Bahnhof Europa - Bordercrosser (documentary film)

Uploaded by bahnhofeuropa on 11.12.2012

Border region Germany – Poland – Czech Republic
For almost 50 years, the people living in this region were not allowed
to speak of their real homelands.
In the summer of 2001, a group of young people from all three countries
the borders together, accompanied by a camera and a microphone.
The people who were still able to recount what happened in 1945,
at the end of the Second World War,
were the same age back then as the young people are today.
Ostritz railway station, Germany, in Krzewina, Poland (formerly Grunau)
We're from Grosshennersdorf.
We have a question we'd like to ask you. Do you actually live here?
No we don't, it's just a...
- Is this just a meeting place for you? - Yes, a fitness room.
- Do you have equipment and everything? - Pretty average.
Kwasniawka, come over to the interview!
Is the house empty otherwise?
The house belongs to the priest.
The priest?
Doesn't he live here? Doesn't he do anything with it?
No, the prlest lives there. He has a presbytery. A nun used to live here.
She died and left it to the church.
Do they have equipment in there? Can we have a look?
There's no key. You have to climb in through the window.
- Is it okay? - I'll come in with the camera.
Open the door here... You can't go this way.
I'll jump in. Won't I make it through the window with the camera too?
Well let's go in through the window. You have to go in through the window it seems.
Linda, are you coming in too, or should I take the camera?
Thanks a lot, see you later...
Once I have the papers verifying ownership in my possession,
I'll be able to sell it. I don't need two houses.
Do you want to sell it?
Well, yes, for the church. Hold on a moment. To renovate the presbytery,
it's in need of renovation. But there's no money. The cemetery has to get done, expanded,
because it's too small and there's no money set aside for that either.
If we were to sell it, there'd be enough money.
Haven't you given any consideration to the young people here?
I beg your pardon?
Haven't you given any consideration to the young people here?
I have a room in the presbytery set aside for scripture classes.
It's set up especially for the youth.
They only want to go there because no one's there to supervise them. They'd rather be there.
Arrogance reigns, they do as they please. Well, don't they?
Don't you think that young people are entitled to a certain amount of freedom?
So they can do whatever they want?
Wiithin reason perhaps, but...
Someone has to supervise them. You never know
whether they're going to turn around and kill each other or something, and then what?
Gosh, they only want to do a bit of exercise.
You never know these days. Haven't you heard, don't you ever turn on the television?
Not everyone's like that.
There were young people, 16 year olds, being shown on TV,
two 16 year olds murdered a taxi driver. Isn't that right?
Do you mean to say you don't watch television?
The place is full of alcoholics. I'm just telling you how it is.
You want to know something about Krzewina, do you?
Half the people are alcoholics, three work, two or three are farmers.
I'm not bullshitting you, I'm just telling you what's what.
They're all alcoholics here, because everyone's out of work and on the booze.
Do you know what it was like here back in the early days?
When the people had just arrived here after the war?
Oh, you'd have to ask someone a bit older than me.
Is there someone who might know?
I don't know who's...
Not that house, but the next one along, a Mrs Maczkova, ask for Mrs Maczek.
She's been living here for a long time and she'd be able to tell you something about it all.
What's the woman called again?
Maczkova. Anna Maczka. It's on this street, the second or third house along.
Do you know much about the history of this region?
What was here before you arrived?
I've never really gone into it.
What do you think I've been doing?
I've spent all my time cooking, cleaning, washing, having children.
I don't go into things like that.
Perhaps you've spoken to the neighbours about how things used to be around here?
No, I haven't.
It doesn't interest me.
The whole village was full, dammit, only little houses,
many of the houses had been destroyed because they were empty.
It wasn't just any old village, in Ostritz there was a factory,
a factory for furniture, fabric, what do you call them, cleaning-cloths.
Then everything was liquidated, the Germans expelled and it was all over,
doors closed, that was all that was left.
Don't listen to him
Oh, oh, this woman...
He's a liar.
Oh really? A liar? If I were, I wouldn't be talking so much...
You go on and on like a madman. Tell the truth for a change. I can't stand lies.
And what about you? My wife always has to be a know-all,
and then she goes and forgets everything and calls me a Ilar.
He can't remember anymore.
Oh really? A liar? If I were, I wouldn't be talking so much...
I confuse you? If I know something then I say it,
and if I don't, I don't.
So all you know is that you came to the West and nothing besides that?
I came to the West?
Yes, you came here to the West and that's that.
- How am I supposed to have come, normally, how else? - That's enough.
And you, what brought you here?
Where did you live before the war?
I lived in the Russian territory. I come from Lvov.
The Russians occupied it, now it's the Ukrainians. It's all Russian territory.
And how many new settlers were there in the beginning?
Ooooh, a hell of a lot. Our entire battalion was stationed in Bogatynia.
Then they were scattered throughout this region, in Zgorzelec, in Reczyn.
They lived in the villages that are everywhere.
- You're talking nonsense. - What? What?
Why are you blgnoting yourself like that? What are you lying for?
What's your problem? You didn't see it. How could you have seen anything,
when I was the one who brought you here from the headquarters.
- You brought me? - And what, you came on the plane by yourself?
Don't listen to him, he's talking crapl
All right, all right, it's pointless trying to discuss anything with her.
- Don't listen to him. - The woman's always wrong.
Border to Ostritz, Germany
Good afternoon! Could we possibly interrupt you for a moment?
We're from a video workshop in Großhennersdorf
Can you believe this?
...A video project, an international video project with German,
Polish and Czech youths on the subject of bordercrossers...
- We're bordercrossers too, you know - You too? So you've just?
Yeah, we've just been over to get a soft drink and cigarettes.
- Oh I see. Do you often go across the border? - What?
- Do you often cross the border here? - No, not really.
I was wondering if I could ask you, I mean, you've just been over, haven't you?
I mean to Poland, um, well, I mean, what do you do over there?
- Buy cigarettes. - Buy cigarettes?
And apart from that you don't really have any contact with Polish people?
Nol We just go over through the day to get clgarettes
'cause they're cheaper over there than they are here.
- Well, aren't they? - Well, aren't they?
You've just been over, on the other side of the border,
are you there much, what do you do over there?
I go over almost every day for cigarettes. Two packs.
- And other than that? - Other than that there's not much over there.
Yeah and soon it won't even be worth going over for that anymore. We can just buy them
In Germany. When they're in the EU, everything will be standardised.
And um, do you know anything about what happened here after World War II with the expulsions?
Have you ever heard anything about it?
What about it? They threw them out. Basically the Poles who are here now
came over from the Russian border. They didn't want to leave either.
They were pretty much expelled from their homeland too, if you look at it like that.
And what do you think about the fact that it happened,
that German regions had to be ceded to Poland?
If it were up to me, I'd get it all back.
It's all going to be part of the EU anyway, so it doesn't matter.
Was anyone in your family affected?
No, they've all been living here in Germany for god knows how many years,
I mean in what has always been Germany, but well...
How come you'd want to get it back?
Welll I want to get back what belongs to us, because it belongs to us...
And have you got any concrete plans in mind for how you might be going to do that?
Well... I'd just shoo them away.
They're not gonna let you do that.
You can't do anything about it now, we lost the war and that's all there is to it.
And what do you think is going to happen with the EU expansion to the East?
- Nothing at all for a while. - How come?
'Cause they, at least until 2003, they're going to stay out of it. Nothing surer.
If you were to have a chat with someone now and again, then the Poles are...
nletschewo (Russ: Nothing), they're not going to do it.
At least until 2003 we'll be able to go over for cheap fuel and cigarettes...
yeah... that'll be... it's not gonna happen that quickly...
Mmm... and then?
And then what? Then they'll either be in the EU, If they meet the criteria,
or they won't be.
So what do you think of them being in the EU?
It's not as if we can influence anything anyway.
What about you? What do you think of it?
We can't really influence anything. Some like it, some don't.
- And do you like it? - You?
Do I like it? Hardly.
- Why not? - Because they don't belong in the EU.
They're up to their ears in debt and by joining the EU, all their debts just disappear.
Yeah and the stupid Germans just keep on paying for everything.
Andelka, Czech Republic
Well, we had 1500 people living here all up,
and after the war there was practically no one left at all.
Only a few of the old established residents, Germans, stayed,
along with the ones who had a mixed background or who were antifascist.
How many families stayed here? I don't know, maybe five or six,
otherwise all the Germans were driven out.
Do you want to stay here, in this place?
When I was younger I wanted to, but now I can see that it wouldn't work out.
Do you think there's no future here foryou?
Yeah, it'd be okay to have a weekender here or somewhere nearby - Liberec, Frydlant,
but not in Andelka, because the last bus on Friday leaves at five and then there's nothing,
that's it. It's awful. I do like it here, but I don't want to live here.
- And I live in Poland. - How come? I thought you lived here in Andelka.
I come here all the time. My parents are here, but I live in Poland.
Did you marry a Pole?
Not a Pole, he's my partner, I've been with him with 11 years.
- And is it still working out okay? - His name's Andrzej Burzynski, my old man,
and I want to say hello to everyone there: Ewa Perminska, Halina Dobrowolska,
Rysiek, Zbyszek, all of them and all their familles.
There's a concert here on Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock, Jewish songs.
Before that, mass will be held and then there's the concert.
A lot of people'll be coming over from Germany and Poland. They always come
when there's an event like this on.
Yes, as a matter of fact, we do have some contacts.
There are people who come here, whom I've never met before.
I say: Come by and they just drop in for a visit,
even though I may never have seen them before in my life, you see.
just a moment ago, a woman rang up to ask whether anything was going to be on in the park again,
whether there'd be sausages like last time. I said, yes there will be, well I certainly hope so.
There'll be cars parked on both sides of the street, from the park all the way down to here.
The place'll be full of cars and buses.
I'm gonna go round as usual with my 20 litre jerrycan and siphon petrol,
- so I can do a bit of driving, you know. - Of course.
Are you filming this?
- Hello, do you speak Czech? You do? - You do?
Do you come from here, from Andelka?
Could you possibly go outside, it's terribly loud in here.
- What would you like to know? - Why are you here?
- Oh, you're filming... - No need to be scared.
I attend church regularly.
Okay, and have you been to this particular church service before?
Why, yes of course, I come almost every year. Last year I was ill, so I didn't make it.
I was lying in bed and I cried as I listened to the lovely sound of people singing here.
- So you like it then? - I do indeed.
Excuse me. Excuse me... Excuse me
Do you speak German?
German? Nemecko?
German? Yes, German.
You speak German? Do you speak German?
Yes, I speak German. Yeah, I do.
Um, can l just quickly ask you, we're from a vldeo workshop in...
Where are you from then?
We're from a video workshop in Grosshennersdorf. We're making a, a film with umm German, Polish
and Czech youths about the border region here.
Oh yes, okay.
My grandma, she's dead now, yes my grandmother.
Yes, I see.
She lived here, as a matter of fact she was born here.
Were you among those to be driven out by the expulsions?
And where did you end up?
In Ostritz.
I live in Zittau now. But with the expulsions we were relocated to Ostritz.
So when did you move to Zittau?
When I got married, in '62.
- And what was it like here after World War II? - Well, it was better than it is today in any case.
Can you remember anything about the expulsion of the Germans?
Well, I can vaguely remember it all, but I didn't do it, I had other things on my mind.
I was a little boy, I was more interested in other things.
You must have known a few of the Germans here, musn't you?
Yes, I did...
And when they were driven out - how did you feel about that?
Were you sorry for them?
I worked with them in the fields and everything, so we did have...
- So they were friends. - Yes, friends.
And how did you feel about it when they had to leave?
Were they actually driven out?
No, they weren't driven out as such, they were just taken to transit camps,
and we never saw them again after that.
Well it was like this here:
Of the three and a half million Germans, three million were formally resettled,
or driven out, in reality, although no one likes to hear those words spoken.
But back then the Czechs, when they arrived here, they couldn't just throw out all the Germans.
They had to let the craftsmen stay, the factory foremen and so on, miners, and specialists...
they could stay here too, but only if they hadn't aligned themselves with Hitler during the war.
But then after a while even the ones who were still here, the rest, weren't allowed to remain
in the border zone but were forced to move inwards, they were driven further inwards.
They weren't allowed to go to Germany anymore, so they were pushed inwards.
In my case, I was 19 and I ended up working for five years in forced labour in the coal mines.
So that was the reward for staying behind.
And of course the years that followed, where Germans were kept under observation,
spied on, monitored, treated with suspicion and so on... they weren't good days.
The Anna festival - it's very well known...
The church festival, huh?
The church is dedicated to Saint Anne.
We've been before, I mean, we've been to the Anna festival every year so far.
- Do you all come from Germany? - From Ostritz. We all come from Ostritz.
- You're all Ostritzers? - That's right...
...well actually one of us no longer lives there, but near enough.
- And... - I've had my turn.
- Yes, okay... But where exactly do you come from? - Well, Ostritz.
- Well, hang on a moment, - Hang on, I'm from Blumberg... - It's called Bratkov now.
- Bratkov, that's Poland. - Vis à vis the river Neisse.
Listen, you're from around here, you all come from here. Yes, you're...
- Visnova, Visnova - Weigsdorf, Czech Republic. - I'm from Visnova.
- And, as a matter of fact, I'm from... - Grunau, Grunau. Krzewina.
- Who's from Grunau? - This young lady here.
- From Grunau. - Ostritzers, Ostritzers, Ostritzers.
Ostritz, Germany
Okay, well, on 21 June 1945 the mayors from the villages above the Neiße
were given the command from a certain lieutenant-colonel Zynkowski,
ordering that the entire population leave their villages by the morning of the 22 June.
No German was to take more than he or she could carry,
there were to be no vehicles, no horses and the entire furnishings
and equipment of the people were to remain behind.
Well it was sad, there's no other way of saying it. They came in June,
they had thrown them out over there, they had been well and truly kicked out.
And over they came with their wooden handcarts ...
...and everyone was to be outside by 12 and the people were only told at 6 in the morning,
the village was to be cleared out by 12 o'clock. They were told:
"You are to be assembled by nine and then you will be transported across the Neiße."
All of a sudden there were an extra 2000 people. And where were they supposed to go?
People were already living in cramped housing. And then all the deportees turned up.
That was a pretty sad affair.
And they had their wooden handcarts with a few pillows on top and a duvet and a few blankets
and a little bit of something to eat, that was all. And that's how they started over.
And that's how I started over again after '45, because my house had burned down.
Terrible things happened there, terrible things.
Well, in 1945 on the 22nd of June, early in the morning, we heard a horn blast
and all of a sudden one of the neighbours came right up our hill, and we said, what's wrong?
And she goes: "We've gotta get out of here in two hours!" "Where to?" "I don't know."
Anyway, we all cried for a bit. I still had three siblings, my father hadn't come home yet,
he was still away, we didn't even know where he was.
We were alone with my mother. Hmm. So we grabbed the most essential things and loaded them onto the cart.
And hardly an hour had gone by before the Poles came riding up on two horses saying:
They already wanted to have the key. And not even an hour had passed.
No, and it was so hot, it was such a hot year and a fertile year.
Anyway, when the harvest began, the grain harvest that is, the Poles said that the farmers,
who had owned property could come back and bring in the harvest.
And my mother knew nothing of my father's whereabouts, we didn't have any money left,
The ones who'd been working in Ostritz, they were given ration tickets,
but the ones who hadn't worked in Ostritz before were given nothing, no ration tickets.
So we had no choice but to go back over. But I didn't go back with them right away.
I went to school for a couple of weeks here in Ostritz, the school started up again.
But because I had nothing to eat I went back, swimming over and then off and away to my mother.
At first I was supposed to help with the work... and then my mother said:
"Don't worry about it, just bring a little something back with you... a couple of potatoes"
...and we had to be careful not to get caught by the guard... The guard was standing there once
and he yanked my backpack off, chucked it into the Neiße just like that and chased me back again.
Yeah, there was nothing we could do.
Once we were swimming here, he was up there, on the ruins of the bridge,
the old brldge was just lying in the water, you know, and it was just sort of in there
and sometimes we used to climb over it. And he was standing up there,
and he would shoot at us while we were swimming, into the water. There were Idlots like that around...
Once one of them shot a bullet that whizzed right past my ear.
That was the Pole from the neighbouring farmer, he wasn't quite,
I don't think he was the full quid, because a normal person
wouldn't have done that, not to a child.
Did you consider going over the Neiße, did you think of it as a bit of game?
No, not as a game, not as a game, no...
Yes indeed, you can't begin to imagine what it was like,
no one can imagine what it was like if they haven't experienced it themselves.
War is dreadful.
Krzewina, Poland
You really have to run fast to keep up with you.
True... Yes indeed, I'm pretty fast on my feet... I did the Europe trek.
Oh yeah, that went through, um, three cities, no villages.
Basically across the region where Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany meet, through Königshain.
Hey, everything's... there's no point...
Well, you... I'm just about... Aaarrrgghhh
We didn't have a house of our own. We lived down there, in a block of flats.
Then after the 22nd ofJune, soon after we'd left, the building was demolished because it was
right on the river Neisse and they were concerned about it being used as a hide-out.
I know, I know. I'm looking for the remains of the wall.
Hmmm, it'll be overgrown won't it? Because here's, you can still see it.
This here must be from the old factory... 'cause up this far... don't you think? Hmm...
And there was a huge gateway, that's gone. And that was the little one.
Of course it used to have a gate. And here we are, in a moment we'll see the railway track, somewhere.
And where was your building back then?
Here, it used to be here. Because we used to come out the front door here and come through here.
We already crossed the railway track a moment ago over there, didn't we?
Yeah but that's a different one.
And there are the walls of the hospital building. Yes, the building must have been up here.
It was kind of bad that Hitler got in.
I mean, for a moment, thinking of my father, who was out of work and a lot of people,
they were understandably impressed at first, being young, 30 years of age,
and healthy, yet unemployed and having family, you see.
But then, when my father had gone off to war, he was up in Estonia,
and it nearly broke his heart being up there.
Guarding Russian pralsners, young Jewish girls in the forest in winter
dragging wood and hardly anything to eat.
That was pretty bad.
Many people from the villages around here tried to flee from the Russians
with their handcarts, over to Königshain and so on, but they didn't get very far.
They came back the next day after the 8th of May, or the day after that,
and then there were the young girls, they all took refuge in the hospital.
The sisters hid us up in a little attic in the loft.
They put balls of mull in front of the door to disguise it
and we managed to get by there quite well, up there, see.
The sisters could speak Polish and they could communicate with the Russians.
They came on the 8th of May to the day, you know.
One of them did come upstairs to our hiding place once.
But the sister gave him a pack of cigarettes and he went back down again.
Nothing could have happened to me. I was in good hands with the nuns.
You couldn't get out, you didn't go out at all, you stayed put in the house, see.
There were no discos back then.
That's the woman who used to work here.
No, we don't know each other, good afternoon.
Do you have any questions or anything?
No, not really.
She must have been here a bit before my time.
You worked here a bit earlier...
Back in '45
And she started in '47.
Oh yeah, by then I was, by then I was already in Ostritz.
So who used to work here in those days?
Kurt, Frieda. But Kurt was already here when we arrived.
Whereabouts on the Polish side do you come from?
When you came, Kurt was already there.
Noo, I mean, whereabouts in Poland does she come from? From the western border?
Whereabouts in Poland do you come from?
I forget, it's another voivodeship nowadays. Hang on a moment, Kujawsko-Pomorskie.
I don't really know who used to live here.
I know who lived there and I know the next one and the one on the left too,
but this one here, I can't remember anymore.
My name is Maczka, that's my husband's name. First Name, Anna. I'm 74.
Oh, you're the same age as each other.
Is she? Hmm, exactly the same age as me.
What year were you born?
In December, like the Christchild. I was born in December.
And I was born in January.
She was born in January. So very close together.
Oh yes, what day in January?
The 10th of Januray.
The 10th of January, oh right. My mother's birthday was on the 12th
and my birthday's on the 28th of December.
The 28th of December? That's twelve apart.
Well at least she still has all her own teeth.
That's such a short amount of time, 12 years, ay, I mean 12 days apart.
I have, I "no smoking"
She doesn't smoke.
Do you have to get new ones made?
I do have dentures, but I don't wear them, 'cause I can't.
Dentures, yes. I still have some of my own! Not all of them anymore but most of them.
But that's really beside the point, let's stop there!
Dobry den!
Don't film this!
Shut up, you're already bald.
Come here for a sec.
Hey baldy, you comin' up with me or not?
Ne rozumim
You don't understand? I've got a German calendar.
If you're interested in seeing it, I can bring it with me.
It's from around here. Well, d'you want me to show it to you? It'll cost you.
Are you gonna get on, baldy?
Should I show it to you?
Some other time. Get on. Get on, I told you, and hold on tight.
What about in front of the house?
Yeah, great idea, with all those rags hanging there for everyone to see.
Well let's choose a different background then.
I'd come from White Russia.
And how old were you at the time?
Yes, from the Nowogrod district. I was 12 or 15 or so at the time.
Had it already become White Russla by then?
In those days they were Polish regions and after the war,
or already during the war, they took us away from there, because the front...
- Did you return to the area after the war? - No, no, no, no one went back.
- Wasn't it allowed? - Well no, it wasn't allowed.
We were taken away in 1945, in January the front line was still on the river Weichsel
and we were relocated to the municipality of Lublin, not far fror Krasny Staw.
We lived there for a year. It was only after the war was over that we came here, 1946.
Could you go into more detail about the journey? What was it like?
The railway tracks and bridges were in ruins. There was a lot of waiting.
And what was it like? Did you have much time to pack? What happened?
Well, there was enough time, while all the expatriation paperwork was going through.
You had to register and then they'd tell you to be ready to go in a week or two.
- And carriages were provided. - And did everyone have their own carriage?
No, they didn't. It depended how big the family was.
When we went, there were three families in our carriage.
How much room was there? What could you take with you?
We had a cow and a horse, for example, and some other bits and pieces.
How many people were in your family?
There were four of us: My father, my mother, my brother and I.
Did you leave a house, a property behind in White Russia?
We had more back there than we have here. There we had 18 ha of land.
We had a house, which is gone of course. It was a brick house,
but it was levelled, and there's nothing there anymore, only the land itself.
What about cupboards, furniture and stuff like that?
It all stayed there, no one took furniture with them.
You just threw some clothes into a bag and off you went.
Another bag full of rusks, in those days you used to dry the bread yourself,
you didn't buy it like that...
Into the train and off you went.
So you had to leave everything you had behind?
Well what do you expect? You can't take a house with you,
and there was no house anymore anyway.
Had it already burned down prior to your departure?
Yes, yes, during the war. Everything was already destroyed.
Because of what went on in the war?
Yes, going back and forth a couple of times and ...There wasn't much left.
So you had gone away during the war?
Yes, during the war. The resettlement of the Poles was organised straight away.
They were to leave immediately, once they marched in. They sayed:
"Either you become Russian citizens or it's off to Poland with you..."
Did many people leave or did a lot become Russian citizens?
Very few. It was all mixed up, Poles and White Russians. There was a lot of intermarriage
If the husband was Polish and the wife White Russian and she didn't
want to leave then he'd stay too and take on Russian citizenship.
Dzialoszyn in the vicinity of Krzewina, Poland
I came in 1945.
That was at the end of the war.
After the war, in 1946, I worked as a baker.
Hold on, in 1945, I came from England
to Danzig where I was finally released and given leave to return home.
Where on earth are my papers?
There were 2500 of us altogether in the second transport contingent to Danzig.
From Danzig I moved to Lodz, and not long after that,
I received a letter from Karol Piszczek,
so I came here as a master baker.
A cooperative had just been formed here in Dzialoszyn.
And were there many Poles already living here by the time you got here?
No one was here at all, no Polish people, only soldiers.
When I arrived here, I opened a bakery.
They gave me flour, fuel and a house,
I was on my own. My wife was still back in Lodz, you see.
And I baked bread for the soldiers and for the civilians,
and the people slowly began to turn up in dribs and drabs. The people who settled here
gradually brought their families over from the East,
because they predominantly came from the East.
They had ration vouchers and I exchanged bread for their vouchers, or I exchanged
bread with the farmers for flour: A kilo of bread for a kilo of flour.
And if they were elderly people who didn't have any ration vouchers,
l just gave them bread for nothing.
I couldn't just stand by and watch them suffering.
No money, no bread, no life, just shit all round.
And where do you come from? Where did you live before the war?
I came over from England and I didn't have a home as such, I come from Lodz.
I was sent for from Lodz because I was a baker, to set up a bakery here
so that the people could have bread.
And wasn't there a bakery here before that?
No one was here. There was no baker, no butcher, no shop, no nothing.
One shop - one of the settlers, a man from the Masuren region, used to bring cigarettes
and vodka from Zgorzelec. He had to ride 25km by bike to get them.
And what did these regions look like after the war?
Pitiful, for heaven's sake.
People behaved like looters, they just went out and stole everything they could
lay their hands on, and the army was worse than the lot of them.
- The Polish army? - Yes, the Polish army.
- In their own territory? - Yeeeessss.
These areas didn't belong to us, it was only after the war that they
allocated to us and the Germans were expelled.
It's as old as the hills.
There were drawings in there too.
It's old, is it?
- It's a poultry breeder's diary - Really?
The activities of poultry breeding associations and cooperatives.
They're things we don't have any use for.
We could make a film out of it after all.
Across the Czech border to Andelka
Where do I come from? I come from Kutnovka.
That's a village between Kozakov and Turnov.
That's where the Kozakov mountain is, you know that, don't you?
From our window we could see Trosky. The Bohemlan paradise.
Anyway, we cried, we didn't want to come here, but, well...
The ones who had property, they stayed, you know, the ones who had something there.
We only had a meagre little cottage, the forest was our source of nourishment,
8 children, you know, Grandma and Grandpa. So we loaded everything onto a truck,
took the harmonica and said goodbye to the neighbours in tears.
And we travelled over this way and arrived here to find 7 cows or so in the barn
and I'd never seen a cow before in my life. And the Germans were still there,
they'd been doing things by themselves until then. And they were to be relocated -
he could speak pretty good Czech, this Kretschmer bloke,
and he goes: "No Jindra nicht tanzen." We often went dancing after the war, didn't we?
"Muss krava dojit" (milk the cow). Yes, and I go: Well I'll have to learn how then.
And how long did you live there with them before they were deported?
- Not long, about six months. - So you all lived together in the one house?
- And how did you get along with one another? - As normal.
My mother cooked for everyone, they ate with us and the daughter got married.
My mother even baked the wedding cake for her.
They lived a normal life with us.
Yes but then, I have to say, it wasn't as though we'd have cursed them,
but when they moved away, we found something ...
In those days my mother cooked whatever she could get hold of,
there was nothing after the war, just vouchers and the like.
But then we found a whole preserved pig,
buried in the ground, in the shed, the barn.
There were clothes buried there too and Anna's entire trousseau.
A great blg trunk, although it was all broken and ruined.
I was expecting a child and so we thought,
well at least for napples, we could make some out of the sheets.
No, it was all falling to pleces, all tied up with ribbons, little bonnets,
little shirts, she'd prepared it all, but then they'd buried it
and they didn't say that the stuff was there.
And the pork in jars, we could have used that
while they were still there.
They didn't tell us, so my mother just cooked what was available.
They would have had something to eat and we would have had something to eat too, right?
But by then it was useless, you couldn't eat it anymore.
We fed it to the chickens, to the cats and the dog, you couldn't...
When my mother arrived here, she didn't like the Germans
Of course that had to do with all that had happened during the war.
My father, his brother and his sister died in a concentration camp. After being reported.
- They were denounced by the local teacher. - And did he have a pretext for doing that?
- And was the teacher Czech? - The teacher was Czech,
but he was what, was called a standard-bearer because he aligned himself with the Germans
In order to keep hisjob. Well, I don't know, people were different back then.
My mother had a breakdown. We two children were all she had left.
I was 3 years old and my sister was 13.
And the doctor recommended that she move away, somewhere far away from our surroundings,
so that she wouldn't be living in the old place anymore. Because she kept running into his friends.
And since there was a new settlement of the border region going on at the time,
she went to Liberec to the resettlement commission
and they offered her a flat or a house there, a villa above the station.
She didn't like that idea much because she was the daughter of a ranger
and she loved forests and things like that.
So they said to her, well move to Andelka then, which was still known as Andelov in those days,
there are forests there, it's on the border, maybe you'll like it there.
So Mummy set off for Andelka, that was in May of 1945.
She said that the trees were all in blossom here,
that it was glorlous, that she was truly enchanted by the area.
And that she wanted to stay here, that she liked it here.
When my mother arrived here, the first people to come up to her were the Germans
from over the road, Kretschmer and Hausmann.
They said that they had come over to help unpack because they could speak a bit of Czech.
In fact Kretschmer could speak Czech pretty well.
Yes, and he said: What's your name? - Marie.
I'm Josef. How would you like me to help, what have you got?
Yes, and she said that she had animals. And he said: Well, we'll build a shed then.
And he went and got his sons and they built sheds for all the livestock,
for the poultry and the pigs.
And Mummy said: At that point I realised that not all Germans were the same.
That you can't just lump them all together.
And Neumann, the orlginal proprietor, was living here too, a very old man.
And my mother said that she would happlly live here with him
so that he wouldn't be driven out, forced to go to Germany.
So he stayed with us for a year...
And what was it like here when you arrived?
Wonderful. It was fantastic being with him, because we didn't have a grandfather
and he was somehow able to play that role for us. As far as I was concerned
he was my grandfather and he acted like he was too. We used to talk to one another.
Did you converse in German?
Yes. Well he was always learning Czech and we were learning German,
so we used to kind of explain to each other words in our respective languages.
He really liked that. He used to look after the stove heater,
making sure there was always enough coal. He was content.
My mother used to cook for him, he had a room upstairs, the same one he used to have before we came.
Mummy said he should keep it, that he should keep on living in it.
I don't know, we didn't find living together too bad because, I don't know.
Mummy just regarded him as an old person who'd die if he had to leave.
She said: If someone gets moved somewhere else at the age of 80,
it's not going to do him any good. As I said, he doesn't bother me in the slightest.
He can just live with us. And so we stayed living here together, him and us.
But he did end up going away in 1946, in the wave of expulsions.
And his daughter-in-law came and got him, because she was going away too.
It was about a year later when she came along with a wooden cart -
you probably have some idea what they look like.
I can still see it today, the way he was sitting on the back, very thin,
In his slippers, dangling his legs, not wanting to leave, crying.
This was his home.
And before he actually came to be transported away, he died.
It was completely unnecessary to take him over. In our opinion
it was nonsense, but it was her wish to take him with her to Germany.
Dzialoszyn in the vicinity of Krzewina, Poland
I don't like this camera, I can't get the hang of it.
Pan to the right.
I could film the church.
Shit, we could have done with a tripod.
We came over for the first time in 1965.
A German family was still living in the village back in 1965.
And I asked if we could go into the house. And we were treated with great hospitality
and were invited back again. And as a result, we've been coming since 1965...
Frau Jäger once said to me, she just kind of knocked at the door and then she said to me:
"The door is always open foryou". And that meant a lot. I really mean that, I do,
because that was my childhood.
Are you in good health?
I have my ups and downs
Your ups and downs?
as though he were drunk
Christina, I said I can always come, didn't I?
You always used to say I could come to the house as often as I like.
He's filming, isn't he?
Coffee? Tea? Who'd like coffee?
We'd like to go...
Yeah, we'd like to go to Christina's.
Hmm, would you like another slice? I can't eat a whole one by myself.
No break it in half, it won't hurt. You've got no idea what you're taking.
Yeah yeah...
The battery's flat.
SOUND: Mattef Kuhlmey
MUSIC: Olga-Batik-T-Shirts
For further information please visit �