I returned to my roots
Gottfried Bach was born in the South Moravian village of Stálky near the Austrian border on 26 June 1940. His parents were German peasants, Matthäus and Anna Bach. His father was drafted into the Wehrmacht at the onset of World War II and died serving in Russia in 1944. The majority of Stálky’s inhabitants were German-speaking farmers. In June 1945, on the very day of Gottfried Bach’s fifth birthday, almost all of the villagers were forced to gather up within the hour and leave their home place on foot with only the bare essentials. Their destination: Heinrichsreith, Austria. This was part of the so-called wild expulsion. The Bachs were able to settle down in the nearby village of Langau and were soon granted Austrian citizenship. In the first years they could even look out at Stálky across the gradually erected Iron Curtain. Gottfried attended a teaching school in Vienna. In 1966 he married an Austrian woman of Czech descent. He often visited the US for work and study and spent most of his professional life in Germany. After 1989 he bought Krokovice Farm in Písečná, near his native village. He settled down there with his wife for their retirement. He organised the renewal of several monuments in Stálky related to its German inhabitants. In 2020 he planned to hold a Czech-Austrian pilgrimage along the route of the expulsion.