Werner Hentschel

* 1945

  • "[The year] sixty-eight - interesting: first in Russia, where we were on... It was supposed to be a student exchange trip. And when we returned, in Čierná pri Čope on the Slovak border, Brezhnev and his "suite" were negotiating with Svoboda, Dubček, Černík and Kriegel. And we came from Moscow by train and they came to a train and said ‘Everything will be fine. We agreed, everything will be great!' So, I arrived home at half past two in the morning, changed my suitcases and went to Germany, the West, for three months to practice. The parents were shocked, you could say, because it was fourteen days before the occupation. It wasn't known yet, but we already knew it here, because the forests around here were full of Russian soldiers. Tanks ready, artillery just across the border. They had been lying there ready for a week. Well, I was in practice in Germany. I experienced the de facto 21st August in Baden Wittenberg there at the Forest Apprentice School, where I was with another Slovak colleague, from Zvolen, also from the Faculty of Forestry. He was there at the same time."

  • "Those state borders, the wires were barbed here and we worked behind the wires, in the morning we were let in there at eight o'clock by the border guards, who had here, among other things, headquarters at school and at the post office in Liščí. The buildings are no longer standing there. So, they let us to the back there and at that time there were only two chainsaws for the whole forest factory in the whole Šluknov hook and Mr. from Lipová had bought tickets to Šenov to the cinema with his acquaintance. He was single, it was with an acquaintance, and it was four o'clock, no one came to let us out through the gate. It was half past four, so he was already getting nervous because the cinema started at six o´clock in the big Šenov and so we simply climbed over the wires. Well, it was about half past six, the Gaz 69 [military passenger off-road vehicle] braked hard in front of the house, two soldiers jumped off, they knocked on the house if I was at home. This was still at the time when West Berlin was, before the wall was built, so it was possible to go to West Berlin... ‘He is! At least one of them is at home! Where is Mr. Mistr Joseph?” His name was Mister as Joseph. I say to the soldier: he is in the cinema in Šenov. You really think we would spend the night there behind the wires? So, they went there to Šenov anyway, they had him summoned. They were relieved. Because if we ended up in Berlin they would really be in trouble.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Liščí (u Šluknova), 23.09.2018

    (audio)
    duration: 02:18:18
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    Liščí, 23.01.2020

    (audio)
    duration: 45:33
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The country is worth the effort

A photograph of Werner Hentschel from the University Index
A photograph of Werner Hentschel from the University Index
photo: Identity photo

Werner Hentschel was born on November 24, 1945 in Lipová in the Šluknov hook. Until 1945, practically only German-speaking inhabitants lived in the village, who were almost all displaced after the war. Werner’s parents exempted the expulsion as they were important for maintaining the local industry. Werner was inclined to work in the forest and, despite dossier obstacles because of his origin, he achieved a university degree in forestry. Due to his knowledge of German and his intelligence quality, he was offered a job in the spying service, which he refused. The peak of his career was the position of the administrator of the Elbe Sandstone Protected Landscape Area, when his work was highly regarded, he contributed to the declaration of the Czech Switzerland National Park. He has been involved in the restoration of monuments during his retirement.