Renata Hillmannová

* 1933

  • "Then the Polish said we had to leave, that we had to go, that they would take us to Germany. They gave this part of territory to the Germans, so we will go to Germany. It was supposed to happen sometime in March, but the Poles were staying with us probably since July, I don't know exactly. We already knew that. We were still at home during the winter. Then my mother and her sister said, 'Are we going to take the train to Germany or are we going to go to Czechia?' We were really told that we could come, as we were right next to it. About six thousand people came from our region, a lot of them came here. Those who went with the transport to Germany, they missed everything terribly. Because Germany was broken and people didn't want them there. So many people came, they had to go to some farmer and they didn't have a good start. On the other hand, we had a good time here."

  • "Three men came, my grandmother and I were there. We didn't speak Polish and they kept showing us the keys, they kept asking for some keys. We didn't lock the door much at home. I just thought I must have locked upstairs and I went to my mother's parents' house. When my mom and I got home, our apartment was already sealed, so we couldn't go in anymore. We were all shoved into one big room to a tenant. She was an elderly lady, she was there with us the whole time, then she was displaced, transferred. We stayed with that lady, but my mother's parents took us children, they didn't have any Poles in the house. They had a cottage, so there wouldn't even be enough space for them."

  • "He was a locksmith. Maybe it was an aircraft engine factory, I don't know exactly what it was back then during the war. He didn't have to go to war, he worked there until the end of the war. But there were such air raids that everybody died in the basement, only he and two others survived, as they were in this little corridor. Otherwise he wouldn't have survived. He came home and never went back. And the war was over."

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    Velké Poříčí, 24.04.2023

    duration: 01:15:22
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The Poles took our house, our furniture and even my sister’s doll

With her husband Vilém Hillmann, wedding photo, 1958
With her husband Vilém Hillmann, wedding photo, 1958
photo: Contemporary witness's archive

Renata Hillmannová was born on November 18, 1933 in Slané (Schnellau) in the Czech Corner, a territory near the border with the Czech Republic, which now forms part of Poland. Her father experienced the air raids in Dessau and was captured by Soviet soldiers after returning home in 1945. He returned from captivity in 1947. In June 1945, two Polish families occupied their house and they were only left with their clothes. In the spring of 1946, she left with her mother and sister to stay with their relatives in Horní Rybníky. She finished primary school in Czechoslovakia and then worked at the MEZ and Tepna factory in Náchod. In 1958, she married Vilém Hillmann and they had one daughter together. They regularly visited relatives in East and West Germany. They didn’t apply for Czechoslovak citizenship until 1974. After 1989, she attended the annual reunions of the original inhabitants of the Czech Corner. In 2023 she was living in Náchod.