Maria Frank

* 1938

  • “My parents were quite restrained and they wouldn't explain much. As they could see that we weren't interested so much. For my parents the expulsion was harder, as they built the place, but we children, we didn't care so much. And it has to be said that if we would stay there I would have to work hard all my life. In Bavaria, I didn't have to. Soon I realized how lucky I was that we left the farm. As it was good for me that we were expelled. As it was for my siblings. We could learn something and we didn't have to toil on a farm. But it was hard for my parents. They were in their forties when they had to leave.”

  • “I could only say that we would flock together like a bunch of scared chickens. Both my mother and my grandmother were quite upset, we had to leave everything in half an hour. As children, we had no idea what was going on, why all of a sudden something like this was happening so fast. My mother sent me to the first floor, telling me I should get my essentials, but I didn't know why. Why must everything go away so fast. So I brought my toy iron. And this had made my mother so angry. But back then, this iron was essential for me. Then we got on a cart and we were supposed to go to Cheb, to a camp. I couldn't understand why my parents were crying so much. I was happy that we would travel, like those people from Silesia I met before. For me, it was all adventure, it wasn't this terrible experience my parents had. They were crying so hard.”

  • “I am a member of the Ackermann Gemeinde. It's an organization of Sudeten German Catholics who wanted reconciliation right from the start, not to get back some property they once had. I would go with them to Bohemia on a regular basis. I did my first tours even during communism. Back then, it was quite exciting, how they would treat us, we had to apply for visas. We even visited Potočiště, we visited the place quite unannounced. We saw what was still standing, but many buildings were already in ruins. I started coming to the East more often after 1989. As it was much easier after that. We would go twice or thrice a year with the Ackermann Gemeinde, to Poland and Slovakia as well. I was just amazed by so many beautiful things you could see there, that you couldn't see anywhere else. And there is this great difference between the times before 1989 and after. As so many things had been repaired. And that's something I find important, that one wouldn't let it rot. As there are buildings of immense value that just have to be repaired!”

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    Rehau, Německo, 11.07.2018

    duration: 01:33:36
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My life was easier in Germany

Maria Frank in 2018
Maria Frank in 2018
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Maria Frank was born on 17 April 1938 in the village of Dürnbach (today’s Potočiště) near the town of Cheb. Her family ran a middle sized farm and there were five children living there. They had to leave their home in the summer of 1945 and to move to their relative’s house in a neighboring village. Finally, the displacement to Germany happened in 1946. The family ended up in an American zone of occupation. After spending some time in a refugee camp they settled down in the town of Markt Schwaben, Bavaria. Frank graduated from a trade school and had been working in finance her whole life. In her opinion, her coming to Germany made her life easier than the one she would have been living in Potočiště. Conservation of cultural heritage of her former homeland is an issue she finds important.