“We had to be down in the village at nine o’clock, and my mom ran to us and said: ‘Come, children, come all of you with me’ and we went to the cowshed. There she made the sign of the cross to all the cows and to the goat and the sheep, and she took my little sister into her arms and we went down to the village. When she was one hundred meters away from the house, she turned back and she wept. That was for the first time when I saw my mom crying. For the first and the last time.”
“Every two or three weeks in the evening we would go up on the hill, to the Silesia side of the mountain range and we would look down on our village, on Bärnwald, on the opposite side. And one such day, shortly after the eviction, we were looking on the house of our neighbour; two elderly people lived there in the viager house. The house was on fire, there was smoke coming out of it, and she said: ‘Wenzel, there is fire.’ I knew them well, because they were older people and they kept a little bird in a cage. The old man would feed the bird and talk to me about it, saying that it was a mighty bird who was able to peck up so well. To have a bird at home, when there were so many of them outside, was something unusual to me. It was simply like that. From time to time they would give something to us, too, like bread and butter, and they would give it to us children, we were always hungry. So I knew him well, and his house was on fire.”
“The Russians were coming to us, and they drank all kinds of things. They wanted alcohol, as my mother told it to us afterward, because I could not understand a word of what they said. I know that one day one of them was sitting there, and he spoke German and he was talking to my mom. They were taking whatever was stored in bottles, they even tasted kerosene, they were simply taking everything. When we were in the first grade, we used to write on slate plates, but my brother and [the other siblings] already used pens for writing in school. We thus had an inkpot at home, and he [the Russian] simply took one of those small bottles, it was kept on a shelf together with a pen and there were two square inkpots with black and blue ink, and he simply drank it and then put it back on the shelf. It probably didn’t taste well to him, because he left the second bottle alone.”
“Weren’t some of your siblings in Hitlerjugend?” – “Yes, Heinrich was in Hitlerjugend and he was quite proud of it, because I have a photo of him when at that time, at that time! he received that light brown shirt and the tie with the leather knot. Something like this uniform was a thing unseen because we did not have anything like that there. We always wore the clothes which our older siblings had used, and if by any chance we did not have such clothes, I had to wear girls’ clothes, because my mom simply did not have anything else and so she clothed us the best she could. And he had himself photographed in that brown shirt with the knot and he was proud of it. But he was some fifteen or sixteen years old and then he had to go to the war, and so his career in Hitlerjugend was over.”
Alois Heinrich Galle was born on July 7, 1937 in Neratov in Orlické (Eagle) Mountains. His parents Stephanie and Franz were small farmers. His father was drafted to the wehrmacht in 1944 and he died probably on the eastern front. Alois’ eldest brother Heinrich joined the Hitlerjugend and he was subsequently drafted to the wehrmacht as well. He was wounded in the USSR, captured and released only in 1949 into the then German Democratic Republic and he decided to stay there for good. When he was a little boy, Alois Galle experienced the end of the war, the arrival of the Red Army and the so-called wild deportation. He did his military service in the Auxiliary Technical battalions (PTP) in Jihlava, Rajhrad, Maletín and Božice. Although he was asked to become a member of the Communist Party a number of times, he has never conceded. In 1992 he established a choir of singers called Der Adlergebirgler (“Eagle Mountain People”) and he still serves as its choirmaster. They sing traditional German songs from the Eagle Mountains as well as from other regions. Alois Galle is also actively engaged in cross-border cooperation with emigrants from the Sudetenland.