Herbert Götz

* 1939  †︎ 2020

  • "We got to West Germany, to Augsburg through Wiesau. Augsburg because smart people of Nejdek had already made contact with the Americans, if it was possible for the transport from Nejdek, a textile town, to reach Augsburg, also a textile town. That worked. Thus, over seven thousand Nejdek citizens got to Augsburg and its surroundings in six transports, each with 1,200 people. It was an experience when we arrived at Augsburg railway station. I didn't know why Dad was hiding under the car and what he was doing there. But my dad was a well-known road cyclist, he won two Workers' Olympic games in 1928 and 1932. Even in Nejdek, he managed to dismantle his bike, fasten it under the wagon in which we rode, and thus bring it to Germany. He did it probably mainly to get me for road cycling, shortly afterwards he also enrolled me in the Wanderer Road Cycling Club in Augsburg, but unfortunately I never became a road cyclist."

  • "So, my parents, as anti-fascists, were not affected by the expulsion. But after all the other relatives were expelled, Mom and Dad decided to volunteer. So, we got to a non-Jewish camp, where we had to wait three weeks, because it was not easy to get to West Germany voluntarily. It was very tight in the transport. When one imagines that there were thirty adults in one cattle ranch ... For a child, this is a situation that cannot be handled quite well. One unusual situation happened to me. In Cheb, we stood at the train station and waited until dawn. One child, a baby, was crying and crying in our car. I understood it was because he didn't have water. But in the car we were locked up like animals and no one dared to go out, he knew it would be taken as an escape attempt and he would be shot. So, I signed up that I would do it as a child, that I couldn't imagine shooting at a child. My parents didn't want it, but I said no, that I would do it anyway, let them give me a cup. Then we set off the seal and I got water at the station. I thought it would work somehow. It was funny that I had only been outside for a while, and a Russian soldier with a bayonet came to see me, who immediately understood what was happening. He went with me to the well, filled the container with water and led me back to the car. The little child in the car calmed down and I was a little hero."

  • "We accomplished that the streets in Göggingen were named after places from our region, such as Nejdecká, Karlovarská Street. It was all our job. Our Heimatgruppe was of the opinion that we had to establish a museum, and we succeeded. The museum in Göggingen still stands today. When Göggingen was annexed to Augsburg in 1972, we agreed in the contract that the city of Augsburg would take over the support of our activities. Unfortunately, the old Heimatgruppe disintegrated, there was no one left who would want to continue with the activities. At that time, in fact, since 2004, I was the chairman of the working group of all associations in Göggingen (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Gögginger Vereine und Organizations, ARGE Göggingen), a total of 38 associations with more than 15,000 members. So, I thought, it must not happen that our Heimatgruppe disappears, it and the museum must continue to exist. I was looking for people to go with me, and I found Anita Donderer, who was willing to be the cashier, and Josef Grimm, who was willing to be the chairman when I would be his deputy. So, we created a committed team that filled the partnership between Nejdek and Augsburg with life. The former Heimatgruppe did not care much for contact with the current inhabitants of Nejdek. Some even claimed that whoever goes to Nejdek their legs would have to be cut off. But we said no, we have to revive it. Already after the Velvet Revolution, Anita and I tried to smooth the path and establish real contacts with today's Nejdek citizens. It was fortunate that the first post-revolutionary mayor was related to the subject, as his mother-in-law was a displaced German. That made it all easier for us. We also gained the support of the mayor of Augsburg, who supported this activity, and so it happened that since the revolution we have organized trips to the old birthplace. I went to Nejdek for the first time after the Velvet Revolution. I wasn't so interested before, I had a lot of other work. Then I got together with Mrs. Donderer and the initiative Children at the Time, Die Kinder von damals. When we take a bus from Karlovy Vary to Nejdek, we are completely different people, we are Nejdek people. And it's great, we just do it with our hearts. So, I believe that there is nothing wrong with that, we are just at home there. And so it should remain. After the revolution, Nejdek became the first Czech town to establish official contacts with former natives. When we found out how badly the local home for the elderly is equipped, we organized help. With the support of the mayor of Augsburg, we contacted similar facilities in Augsburg and found out if they had equipment, they already wanted to get rid of, but which could still be useful. So, we got very good hospital equipment to Nejdek. We really filled the partnership with life, there is a lot of commitment in it."

  • "I integrated very quickly. I started playing football, I was in the school football team, and so on. I just tried to get involved in everything, not to stand aside, so it was easier for me to make contacts. As a little schoolboy in Göggingen and then all my life I was looking for contact with other people, I wanted to get involved, go public. And with the other Nejdek people it was similar. About four thousand Nejdek citizens came to Göggingen and I must say that they moved the village forward. They quickly joined forces and formed a community to introduce themselves to the public. Thanks to them, the Friends of Nature were restored in Göggingen, a choir was formed where at first only the Nejdek people were. Bernov musicians, who were already very well-known at home, played at all events. Then they moved to Willenshausen's musicians. My grandfather was their conductor, then he was taken over by my uncle, my mother's youngest brother. They spread Czech music throughout the Augsburg region. It was a great thing, and in this way, they contributed to the fact that the original population could get the right picture of the Nejdek people and the Sudeten Germans in general - that they are people who can do something. Relations with the local population were good, but not everywhere. The Nejdek people were involved in communal politics, they had good ideas and moved the city forward. With their arrival, they strengthened the local Social Democratic Party of Germany in particular, the social democrats from Nejdek were very active. Since 1949, they were regularly elected to the city council."

  • "I was seven when the war ended in 1945. I remember some events from that time. My father always wanted to teach me to ski. He had skis made by a local carpenter, I tried them in the winter of 1945/1946 and for the first time I skied downhill from Horní Bernov. However, I had such a bad experience there. One Czech man who had a little boy stopped me and took my skis. I know that at that time it was said that we must not resist the Czechs, we must not defend ourselves. For me, this was a terrible and very bad experience that I will never forget."

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    Rehau, 15.09.2019

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People connect when they achieve something together

Herbert Götz
Herbert Götz
photo: Post Bellum

Herbert Götz was born on January 30, 1939 in Bernov near Nejdek in Ore Mountains. Both of his parents worked in the NWK factory (Neudeker Wollkämerei, the Nejdek wool mill). As anti-fascists, they did not have to leave to Germany after World War II, but they decided to leave voluntarily. In July 1946, they arrived in Augsburg by transport and their new home was to become nearby Göggingen. It was this village that significantly increased and came to life with the arrival of the Nejdek people. As a small boy, Herbert Götz tried to be actively involved in everything, which made it easier for him to integrate into his new homeland. After graduating from the university in Augsburg, he became an official in insurance, and he also devoted a large part of his professional career to trade unions. In addition, he participated in the running of numerous associations and organizations of civic life. He received a number of awards for his activities, for example in 2010 the Medal of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Together with Anita Donderer and Josef Grimm, he builded a partnership with Nejdek. Herbert Götz died in 2020.