It was my fifth year in school when the upheaval happened. So we had to quit, anyway there were so many air raid warnings, we were more often in the cellar than in school (laughs). Well, and then the Czechs came, so we Germans had to leave … had – we rather should. But they didn’t let go of my father, he was in a factory, he had to show Czech workers how it is done. Well, they threw us out of our house, so we sent for our father, but they didn’t let him go. The robbed everything inside the house, after that we had to, could move back in.
Well, we were not allowed to attend school in 1945. So we had to … two years we were at home. And then we had to go to a Czech school and didn’t understand a word. We didn’t know anything (laughs). We were like … I also couldn’t … I could do calculations, because the numbers were the same, but writing or understanding …
I can tell you – that took a while. I was working in the shop at that time. Wenn we sold something, when I was there and a customer came – we sold all sorts of things, no matter what – and some things I didn’t understand. So I went outside, to the back, where we had our storage room, and when I came back, I said: “Nemáme!” [“We don’t have that!”] If my boss would have heard that, he would have been really angry with me! (laughs).
Because there was, you know the daughter of Ms. Steska. We always went, because she also went to school in Vernéřov, down together. She spoke a little German, not much … but still. And we always went home together from school, and she always said: “I have to wash nádobí [dishes]!” And I came home and told my mother: “Listen, mother, the Steskas wash their furniture every day!” She said: “No way, they are not that clean.” Instead of nádobí [dishes] I understood nábytek [furniture] … you know. Back then I mixed up everything. I always told my mother: “They wash every day, we only on Saturday evening, they wash them every day.” (laughs)
Well, little by little, because for two years, while I was doing my apprenticeship in the shop, I attend school, well, I could speak it a little …
We also raised her [granddaughter Ines] in German as well (laughs). I always turned on German TV on purpose … she was always grumpy: “I come to school and everybody has seen the same movie and I know nothing about it! I have to watch German TV!” (laughs) Well, now she’s glad, that she knows it – and even on a higher level, expressions and everything, she knows it better than I do.
There were no more problems with her learning German?
There were no problems, but at the beginning Ines always said, when we went to town: “Grandma, let’s not speak German!” She was a little bit … she usually didn’t speak a word in Czech with us. A Czech lady came to us for a visit very often, Kučerová was her name, you know. She said: “Why doesn’t she speak Czech when I’m here?” But she was used to speak German with us. But she [Kučerová] didn’t understand that. In the end she thought, she [the granddaughter] doesn’t speak Czech good enough or something … but we were already used to that.
Annemarie Goschala was born on November 5th 1934 in Vernéřov. During the war life wasn’t easy for the family: The father was drafted into the army, the mother had to care for herself and the children on her own. After the war the family had to stay in Czechoslovakia, because Annemarie’s father was needed as a skilled worker. Even though he was an anti-fascist, their house was confiscated and from then on the family paid rent for the house they formerly owned. For two years Annemarie Goschala was not allowed to attend any school - back then even buying food was difficult without knowing Czech. When she was finally allowed to enter school in 1947 she still couldn’t speak Czech and it took her a long time before she was able to communicate in a satisfactory level. After school she started an apprenticeship in a shop. In 1953 she automatically got the Czechoslovak citizenship.She married a man who had German roots like her; they raised their children in German. The family settled down in Kralupy. Two times they were forced to move – Kralupy was destroyed in 1976, they moved to Vernéřov. This town was also destroyed in 1989, the planned construction there was never carried out. After the death of her husband Annemarie Goschala moved in with her mother in Chomutov.