Josef Adam

* 1932

  • "Those were really poor people. About fifteen of them stayed with a farmer overnight. He came in, had a couple of slices of bread cut, opened the door and said: 'Come and see how they will fight,' and threw the bread among them. Of course, they didn't get any proper food, just what they grabbed somewhere."

  • "Our German class teacher came in the morning, we had to stand up, raise our paws and sing that God should protect our Führer and something. We, the crazy pupils, decided one day that we’re no way going to do that. So, we stood up, we didn't raise our hand and we didn't sing. And that was trouble... Dad had to go to school and got scolded for encouraging Czech children to hate Germans. So, we had to be careful, and we had to behave really like mousey little mouses somewhere on the side."

  • "I also remember the prisoners being dragged through the village. The English and the Australians among them were wearing hats. They were quite well off, but the Russians, they were poor. They were locked up in a barn with a local farmer, Weber, and their patrol carried a piece of bread and threw it into the barn and had a good time as the Russians fought over it. They were skinny and they were people who were at the bottom of life. The English were getting some parcels from UNRA, which supplied these camps, but the Russians were very badly off. I don't know how many didn't survive. They were buried somewhere, and they interrogated this Weber to tell them where the graves were, but I don't remember how it turned out."

  • "For example, when Dresden was raided, it was something big. They were flying in the evening and there was a red glow over Dresden. The handles on our doors and windows were shaking from the bombing. The people there must have really hard time. I was employed by Chirana afterwards and a lady said that she gave birth in Dresden on this night when the bombing took place. She said they had wrapped the baby and she ran with the baby through the burning streets outside. She said it was terrible. I still remember that the bombing of Dresden was horrible. Later they called it Stalin's Works, but then it was Hermann-Göring-Werke and they were making synthetic gasoline from coal for airplanes and so on."

  • "All of a sudden the local Germans made this explosion. The Czechs got a beating because it was their way. What were Czech shops, houses, everything was smashed. It was the fifteenth of March, I remember that. The snow fell and the village was like it had died out. And now the broken windows gave a bad, you could say ghostly impression. Dad was taken to the village office on that St. Bartholomew's Night, he was spanked and released in the morning. He was interrogated. My mother went to the village office and said: 'If you don't let him out by morning, I'll wreak havoc!' That's how it went. A lot of Czechs who were interrogated walked around with bruises. The Germans were able to prepare some respect."

  • "You could still hear the planes flying. We had fifty kilometres to Dresden, over the Erzgebirge, and the door handles were shaking, the windows... Then you could see a huge red glow over the whole of the Erzgebirge."

  • "At the Bohosudov railway station there is a memorial to 312 victims of the march, who were dragged from a concentration camp. The guards, because it was already towards the revolution, escaped and left the people in the wagons. So, when someone dared to open the wagon and give them water, they found that 312 of them were dead."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Šluknov, 08.12.2021

    duration: 44:29
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
  • 2

    Šluknov, 07.01.2023

    duration: 01:41:05
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Germans made it clear that we were scum

Josef Adam in 2023
Josef Adam in 2023
photo: Post Bellum

Josef Adam was born on 29 January 1932 in the majority German town of Proboštov near Teplice. As a result of the annexation of the Czechoslovakian borderlands to Germany, the family had to adapt, and he attended a German school. As members of the Czech minority, the Adams experienced various hardships, including physical violence when the Germans took their father away for questioning in March 1939 and brutally beat him. After the end of the war, the witness helped disarm the Nazis and collected ammunition and weapons in the forests. When he finished town school, in 1947 he began to apprentice as a toolmaker at the Teplice machine shop. Then he enrolled in the secondary industrial school and after graduating from the school he started his compulsory military service as a personal driver for the commander of the airport in Milovice in 1953-1955. After finishing his service, he started working in the Teplice machine shop. In 1960 he married and, in order to better provide for his family, he succumbed to pressure and joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He remained a member until 1968, when he decided to surrender his membership and resign from the party in the wake of the invasion by Warsaw Pact troops. He had to leave the company and could only continue to do menial jobs. In 1989, Josef Adam became a founding member of the Civic Forum in Teplice, but soon decided to leave politics due to conflicts. He retired in 1992 and at the time of recording (2023) lived in a cottage in Císařský near Šluknov.