Hubert Babor

* 1943

  • “They tore down a lot of the houses around here back in the 1950s so that nobody could hide in there. The houses were strewn all over the place, all the way to the border, lone settlements and so on, so they tore everything down… little chapels… everything… so that nobody could hide there. Some of the older demolition workers are still alive, but they won’t tell you the truth, not them.”

  • “Suddenly one of them screamed that he found a bone. At first we thought it was a deer bone and paid no attention. They went on digging and unearthed a human skull; eventually they found quite a lot of bones and I think three military dog tags, about the size of an egg with numbers on them. All soldiers used to carry those so they could be identified if killed. Then we found out that they were German soldiers. There were gas masks alongside, still in those tin cans. There were no weapons, just clothes residues, all rotten. So we buried it all in the forest. Nobody cared at the time, those were Nazi soldiers… Over time we found that US soldiers encountered young Nazis, Hitlerjugend, the fanatics in the area… They opened fire on the Americans; they fought back and shot them all dead, and then they buried them right there.”

  • “Some of the Germans here, the older ones, didn’t even know that there was a war. It didn’t really show here until Americans came here to liberate. All they had here was hard work, and in addition they lost their children to the war. Everybody was drafted and few, if any, came back… and there were many from around here. It wasn’t very nice initially, though later… Germans were looked down upon and sworn at… but I am not surprised really. There were not many German children going to school after the war – there were more Romanians. We were like that because we came from Germany. It was strange – Germans left and we came here. And we had problems, mainly mum – she wanted to go see her parents in Germany and she was not allowed to.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Hartmanice, 30.08.2015

    duration: 01:17:43
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Hartmanice, 30.08.2015, 12.05.2022

    duration: 01:05:26
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Everybody here looked down on Germans

photo: archiv pamětníka, natáčení PN, srpen 2018

Hubert Babor was born in Oberkirchen near Hannover on 11 August 1943. His Czech father was deployed on forced labour in Germany and met his future German wife there. The family moved to the Šumava mountains in Czechoslovakia in 1947. Hubert spent his childhood in the post-war borderland that underwent major changes after the Sudeten Germans were exiled. As a child he witnessed the demise of the old Šumava and the demolition of abandoned villages and settlements. He saw the rise of the Iron Curtain and of the Dobrá Voda military region in the 1950s. The setting up of the military region and the closure of the border zone greatly affected the lives of the people who lived near the border. Hubert graduated from a forestry school and started working for the Military Forest Operations as part of the military region. Aside from the earliest childhood, he spent his entire life in the Šumava borderland, and his biggest hobby - photography - allowed him to capture the Šumava wildlife as well as living near the Iron Curtain. He has two daughters and a son who carries the family tradition as a gamekeeper in Šumava. Having retired in 2005, he has been living in Hartmanice with his partner.