Johann Böhm

* 1938

  • “My parents would have seen it all differently. My parents never wanted to go there again, for instance. They knew that the farm was demolished and everything had been destroyed. For them, many happy memories were ruined. It was better that they didn’t see it. We children took a different approach. You knew what used to be there and what was gone. But somewhere inside me I still feel, when I come there and see the beautiful region of Cheb and the Slavkov Forest, I somehow have this feeling: ‘You’re actually an unwelcome guest here. They threw you out from here.’”

  • “Of course, it was unpleasant, I didn’t mention it before, that we all had to march around with a white armband, even as a seven-year-old boy you had to wear that white armband. Oh well, one got over it somehow or other. The extent to which it was discriminatory, that was much more clearly understood by the adults.”

  • “Actually everyone worked on the assumption that the exile can’t be forever. My parents said that they will be reasonably again, the Czechs, and will take us back in a bit. After all, they need someone to tend to the fields and so on. And one friend from my class, whom I had been with from nursery school and then in the first and second year of elementary school, who was deported at the same time as I was... we went out into the forest together and engraved our initials into the trunk of a tree, and we told ourselves that when we return home, we’d go and see what had happened to it. But I never saw it again because it took too long before I could again walk up the Schlossberg and have a look.”

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    Rehau, 09.09.2019

    duration: 01:32:51
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You just mustn’t get stuck in the role of a victim. Home is where you can help create things

Johann Böhm in 2019
Johann Böhm in 2019
photo: archives of the witness

Johann Böhm was born into a German family in Dasnice (German: Dasnitz) on 18 October 1938. He had three siblings, Harald, Anna, and Gudrun. The family owned a farm and a grocery shop. After Germany capitulated in 1945 and the American army left in summer 1946, administration of the area was taken up by the Czechs. Germans had to wear a white armband. One Czech man was interested in the Böhms’ house, and so the family was forcibly evicted. In early April 1946 the Böhms were sent to the internment camp in Sokolov (called Falknov nad Ohří until 1948); after several further transfers, they arrived at a farm in Wülfershausen, Germany. In 1946 Johann began attending school again after a year’s break. He completed secondary school in Würzburg. After studying law, he worked as a clerk at a courthouse and was then appointed as a member of the local government in Lower Franconia. For a total of 29 years, he was an active MP in the Bavarian State Parliament, even heading the Bavarian State Chncellery in 1990. He served as President of the Bavarian State Parliament from 1994 to 2003. He does not feel to be a welcome guest in his former homeland. Johann Böhm lives in Bavaria, and he and his wife raised three children.