Ingeborg Cäsarová

* 1936  

  • “In the fall of 1946 we were sitting in the kitchen – my dad, mum and me in the middle. It was evening already; darkness fell when my mum said: ‘I don’t know what will happen to us. I don’t have a penny to do the shopping tomorrow.’ My dad gave her this sad look, not knowing what to reply. So we sat quietly for another moment. I was looking at one and the other and couldn’t find a way out. Suddenly, someone banged on our old oak door. My mum went to open them and saw a neighbor from the next street. She said hello, approached our table and placed a hundred-crown banknote in front of my daddy. He tried to turn it down: ‘I can’t take it from you. I wouldn’t be ever able to return it.’ She replied: ‘You don’t have to return it; this is St. Anthony’s bread. When you are doing better, just return it to the people who are worse off than you.”

  • “Later when we fell sick with tuberculosis I said: ‘Mum, if only you saw those farmers’ kids – what loafs of bread they bring to school, with grease and all. And they would even throw it away.’ She replied: ‘Well, then just bring it over!’ I said: ‘How should I do it?’ – ‘I will sew you a bag and you will bring it back in it.’ So I then picked food from the trash bin at school.”

  • “They came for us, to Kyjov. They came with an open truck. There was about nine of us from Bohumín. When we saw the guard towers and the double fence with the barbed wire in between, that was an awful first impression.” “Interviewer: what kind of people were there in Svatobořice?” “It was all elderly people. In each family, there was someone who was sick or disabled. Or some old spinsters that were alone. They didn’t have anybody. No one cared about these people in Germany. Nobody was interested in them.”

  • “The children at school would spit on me. The teacher approached us one day and I told her: ‘Teacher, look at what they are doing to me!’ She replied: ‘But you are guilty yourself.’ I never knew why.”

  • “The train station was just next door. It was a huge train station that still exists today, although its significance has somewhat diminished. From that train station, trains would dispatch for Poland and Slovakia. In those times it used to be bombed quite often and it was pretty wrecked. However, they often missed their target and the bombs sometimes landed on the surrounding houses. Once there were some travelers which we took into the cellar because there was an air raid. My mom said: ‘It doesn’t matter. This is a three-story building. If something happens, nobody will survive. We’ll be in the garden’. We went out into the garden and lay down on a blanket under one of the trees. One of the bombs fell just a couple of meters next to us. We were hurled about the garden by the blast. We both could have been dead.”

  • “On the uppermost floor, in the attic, there were jails. It looked like in the American movies, the jails. You simply had bars there. Once, they put an eighty-year old man in there that had been so hungry that he ate two tomatoes on the field. He got half mad there, screaming and messing the place up with his excrement. We couldn’t sleep and so my mom went to see the commandant. Then she came back and told us they had liberated him, washed him and put him to bed. Terrible things were going on there. If I could remember it all.”

  • “I only had my books which helped me a lot. I didn’t have any friends – my classmates were chasing me home each day after school all the way to the camp. That was their dearest sport. They would also throw their briefcases at me, or – if they couldn’t find anything else – at least rotten turnip. I suffered psychologically because of this.”

  • “The Germans evacuated us because the enemy lines were approaching. They moved us in buses. We had to leave almost everything behind except for the most valuable possessions. It was just after an air raid. We were at the place of my mother’s aunt who had a small house. A bomb exploded right in front of her house unexpectedly. Her house was half-shattered and my mom was packing our things in a hurry. Then we proceeded to Libavá. My dad joined us on that very day. There we stayed till the end of March. We stayed in a sort of a camp. Later, they moved us into a stone house because the battle lines were coming closer again. Then came the Russians. They were from Mongolia and had dogs and sabers. We were all packed in the basement of the house. There were about 30 of us. They wanted to take me away but my dad showed them that I was only 8 years old. They left us alone and we stayed there for another month. Then they let us go home, but we had to walk. Except for my aunt and my dad, who walked lamely. He could travel on a cart. When we arrived in Bohumín, the guard took our last foodstuff and we didn’t even have anywhere to sleep.”

  • Full recordings
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    Šumperk, 05.01.2011

    (audio)
    duration: 01:07:50
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 11

    Šumperk, 13.07.2015

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    duration: 01:22:08
  • 12

    Šumperk, 26.05.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 20:47
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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“Over eight years in internment.”

Ingeborg Cäsarová  (1951)
Ingeborg Cäsarová (1951)
photo: archiv pamětnice

Ingeborg Cäsarová, née Przybylová, was born in 1936 in Bohumín. Because both of her parents were German nationals, the family was held in internment camps after the end of the war. The first one to be interned was her father František. He was held in Ostrava. The rest of the family was interned in April 1947 and they were placed together in an internment camp in Svatobořice. Little Ingeborg was the only child in the camp so she had nobody to play with. Moreover, the kids from the nearby school harassed her for her German origin. The family lived in Svatobořice in appalling conditions for two years before they were transferred to another internment camp in Mohelnice (in August 1949). In Mohelnice, her father lost one of his legs due to poor healthcare and neglected treatment of his diabetes. They were only released in 1955. They were allotted a flat that was humid and had no toilet and running water. In spite of this, they were happy about being free again. Her father died shortly afterwards from the consequences of his illness. Mrs. Ingeborg worked as a nurse and got married to Jan Cäsar. They had two children together. Currently, she presides over the Confederation of the Germans from Northern Moravia and the Orlické Mountains. She lives in Šumperk.