Horst Adler

* 1944  

  • “It was a big surprise when we came to Aš again. People still remembered what the town looked like when they were leaving it. They had this picture on their minds and the reality when they arrived… well, it was very interesting. Much had been destroyed, there were ruins everywhere. During the long reign of the communist regime the town was plundered, some parts of it were quite demolished. It was dreadful to look at. Derelict and unkept houses all around. Today the town looks quite different. The ruins were cleared and where there were factories is now green.”

  • “It was not easy. For me, however, it was interesting to see the place where I was born and where I spent the first years of my life. For my parents and grandparents it was a strong internal need to go where they had spent the first decades of their lives, where they had lived and worked. And it was a really huge disappointment when they saw their houses or the neighbour’s house abandoned to ruin or demolished and there was nothing left. This hurt a lot. What was even worse was when people saw the destroyed churches and graveyards. One is bound by strong memories to places where you were baptised, married or went to the first communion. Or if you go to a graveyard and you know that under this heap of debris your own parents or grandparents are buried, that the place is completely derelict, is used as a dump, as it was in Dolní Paseky. There was a farm by the graveyard and the pigs and the cattle settled in the graveyard and grazed among the last remaining tombstones. This was a great disappointment for people.”

  • “Day in and day out we spoke about life back home, what it would have looked now. I knew the names of our neighbour, I knew the names of all the streets. When I went to Czechoslovakia for the first time in the 1970s, I just had to look and I knew immediately that this was there and that was there. This was the constant theme of our talks at home, we spoke about it all the time. I was just two when we left, I did not remember anything, but I knew everything. I internalized all these things that when someone asks about my home, I reply Dolní Paseky. Of course, I spent a large part of my life in Tirschenreuth, I am, in a way, at home here too, I feel well here, but when someone asks about my homeland, I naturally say Aš or Dolní Paseky.“

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    Rehau, Německo, 15.07.2018

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Difficult things must be spoken about, not be silent about

Horst Adler
Horst Adler
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Horst Adler was born on November 1944 in Aš. His family lived in the nearby village Dolní Paseky, from which they were expelled to Germany in 1946. After a tiring journey that lasted several weeks they reached Tirschenreuth, Bavaria, distant only ten kilometres from their original home. Until 1951 the family lived in a refugee camp, then they managed to build their own house and start a new existence. Although little Horst spent only two years as a child in Dolní Paseky, the place was very close to him as the memories of former home were often discussed in his family. Since his retirement, in 2006, as a teacher at the grammar school in Tirschenreuth he  has devoted all his time to activities related to the Aš region. He is the chairman of Heimatverband Asch and Stiftung Ascher Kulturbesitz. He iniated and contributed to many projects that strive to document and maintain the rich cultural heritage and history of the Aš region.