Rudolf Hannawald

* 1932  

  • They came and we had to move into two rooms. Now, everything else belonged to them. We didn’t get anything at all. We had potatoes in the cellar, that got locked up and we had no access to them. I went to work as a farm hand to Mašek. He came from a mixed marriage, his mother was German. He took over the best farm in the village, it had been owned by the Pfeiffer family. He managed it well. We were friends, we talked in the Egerlandisch dialect, I took care of the horses, another one was from East Prussia, a former soldier who stayed here, he tended to the cattle. One day, the resistance took Mašek away, they claimed that he had been too friendly towards the Germans, and we never saw him again. He allegedly killed a pig without a permit, it was illegal, someone snitched on him. He had to go to Karlovy Vary for a court hearing and I then drove him back home in a horse-drawn cart. I always liked to ride to Karlovy Vary with horses, I had nice horses. Nice cart, too, decorated, I greatly enjoyed it that way. If it only could have stayed like that, that would be great. But it was not to last. The authorities knew that the Mašek family had friendly relations with the Germans so they had to leave. Those who took it [their farm] over, they disappeared one day as well. Mašek told me: ‘We have to leave, we are going to Mayerhöfen in Karlovy Vary.‘ I told him that the same move awaits us too. This way, many others left. More people left, they said that they couldn‘t tolerate the things that were going on there. Those were the good Czechs. We had good people among us and so did the Czechs.”

  • I was in the woods with my grandfather, in our forest, we wanted to fell a tree. At that moment, my sister Elka came and said that we have to go home because we needed to move out. To a camp to Karlovy Vary, Mayerhöfen. Those used to be army barracks and they lodged us there. We were there for two weeks until another order, we had to move on, on train, in cargo wagons. During those two weeks, there was barely anything to eat, just some soup and a bit of bread every day. We all lost weight and got a rash due to malnutrition. Then the order for departure came and the cattle wagons arrived to the Bavarian border, to Schirnding. Mom then exclaimed: 'Children, we are in Bavaria, God be praised!' We were really worried that we could have ended up in the Soviet zone. This was a great relief.

  • "We were not able to buy any food in the shop. When you didn't speak Czech, they wouldn't sell you anything. We were lucky that a nearby farm was taken over by Russians. There was a general, a well-built man, and we had a top hat, tail coat and a watch that belonged to our father so I brought it to him. He said chorosho and called a man who gave us a bag of flour. My brother Gerhard was there with me, he has already died. We were scared, though. We took the bag and went through the woods. Should the Czech see us, they would take the flour away from us. There was a lot of fear. We overcame it only after we were in Bavaria. Then the fear went away. We still longed for our home, though."

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    Rehau, 13.09.2019

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There was a lot to worry about before we got to Bavaria. Then, the fear disappeared but homesickness still remains

Rudolf Hannawald was born on the 2nd January of 1932 in Mezirolí where his family ran a small farm and a pub. Produce from their fields and orchards was supplied to hotels in Karlovy Vary. There were ten children in the family who joined in all sorts of tasks on their farm, especially after the death of their father in 1942. In 1945, a Czech administrator was assigned to their farm and he denied the Hannawald family access to all their food supplies. Mr. Hannawald talks about the relationship between Germans and the Czechs who kept moving to Meziroli after the end of WWII. In 1946, the family was expelled to Fristingen (nowadays a part of Dillingen an der Donau). In search of work, Mr. Hannawald moved to Lampertheim in Hessen where his sister lived. He still loves dearly the Cheb area where he comes from and thank to his activities in the Eghalanda Gmoin [Egerlander Gemeinde = Society of Cheb Area Natives], he met his current wife Elfriede. They live together in Neualbenreuth not far from Waldsassen close to the Czech border.