hospital for
a month and after that I went to the camp in the starch factory in
Subotica. Here 16 and 17 year old partisans were also guards.
It was strictly forbidden for the men and women to speak to each other
and if someone was caught they were given a good beating. Each
morning we had to line up in the camp yard where those capable of
working went with the Russians each day to work. We had to cut up
wood for the Russians, do cleaning in the hospital and in their
quarters, as well as load the train locomotives.
We received breakfast and
dinner in the camp. For breakfast we received a water soup, which
one might better call warm water, and in the evening they alternated
peas, beans, potatoes – or cabbage soup. The vegetables pods were
so always so hard that we could not eat it. In the camp 3 tier
plank beds were put up on which we slept on the boards without straw and
without covers to cover up.
On the 5th of June 1945 I
came to the camp by Sekitsch from the Subotica Camp in a transport of
250 men and 250 women. In the transport there were only war
prisoners and those not capable of working. In the Sekitsch Camp I
found my family again, who were there since the 16th of January.
On that day when the partisans in Feketitsch led us to the cinema they
had also driven together all the remaining man and women from 16 to 60
years of age. They were apparently also supposed to be shot with
us, yet the Russian general intervened. The partisans said to the
general that the women and girls were also coming to the camp when he
asked, what’s going to happen to the children and old people. The
partisans said there was not so much room, so the general ordered that
the women should also stay at home with their children.
In Sekitsch we were put up
in homes that were completely cleared out. Even the oven and stove
were destroyed so we couldn’t heat or cook anything in addition.
In the camp there were some partisans whose task it was to observe where
it smoked and go immediately to the house and beat those concerned and
lock them in the cellar for a few days. The partisans then also
often went from house to house and searched for food, articles of
clothing and wash. If they found something anywhere the people
were also beaten and locked up just like those who had two shirts,
Those capable of work had
to work daily in the plant nurseries where about 200 people worked and
in the field. They also had to carry together the furniture and
home appliances to the empty standing homes, pick the corn and take it
away. The food was very weak, without fat or salt. The
breakfast consisted of water soup, noon alternating pea soup, potatoes,
moldy barley soup, and hard worm eaten beans. In the Sekitsch Camp
the death toll was small because we received food from the neighboring
Hungarian villages that was smuggled in. Besides that we had many
medicines here that the partisans knew nothing about. The
medicines came from Dr. Tauss who had this hiding place and I had found
Each day the announcement
was given by the camp commandant and the deputy how many camp inmates
had died. He said, too few have died, at least 30 to 50 people
must die daily. The deputy of the commandant was a Serb named
Desko from Sid who had been Kaufmann’s apprentice with Dietrich in
Feketitsch. Because too few died in the Sekitsch Camp, a higher
command moved it to Gakowa and Kruschewlje. The children went to
Kruschewlje and the old, sick and people not capable of working went to
Gakowa. Those capable of working were sold from the Sekitsch Camp.
I was sold to the “Orient” Wine Cellar for 1800 Dinar per month, my wife
for 1500 Dinar.
The deputy camp
commandant, called the “Red”, beat the camp inmates a lot. Adam
Leibesperger and Adam Schwebler both from Feketitsch had once crept from
the camp and went to Feketitsch begging. The deputy commandant
caught them nearby and led into the cellar of the commandant’s camp for
it where they were locked up and beaten daily so dreadfully that their
bawling was still heard. If they fainted they were brought to the
yard and cold water was poured on them. When they came to they
were put down on a concrete pillar lying in the garden with the head in
a certain square and were always beaten for it.
If they fainted again,
they again had cold water poured on them. If they were placed on
the cement pillar in the desired place, they had to be put back down on
the old place. We could not bear the cries of the victims and also
went far away from our homes.
One day a young attractive
woman from Syrmia was so beaten because she did not want to go in the
high corn with the deputy commandant. Once he also beat the cook
from Apatin so bad that he collapsed into unconsciousness. Ms.
Bender from Feketitsch was also beaten because they once found three
onions on her. He beat her with the knife , dripping with blood,
and her head full of wounds.
Once as we sat in the yard
a person from Apatin who worked in the kitchen peeling potatoes was shot
by a partisan. The commandant asked afterwards how it had happened
and the partisan answered that his weapon simply went off. The the
deputy commandant said, “Look you Swabians, we can shoot all of you so.”
On the 26th of August 1947
we fled from our workplaces fro