Katy (Katch) My Life, the Flight 1944-45
Written by my Aunt Kathe Fichtinger,
who now lives in Bavaria.
Translated by Kathe and her son Rudi | Submitted by
Fichtinger, was born as Katharina Schmidt on
October 25th, 1933 in Katy, Yugoslavia. Katy is
situated way down in the Batschka, 8 km from
Neusatz (today Novisad) in Serbia. Our district
town was Titel (pronounced Teetle).
and grandparents were entirely of German
descent. My mother, Katharina, born Beron,
was born on October 5th, 1905 in Katy. She
died on July 31st, 1941 in Katy. My
father, Peter Schmidt, born on January 6th, 1908
in Vrpolje - Slavonia. (Slavonia is a
federal state of Yugoslavia). His parents,
Georg Schmidt and Katharina, born Wagner.
His mother died in 1897 in Vrpolje and was
At the age
of 12, my father came to Katy in 1920 together
with his father and sister Maria (born on
09/16/1911). He learned shoemaker and
later hairdresser because of his health.
My parents married in May 1926 in Katy. My
brother Johann was born on March 28th, 1927.
had a brother, Johann Beron, and a sister,
Barbara Beron. My grandfather Schmidt had
bought a house in Katy and opened a small
farmer's restaurant. I faintly remember
the horses, cows and pigs.
marriage, my mother helped as much as she could.
But quite soon, she fell sick and in July
1941, she died of heart failure, at an age of
hardly 36 years. She was sick all the time
I can remember. Sometimes she was able to get up
and do a little housework. Very often she
had to stay in bed. After her death (my
grandfather already died the year before), we,
my brother of 13 years, and I at an age of 8
years, lived a couple of months alone with my
father. But the heavy unemployment which reigned
all of Europe then forced my father to leave to
foreign countries together with my brother and
with some workmates. In December 1941, they went
to Austria. As part of a construction team of a
contractor called "Backwart and Haller,"
they came from Novisad to Wiener-Neustadt. They
worked as bricklayers (masons) at the airplane
I was given
for care to our neighbors, a family named
Müller, who had four children of their own.
Three of them were older than I and one was
younger. This was a very hard time for me,
only to become harder still.
of 1942, my father returned. His sister Maria,
living in Zagreb then, claimed her share of
their parent's house, their heritage. My father
rented a small flat for us, and the house was
sold by auctioned including all of the
inventory. Firstly, the furniture was sold (my
sitting in a lilac hedge, listening and
watching. With every piece they carried out, a
piece of my heart went, and I cried bitterly.
That one closet, for example, at the inner face
of its door our Lebzelter pictures stuck. It was
an awful cruelty, for a child at the age of
eight, having to watch foreign people take away
her the dear belongings of her beloved mother.
was sold to an Hungarian. The first time, I came
by each day and played with his sons. The sales arrangement with the notary didn't
proceed so quickly as these days. It took a few
months to complete.
father had finished all of the tasks he wanted
to go with me to my brother. But that was not
possible, as the borders were closed, because
the war hat begun. So my brother of age
fourteen was alone among compatriots in Wiener-Neustadt
and my father and I were in Katy.
was again looking for work. There were only
occasional jobs and farm work. So that I hadn't
to be alone all day, I was sent to friends
again, changing my foster parents every few
weeks. I don't know why, it surely was not
my guilt. I was a quiet child who did
everything it was ordered to do.
house, of my father's acquaintance, I was only
allowed to walk in the garden, after school and
homework, exactly just along the paths. I did
it, and I didn't even go on the street, not to
In the fall
of 1942, my aunt, sister of my father, insisted
that this roaming had come to an end, and I was
put in an orphanage. A neighbor woman,
before mentioned Mrs. Müller, took me to the
orphanage at Torschau.
Let me say
that we children there, around 50 boys and girls
between 6 and 14 years old, were well fed and
keep tidy. We got lessons and had learn a
whole lot. Everything was kept very strict.
Beside our homework and lesser tasks in the
house, the vicar came twice a week for a merry
evening. Just for us children the evening
was not truly merry. We were always examined. In
addition to our regular tasks, the vicar just
ordered us even more to learn. Songs and psalms
with many verses were on regular schedule.
He surely must have thought thought that orphans
had to learn especially much.
I was nine
years old then and always got sick for fear when
I knew the vicar was to come. They did not
struck or scold, just mildly rebuked us, but in
front of all the children, the senior nurse and
summer 1943, my foster mother, a Barbara Renner,
took me back from the orphanage. She had joined
my father and lived with him in a small house.
She thought that I would belong home and not at
an orphanage. At that time, I was barely
ten years old, and she was 18. I never forgot
her taking me home, even in spite of all that
was to happen later on, until she died in 1997.
She was very young and so by time she gave me
blows for love.
months later, my father had to go to the German
Military. He was forced to join the
Weapon-SS (armed SS?) as all men of German
origin in the Balkans. At first, my father
did write letters home, and I also received mail
from my brother sometimes. In his last one
there was a photograph, he was 16 years old
then. My father came to the Military in
the end of 1943, came home again for three days
in early 1944 and disappeared thereafter.
After that - nothing.
restless time fell our first confrontation with
the Jew - baiting. There were Jewish
people in our village too, but they were just as
naturally there as everyone else. One day,
we children were playing when we saw approach a
procession of people. (As the land was
completely plane, people could already be seen
from far away).
came closer, we could see that they were men
guarded and driven by Hungarian soldiers.
On the front there were two men on horses.
Behind them went the men, most of them barefoot,
on each side guarded by armed soldiers with
bayonet on their guns. The people only
staggered along, pushed on by cries and gun butt
hits. They were Jews who could barely
still walk of hunger and tiredness.
It had been
raining a few days, so the road was muddy.
The people cried "hunger" when they saw us and
had to endure more strikes. The women
swiftly fetched some bread and broke it in
pieces. When the soldiers didn't watch, they
gave the men of the bread.
piece fell to the ground but they picked it all
up and put in in their mouths. And again
they were hit by the soldiers. We children
couldn't understand anything. We had heard a lot
about persecutions of Jews. But we
couldn't imagine what this might mean.
thereafter, the situation for us Germans became
unsecured. Many young Serbians, sons of
our neighbors, joined the partisans.
Tito was the great rebel leader and gathered
people around him for fighting against Hitler.
More and more often, people voiced express
menaces against us neighboring Germans.
1944, the Hungarian Military had taken hold of
Serbia, so we still had some protection.
But they had to retreat a few months later.
The war went on and on. Tito and the
Partisans became more aggressive. There
were attacks against Germans every now and then.
After dark it wasn't possible to go anywhere for
fear of the assaults.
was October 4th, 1944, when all Germans were
ordered to congregate in the place of the town
hall at 9 o'clock. Together with their
children and as much of their belongings as each
one could carry. Everything else had to be
left. This was a restless night, what was
to be carried along? What to leave back? It was
the most severe for the young women, because
they weren't able to take much with them as they
often had to carry their little children.
All the men, even above the age of 50, were at
war. The crowd gathered together here was
assembled of elderly people, young women and
On 5th of
October, a German Military truck was to take us
from Katy. But the morning passed, even
half of the afternoon, and we still stood there
waiting. In the afternoon between 3 and 4
o'clock, order was given (these days everything
was done on order) that there were no trucks
available this day and the next days too. So we
should return the next day, the 6th of October.
back home, on the way thinking about what else
to prepare to take along. My foster
mother's brother and parents wanted to slaughter
a pig in the night, cook some large pieces and
take those with them. We also had grown a
pig during the winter, but who was to slaughter
it? Impossible feat! A neighbor woman told
us about an Hungarian who had slaughtered the
day, we might ask him whether he would leave us
the meat in exchange for our pig.
mother went over and asked. The family agreed,
setting the stage for a little very private
tragedy for the two of us. We had to take
the animal (weighing about 160 pounds) over to
their house. But how? Well, how could we
two, a child of 11 years and a young woman of
age 19, accomplish that feat. There were no
street lanterns, darkness had fallen already. I
went in front, carrying a petrol lamp, alluring,
and Barbara behind the pig pushing and talking
to it, and both we were weeping.
imagine that we both were rather young yet and
we had bought the pig as a piglet. From
the beginning we had competed feeding it and
constantly watched whether it had already grown.
We had tugged home sacks full of grass, oats and
maize for our piggy. And now we were not only to leave our
little piggy, but even give it away. We
were both very sad. But we really did arrive and
delivered our pig.
Hungarian's wife had sliced and fried the meat.
Barbara went there another time, carrying a
large earthen pot into which they laid the meat
slices in layers and poured liquid lard over
them. The lard got stiff over night and we could
carry the pot along. So we had a side-dish
to our bread for a long time.
next day came. Those owning horses and carriage
could pack the cart full with their property and
food. Those who had no horses were
provided with cart, horses and coachman by the
Military. They were confiscated from the
Serbians, they called it "requiriert" then.
The coachmen were to take us to Hungary and then
return horses and carts. This was going to work
out differently, too.
On 6th of
October, the hard day came. They
distributed us among the carts, two or three
families per cart and off we went.
We drove in a line of about thirty carts, one
behind another, packed full with beds, furniture
and children. Many a tear flowed among the
grown ups, because they had to leave back all
they had worked for many years (even decades)
long, houses, furniture, acres, vineyards.
reached the village center, agitation arose
because there was rumor that partisans would
plan an attack. Some of the men went in front
and some behind us. But this wasn't a lot of
protection for the whole convoy, too. It
began close to the end of the village, there
were shots and the military came to help.
Someone shot from within a hut, the soldiers
fired back, and the hut exploded fiercely. The
hut had been not a hiding place for partisans,
but an ammunition storage. We drove as
fast as possible to get away.
the farewell of our home village. Our
evangelist priest his wife and some elderly
people, among them a grand uncle of mine,
remained. The evangelist priest Franz
Klein and wife Theresia from Katy and a few
other elderly people were sent to Jareg to a
camp. There many of them died terribly from
at first was left to starve, drink vinegar and
in the end he was crucified. The other
elderly people left were hung on the trees. My
grand uncle was among those, too. He had
not joined our flight, he wasn't able to leave
his bees alone. Our flight had begun and
was to continue for one and a half years with
only short breaks.
through many villages, in the beginning alone,
but later on other convoys kept joining ours.
Ever more Germans had to flee. There were
races because those who arrived at the villages
first in the evening could sleep in the houses.
The others had to sleep in barns, stables or in
the meadows. We slept very often in
stables and barns these times.
Balaton (Plattensee) in Hungary, we slept in a
meadow. One feather-bed below and one
above, so we slept. In the morning,
everything was frosty white. Even hair and
eyebrows, which looked funny, but we had to pass
in Vesprem, our flight was paused. We were
divided up and sent to several villages.
My foster mother Barbara and I came to a farmer
in Ajkarendeck. We were lucky, they were
just about butchering. Barbara helped a
lot in the house and on the farm and so we had
enough to eat. We were to stay in Hungary
for about three weeks and then go back home.
military was to repel the Partisans. But
it came the other way, the Partisans were
stronger and repelled us. In the beginning
of November 1944, order was given that we had to
continue on to Austria. The horses and the
carts had to remain, the drivers, mostly knights
farmers, sometimes even the owners themselves,
had to let of their horses go. There were
dreadful scenes. Our cart and horses
belonged to a farmer who was a friend of my
father. He embraced his horses' heads and
cried fiercely, and I with him. Then he had to
return. With carts and horses we went on to St.
all things had been easier to endure. People
gave us food. On the acres, there were
leftover fruit and potatoes. We could get
maize and food for the horses. But when we
drove though Austria, there was quite some bad
talk. In St. Pölten the military reclaimed
carts and horses and we had to board railway
wagons. Quite often we had to change trains,
just as the trains were needed for some other
purpose. Quite often, we rode in cattle wagons.
this is hard to imagine. One such big car
for three or four families. Simply a bunch
of straw in a corner to sleep on, just like
plain livestock. Once each day we got a
warm meal. In the bigger villages or some
town, Red Cross women came to the station. They
carried large pots and everyone was allowed to
go and get a portion to eat. Mostly thick
soups, or vegetables and a piece of bread. Young
women with little children got fresh milk as
well. That way, we arrived at Checia (Tschechei),
the village was named Datschitz. We stayed
only a couple of days there.
meantime, it had become winter and we were very
cold in those open wagons. On our ride,
just a couple of hours after passing the
Austrian border, we arrived at Budweis (Budejovice).
There, our cars were shunted unto a parking
track once more. Usually it took a couple
of days till we continued.
about at the station all day to see whether one
might be able to buy something someplace or
whether one might meet some acquaintance by
chance. Suddenly, there was rumor that the
station was to be shut, as in the evening, a
transport of wounded soldiers would arrive.
very excited and pushed through in spite of the
barrier. We did want to see the wounded.
We children got order to exactly watch each
face, as it might be there was a relative or
acquaintance among them.
coming to its end, and everything went astray.
None of the women still knew where her husband,
father, brother or son was, whether they were
still alive or not. Dawn fell and there was not
much light. In Budweis, the tracks lay above the
station. The wounded had to go down a stair,
pass through below and up another stair to leave
the station. Then, the transport arrived,
and along the wounded men.
terribly shaking. About two hours a long
porters carried with a hand-barrow stretchers
upstairs, one after another, mostly very heavily
wounded, often lesser cases too. Some went
themselves supported by comrades, others used
Down in the
station, where it was dark, they sometimes had
to put down the stretchers, then the porters who
followed simply went over them. They step
upon the wounded. Shouts, curses, the
cries of the women and children, one big chaos.
These are some of those hours that I will never
forget my life long. But we kept up until
the end. Have looked at all and each one as
thoroughly as possible. We even discovered
two or three we knew, this elicited big emotion
next day, we suddenly met a brother in law of my
foster mother in the station. There was a lot to
tell and ask, as each one hadn't heard anything
about the other for months. A few days
later, our transport went on. Then we arrived in
Schlesien, I exactly remember the address:
Börwalde, Kreis Frankenstein above Münsterberg.
Börwalde was a little village, surrounded by a
number of big farms, nearly estates already.
beginning, we were put in a camp once more,
which was a large school room. Later we were
distributed to the big estates and large farms.
We became quarter on one of the large estates.
Despite that all, this was a nice time. A small
break of relief. We got sufficient food to
live. We stayed in Börwalde during the winter.
These times, in the areas of warfare, they built
barriers against the tanks. They consisted of
thick tree trunks, about two or three meters
across and just as high an long. Whether these
barriers really could stop a tank I don't know.
there were a number of such barriers. There I
had a strange experience. One day, I was
going home across the village, it was nearly
dark already, when a soldier addressed me.
He wore the uniform of a higher ranking officer,
he asked me for the streets. To which side was
Frankenstein, whether there were still soldiers
in the village and how many tank barriers there
were in Börwalde.
I gave him
the information as good as I was able to and
then I went home. There retold the Opa (the
father of my foster mother) my adventure.
We were together with the family of my foster
mother throughout the whole time of the flight.
immediately went downstairs to the estate's
senior. The young lord was at the front in
Breslau. The senior was some high ranking
military also, but I cannot remember what.
They both came to me and interrogated me very
thoroughly. As I learned later there was no
military around the village and the man was a
spy. And only then I was frightened.
When we were there in Börwalde, there were big
fights in Breslau. In the evening, one saw
the fire flashing and one also heard the thunder
of the cannons.
A couple of
weeks later, we also had to leave from here
again. The Germans of this region had to flee as
well, as this was Polish territory.
later, during the time I lived with my father in
Austria, and even in later time, when we met
again, we still talked about our native home and
about the war, over and again. There, my
father told me sometimes about an adventure he
had at Hirschberg, in the Riesengebirge
("Giant's mountain"). He was wounded,
living with people privately and had to go to
the hospital daily to have his bandage renewed.
One day he
was on his way to the hospital again. Then
a woman came toward him. He became attentive,
because he realized already from far away that
the woman was heavily weeping. She kept
both her hands in front of her face and didn't
see and hear anything and bumped into my father.
Only then she took her hands from her face and
both their amazement was great. My father
called out: Lieschen, is that you? And the
woman said: Peter, is that you? They were
good friends from a village in Yugoslawia.
And this happened far abroad in Hirschberg.
was named Elisabeth Köhl, she came from our
village and was on her flight by train. A few
other people from our village also rode on that
train. Just we were not there, we rode in
another train. The meeting happened like this.
Most of the children in that train had become
sick of diphteria.
Hirschberg the train was shunted aside and the
children got vaccinated. All the children stayed
well, only one of them was already very sick and
had to be put into the hospital. This was
the little 1 year old Helga Köhl. Mrs. Köhl went
with her child and stayed there until the child
was taken care of, then she had to leave.
told to return the next day. When she returned
the next day to the hospital, the physician told
her that her little had died. The disease
had progressed to far already. She was not
allowed to take the child with her because of
the danger of contagion. So she went away,
a mother whose child had died, who wasn't
allowed to see the child again and not even take
it with her and bury it. And just in
this hardest hour of her life, far away from
home, she ran into a friend from home, a
questioning about the where from and where to my
father went to the station with Mrs. Köhl.
There he greeted all his friends and stayed with
them until the train parted. My father
gave promise to Mrs. Köhl immediately that he
would take care that little Helga Köhl would get
a Christian funeral. That promise he did
He got help
from a nurse of the Hirschberg hospital. The
child was laid into a coffin in together with a
deceased young woman and buried in a Christian
manner. Many years later in 1988, I was at a
compatriot meeting in Oftersheim, near Mannheim,
for the first time. I went to Heidelberg
together with my aunt and her sister.
There Mr. Koch, a cousin of my mother, had come
to meet us.
noon, we all went together to the Kurpfalz hall
and were welcomed by the leading members of the
meeting. One treated each other
familiarly, introduced oneself with the maiden
name, the name of one's home. I knew
hardly anyone any more and had to search deeply
in my memory who might be who. Amidst the
hall, an elderly woman approached us.
both my aunts, they knew each other well. Then
suddenly she turned around to me and asked: And
who are you? I told her I was Schmidt
Käthe from Katy. She opened her eyes
widely and asked: Schmidt Peter his daughter?
And when I confirmed, she took me in her arms
and started to cry. She kept asking over again:
Where is your father, does he still live?
I told her my father had died in January 1970,
and learned about that whole story from
Hirschberg once more. This time from the other
side, as it was Elisabeth Köhl who I talked
with. I was able to soothe Mrs. Köhl, I retold
all that my father had told me about the funeral
of her child. Every two years when we met again
in Oftersheim, she talked about how glad she was
then in her deep pain to meet my father, a
friend from home. Her son assured me about
10 years later that she had kept talking about
Schmidt Peter and the coincidental meeting back
then until her demise.
A few weeks
later, after quite some detours, we arrived at
Oberösterreich (Upper Austria). When we
arrived at Linz, we were once more shifted unto
a side track where we were to wait. We explored
the surroundings of the station and even went
some stretch into town. A couple of days later,
we had again gone to town for a walk, when
suddenly the sirens started howling.
what that meant, air-raid alarm! We heard the
planes approach, but they were still quite high.
We followed the people and arrived at a large
air-raid shelter, it was way down and very
strong. We stayed there some time, when a siren
howled again. The sirens gave signal when
danger began and when the danger was over, that
much we already knew. But this time, it was the
all-clear signal and that we didn't know.
continued on again and we did the same. We
wanted to return to the station. Then, quite of
a sudden, the sirens, and we already heard the
planes. It was terrible, and we stood
there and didn't know where to go. We
didn't find the way back to the air-raid shelter
and simply kept running ahead. When there
was another explosion, we ran into buildings,
then on in a park, behind a think tree.
But ever more planes arrived, ever more bombs
fell down. It was horrible. We knew we had to
find some shelter, but where?
meantime, two young soldiers had joined us who
kept driving us on and took care that we stayed
all together. In the end, we sought
shelter within an old bomb crater. This is
a large hole where formerly a bomb had struck.
The hole was so large that a family residence
would have fit into it. We slid down the
rim and stood within yellow loam. In this hole
we were to keep on about two and a half hours.
It was the most heavy bomb attack upon Linz. But
it also was the most terrible experience we ever
laying inside beneath the plain sky and saw the
airplanes and the bombs falling down. My foster
mother's father kept telling us where to go,
always towards the bombs. At that side we
all pressed down flat to the ground. And
this was continuing fast, the bombs fell
constantly, sometimes several at once. We didn't
even have time to be frightened.
always says, down, this one won't get us, it's
too far to the right, or left. He kept to
encourage us and drove us on. When it became
quieter after a long time, when no bombs fell
any longer, no planes kept coming, we
laboriously crept out of our hole. Before,
Linz still was a town, already damaged, but
still quite nice.
were only smoking ruins left and we stood in the
middle and didn't know where to go. With
much trouble and asking, we found our way to the
station through this great chaos. But what had
it become. Linz was a big city even then, with a
big railway station, but now everything lay in
debris and ashes, and there were many fires
still. The rails lay crisscross about. Our
wagons lay upside down and far away from there
long search and climbing about upon this mess we
were able to find our waggon, it was lying on
its side. We children were heaved up and
had to remove the splinters of the broken
windows so we were able to crawl within.
All the luggage was mixed up in a mess. With
much effort, we removed a few pieces away from
the windows. Only then the grown-ups could climb
into the car. We carried our luggage out and
redistributed it, so we didn't loose our few
last belongings, after all.
there arrived trucks with military, they picked
us up, along with our luggage and carried us to
the country. There, we got quarter at some
people. Those people got quarter and still
they left without grumble some of the little
space they had to others. There we stayed
for about three weeks, until the worst mess was
cleaned up and a few tracks could be used again.
Then we were taken up again, and another
transport was put together.
went on. But we didn't get far, though,
till Kirchdorf only, this was but after a couple
of hours, then there came low flying air planes.
The people of Linz had already told us that
something such would ensue. In front of
Kirchdorf, there is a tunnel, and where the
train reappeares from the tunnel again, one can
already see the station.
planes dived down like insects and their machine
guns spit fire. By the time we had reached
the station, the first planes had passed
already. We could disembark from the train
only in small groups. Every time when they
rose up high to turn around for return, some
people were able again to leave the train and
run into the station building. That way, it took
more than one hour until we all had arrived in
the station building. And there were dead and
many injured again.
station basement all of us met again afterwards,
even the lightly injured ones. We got hot tea
and something to eat from the Bahnhofs-mission
(a Red Cross division). A few hours later the
ride went on. That way, we came to
Pießling, a little village near Windischgarsten.
There, we were assigned earth huts by the
military. These huts had been dug by the
soldiers, simply about one and a half meter down
into the soil, a couple of stairs going down and
a pointed roof on top. The roof, though, was not
tight, when it was raining, all available
buckets and large dishes had to be set below the
huts, right and left behind there were wooden
couches. Upon them lay some straw, and
there each family could find their comfort, very
close together. The front room served as a
lounge. In the center a table and a bank at the
right and left. All fixed in the ground,
one couldn't move anything.
six such huts and lots of people. We fetched the
water from a spring running down the mountain.
The toilets were also made from wood, just a few
for all the huts. There we lived then.
This was about February or March of 1945.
We received food tickets from the community and
we had to get around with them. What we
could get for them was so little that it really
didn't suffice for life. We went to the
farmers for "hamstering", as they called it
these days. [This means, we tried to get as much
food as we could and kept it privately as good
as possible.] Some potatoes, some flour, that
made us already happy. Sometimes nothing
at all, too. They scolded or even chased us away
with dogs. The most often used words were: Go to
Hitler. But it wasn't our fault that we
had arrived here.
mother cooked spinach from stinging nettle.
There was a saw mill at Pießling, owned by one
Mr. Pießlinger. Thus the name of the place.
They also had a farm attached, there we could
get some milk sometimes, though only without
cream. The cream was sold separately.
mother once did show me where in Windischgarsten
there was the horse butcher. Sometimes, I
had to get up very early in the morning and go
to Windischgarsten (about 12 km). Then I
had to line up at the horse butcher. Then I
could, after around two or three hours waiting,
buy a couple of kilograms of horse meat.
Barbara did cut the meat into thin slices,
salted and fried it, often without fat,
thoroughly on both sides. Then one could eat the
meat, otherwise it was not so good, because
horse meat tastes slightly sweet.
these times we were always hungry and then we
ate everything possible. Very often we gathered
berries and mushrooms in the woods. But as
we didn't know the mushrooms we mixed them all
up. Just to avoid eating poisonous ones we
had them checked by a knowledgeable person.
Some of them were so disgusting that we weren't
able to eat them in spite of being hungry.
time, my father was wounded and lay in a
hospital (Lazaret) in Hirschberg in the
Riesengebirge, and we lived in Borwalde, Kreis
(district of) Frankenstein, quite close, and we
didn't know. When he was better up (he
still had his arm in a sling), he had to rejoin
his troops. On his way he made a detour without
permit to Wiener-Neustadt. There he met my
brother. At this time, my brother still
lived there. My brother wanted to hide my
father, because it was already known that the
end of the war was near. But my father
refused to desert still now near the end.
He thought this would not pay for the short time
left. If he had been caught they had shot him
immediately. And so he went away. This was
the last time he saw my brother.
my brother was missing and never turned up again
despite a years lasting search by the Red Cross
and also officially, because of an inheritance.
came the 8th of May, 1945. We still lived in
those earth huts. Then all of a sudden
unrest arose among the people. They talked a
lot. People stood together on the main road of
the village. Then, there came cars. Many
strange cars, and then the message, silently at
first, but with increasing volume: "The war is
over!." We shouted, danced and cried
on the road.
strangers driving through the village in convoys
were Americans. They did occupy Upper
Austria at that time. We children looked and
were astonished. Out of the cars, they threw
chocolate and chewing gum, which latter we
didn't even know and swallowed down at first.
cars, there sat foreign people, partly blacks,
and we never had seen such a thing before.
There was exultations. At long last, no war any
more. But what to do now? Life went on, no
work, no food, no place to live. By chance
we got to know a farmer's wife, who had her farm
on the Dammberg, at an altitude of about 1300 m.
Somewhat above the farm, there was a little
house and a barn beside. But what was the most
important, there was a cellar wherein they put
the potatoes in fall, heavenly. The farmer's
wife left us the house together with the barn,
and in turn Liesl, a 16 years old sister of my
foster mother, had to work on the farm as a
arranged ourselves as good as possible. Every
family got one room. Barbara and I had a bed in
the kitchen. In the large room, there
resided the parents and two younger sisters of
Barbara. In the barn lived her brother with his
wife and an alien family with two children.
Barbara's brother was an epileptic and thus not
place, we lived from summer 1945 until spring of
1946. In the meantime, we had got notice by
acquaintances, who were in a camp in Linz, that
most of our compatriots were in Germany.
Thus we applied for a leave and some time later
got permission to exit with the next transport.
We were to go to Linz by train and in Linz the
transport was to depart. But there was
everything smashed and bombed out. There were so
many refugees who wanted to go there from here.
The transport was postponed and we were
distributed again among the farmers.
sent close to Bad Hall. The place all
consisted of large and lonely farms, we had to
walk several kilometers to the nearest village.
Even the farms were lying very far apart. What
we already had learned in Pießling on the
Dammberg, we got to recall here again.
Respecting the cattle, when passing a large
meadow. If a cow was stubborn or angry,
then there wasn't anything left but to run as
fast as possible unto the nearest fence and
quickly surmount it. We lived with this
farmer until early August of 1945, then time had
come at last. We were carried to Linz by truck
and when all people had arrived the transport
went on its way at last.
On 29th of
August, 1946, we arrived at Pforzheim main
station by train. Again we were carried by truck
to the villages around. We came to
Göbrichen together with a couple of other
families. It was a small farmer's village
then. In the school building another camp was
set up, and that was our last station for the
[Published at DVHH.org
by Jody McKim