Hugo Drásal

* 1927  

  • “Those usually didn’t stay long. They just licked the place clean and left. Or the ones who called themselves partisans or militia. They were the ones who made their own rules. When I was at home, my parents didn’t have much either. There was a low on food, so I went to the farmer my sister was at. Could I work for food at least? Okay - so I did. Me and my sister, both. Then in the autumn, that was in September, they took me from the field. They went to get me from the field - and into the pub, into the saloon, and it was all ready there. There were more people who they were gathering up for the camp in Šternberk. They pounded us the whole night, and in the morning they loaded us on to a cart and took us away, without me even having the chance to say goodbye to mother. Father had already been taken there a month earlier, to the camp.”

  • “They called themselves partisans. I don’t know if they were or not. It was something of a militia afterwards. Kind of what they later a national committee. And they played a good bit of havoc. From what I know personally, what I saw, they beat up our mayor to such an extent that he went and hanged himself. I was there when we took him down. I saw that. They beat him up awfully, he was a good man. Those were the times. I don’t like remembering it, but it’s not something you can forget.”

  • “Father died early. Here in Šternberk, in the internment camp. I was in the mines at the time, and when I came home, I got myself the death certificate. I was interested about the cause of death. It’s written there ‘angina pectoris’, that means angina of the heart. That might be true, but I didn’t find out about the events that preceded it until in Germany, from the people from our village who had been there and had seen it happen. [The wardens] had helped him on with beatings, so that he died in that camp; we don’t even know exactly where he’s buried. No one was there for the funeral. He lies here and that’s it. Later, when Grandma died, we had his name written on the tombstone, and that marks the end of his story.”

  • “It was the time of year when apricots get ripe. It might have been about June ’46. ‘Pack up, we’re leaving.’ So we thought we were going home. Codswallop. They were taking us to Oslavany, near Brno. There was a big mine there, and a huge camp. How many times did we tell them we should’ve been expelled with the rest. But they didn’t let me go, nor my mother or sister. They didn’t release me till early December ’46, that was after the expulsion was already over. And then they said that we can go when the transport gets put together. But it wasn’t ever put together.”

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    Šternberk, 09.10.2012

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They pounded us the whole night, and in the morning they loaded us on to a cart and took us away

Hugo Drásal shortly after his release from the mines in 1946 (he still has coal dust around his eyes)
Hugo Drásal shortly after his release from the mines in 1946 (he still has coal dust around his eyes)
photo: archiv pamětníka

Hugo Drásal was born in 1927 in the village of Dalov, (German: Dohle; now a part of Šternberk), to parents of German nationality. During World War II he escaped military service in the Wehrmacht because of an eye defect. In September 1945, in the saloon of the local pub, he and other Germans from the village were held and savagely beaten by young Czechs claiming to be partisans. Drásal spent the following months in labour camps throughout Moravia. In the meantime, his father Hubert died in the Šternberk concentration camp, and his mother was evicted from their family home. Drasal returned to Dalov in December 1946, after the official expulsion of the Germans. Although he repeatedly requested permission to leave Czechoslovakia, he was denied. After returning from the labour camps, he worked as a farm hand until 1950. For the next fifty years he was employed as a stoker in the Uničov sugar refinery. In 1957 he married Marie Kristenová, from a German family from Rejhotice, in the Šumperk area. He now lives in Šternberk.