Erhard Chrobák

* 1928

  • "All of a sudden, American jeeps arrived and there were uniformed soldiers wearing Čechoslovakia markings. They were the ones who had escaped from the Reich and were going against them [the Germans]. Suddenly an order came that those who claimed to be Czechs should report at the gatehouse. There were a few hundred of us, I do not know how many. Then they came and said: 'Look, you fought against the Americans.' And I got kicked in the back and then in the side. Knock, knock, knock! Then they took us away, and after that it was fine. They took us to the station. We got into the carriage. They were cattle cars. It was a big transport of Czechs. There could have been a couple of thousand of us. We rode in those cattle cars for a long time. Everything was dirty. We were looking at the signs at the stations, which were still broken after the war, and suddenly I saw the sign Pilsen. And that was already in the Czechia."

  • "Then I was like a German, because they [the Germans] took Hlučín region and pulled it out of Bohemia. Then they all had to go to war. Me too. I was seventeen years old, not even yet. I was drafted to the office in Opava, and they told me that I was to enter the service in a few days, and that I should have food with me for three days. My mother prepared bread and everything for me and I went to Opava to the office. There were German cars there, and everyone who had been summoned from Hlučín region got into the cars and they took us to Ratiboř. There, in the playing field, I saw a lot of German cars. Then the German commander came and we had to line up. There were a couple of hundred, seven hundred or eight hundred, maybe more, of us from the villages in the Hlučín region who had reached the age of seventeen. Then they told us: 'It is war, you must be understanding. You all are going to Poland to dig trenches.’ But then they changed it. They put us in cars and drove us to Germany."

  • "They took us to Pacov, which was somewhere in Bohemia. There were barracks there, bombed out, everything was broken. And that is where they took us prisoners. The older Czech soldiers were already there as wardens. I was there for about two months, maybe six weeks. We were given food, but not much. There was a big fenced area and I saw people walking behind the fence. And suddenly I saw this gentleman – a small man – and a dog. I thought, I have to do something. I found a pencil and a piece of paper, and I wrote my name and where I was. And I threw it over the fence. The little dog flew to it, picked it up, but the master took my note away from him. Then all of a sudden, my sister came. She was twenty or twenty-one years old. The man sent it. And my sister was brave and came to the camp. She came to the guardhouse and she wanted to talk to me: 'No, no. He has to do his time. Out! Get out.'"

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Služovice, 11.02.2022

    duration: 01:35:53
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I was drafted into the Wehrmacht when I was sixteen. The war was my nightmare for a long time

Erhard Chrobák / around year 1948
Erhard Chrobák / around year 1948
photo: Archiv pamětníka

Erhard Chrobák was born on 17 February 1928 in Služovice, Hlučín region. He was the middle of three children of Josef and Marta, who had a small farm. His father also worked as a carpenter. Before the war he was earning some extra money in Germany. In October 1938, Hlučín was annexed to the German Reich and the men were conscripted. Erhard Chrobák had to enlist in the Wehrmacht at the age of 16. In the spring of 1945, he was captured by the Americans in Germany. He was in captivity for about six months. In the meantime, his father was taken by the Red Army to the Soviet Union with the cattle he had to drive for them. He returned from captivity in Dnipropetrovsk in 1948. At the end of the war their farm was destroyed when the front passed through the area. In the 1950s, the Communists forced his parents to join a cooperative farm. Erhard trained as a stove maker after the war and spent his life building and repairing fireplaces and stoves. He married and had two children. In 2022 he was living in Služovice in the house he built.