Ingeborg Bahrová

* 1933

  • “The war ended and the officers were fleeing. He jumped into some officers’ cars and took a ride with them. Then he separated from them and continued by train. He wanted to get home but he didn’t know anything about us and we didn’t know about him. He then arrived to Bautzen in East Germany. His friend who was there told him: ´Helmut, don’t go home, they would kill you at the border.´ And so he stayed there and married, and it has been four years now since he died.”

  • “We got on a train car, and they transported us to Mutná. The other Germans remained in Jihlava and we were then taken all the way there. I was thirteen, and I had to go and work as a servant. They took me to some other place. I didn’t understand a single word on Czech. I cried. I was still a kid. I stayed there for only about a week and then I ran away and returned to Mutná. Mom told me: ´You cannot stay here. We don’t have anything to eat ourselves. You have to go and serve in some family again.´ And so I had to go back and worked as a servant girl in Mutná. I spent a year there with the Kolman family.”

  • “My son inherited it. He was eighteen when he died. He used to play the organ in the church here, and then he wanted to study at a music academy. That was during the communist era. The told him: ´You didn’t even have to come here. You are a German and you live in a parish house. You have no right to study. You could have stayed at home.´ They told him this although he had straight A’s.”

  • Full recordings
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    Vápenná, 29.08.2013

    duration: 01:12:47
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Daddy used to say that he wanted to die at home

Ingeborg Bahrová
Ingeborg Bahrová
photo: archiv Eli Hadwiger

Ingeborg Bahrová, née Menzelová, was born in 1933 in the small village of Kamenné (Steingrund in German) in the Rychlebské Mountains. Just like the vast majority of the population in the village and the surrounding area she and her parents were German nationals. Her brother Helmut had to join the wehrmacht during WWII and he has never returned home from the army. When the war ended, he did not know the family’s location, and he remained in the Soviet sector of Germany, from where he was no longer allowed to return to Czechoslovakia. Ingeborg’s grandparents were included in the postwar forced expulsion of the German population from Czechoslovakia, but her parents were needed as forest workers and they stayed in Czechoslovakia. In 1947, Czechoslovak authorities relocated the whole family as part of the resettlement process of the remaining German nationals. They were sent to the interior to work in agriculture in the Jindřichův Hradec region, where the family lived for several years. They were allowed to return to the Jeseníky Mountains region only after 1955 when they were granted Czechoslovak citizenship. Their native village Kamenné was torn down in 1961 by army engineers corps and at present, only stone mounds, fruit trees, old linden trees and a large wooden cross remind of the village’s past existence. After their return to the Jeseníky region, Ingeborg married German Emil Bahr, whose family was likewise not included in the deportations. A year after their wedding, Emil Bahr died in a traffic accident and Ingeborg and her half-year old son moved to the parish house in Vápenná, where priest Viktor Boczek and his helper were assisting her with taking care of the baby. Ingeborg Bahrová’s only son died of cancer when he was eighteen years old. Ingeborg Bahrová still lives in Vápenná in the Jeseníky Mountains.