Eduard Hones

* 1937  †︎ 2014

  • “My uncle lived next door. He had two daughters. One day they got a notice to be ready on a certain day and on that day they had to leave. They were taken to an internment camp in Dlouhá Ves. This was in June 1946. So they opened the gates of their farm and let the cows out on the fields. The cows were then mostly adopted by someone else. There was a state administrator, some Lejsek, who was in charge of the abandoned property of the Germans. He was involved in shady business with the property and finally had to flee abroad as well because the Germans who had already gone to Germany were after him. Finally, he had to go all the way to Canada. I also remember one meeting which took place in Polaufovna. At this meeting they were trying to persuade the remaining Germans to stay because they needed them for the work in the forest. This was at the end of 1945. There was one girl, her name was Klostermann. She worked in Voldřich’s pub. She was a very pretty girl. There were two Czechoslovak soldiers who wanted to date her but of course only one of them could date her. They had motorcycles there and the one released the air from the tires of the other one. But they thought that the Germans who had attended the meeting did it. So they let them line up outside and threatened them with shooting every second man if they didn’t confess who had done it. They were saved by that girl who told them that the soldier had actually done it. My father told me this story. The Germans were so frightened by this incident that they left the next day – the entire village of Filipova Huť left to Germany. They only had to cross the nearby border and gone they were. So things like this made many people leave voluntarily.”

  • “My father was in the war as well. Being a German, he had to enroll. He came back home in the summer of 1945, from Bavaria. He was lucky – he got frost bitten on his feet and lost his toes. Thus he didn’t have to go to fight on the Eastern Front at Stalingrad. At that point they were transferring most of the soldiers to Stalingrad but he evaded it. Subsequently, he worked as n assistant worker in Germany. He could also come home more often from the labor camp where he worked as an electrician. Before that, he was with the anti-aircraft defense – I remember that he had a blue uniform.”

  • “This mostly started after 1948. It wasn’t really happening that much here but mostly to the south, around Zadov. Many of the people there would smuggle people across the border. It was mostly people coming from Prague. I know that a guy called Voldřich was involved in it. Later on, I worked with him in the forest. After he was revealed, he was arrested and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. However, he only got nine years after all and finally only served four and a half. Additionally, he was deprived of all of his citizen rights. On the other hand, he didn’t have to do compulsory military service. He wasn’t given permission to go to the other side and only had to work in front of the fence. They would help the people cross the border. The people who wanted to cross came from Prague to Zadov and stayed for the night. They arrested pretty much everybody in Zadov for smuggling people. Voldřich worked with horses at the Stach family and they came at night to arrest him. They learned about him from a secret agent who made it to the other side and learned his name from the people he had helped to cross the border. Then all they had to do was to come to Zadov and take them with them. Pretty much everybody in Zadov was involved in it in some way because they paid well. It was mostly wealthy people from Prague. Voldřich had four motorcycles and he was taking them across the border. They set out from Zadov and crossed to Finsterau.”

  • “The local population was German. Therefore, after 1945 the majority of it left to Germany. For instance, the people from Filipova Huť, they left nearly all. Some even took their cows with them. But the people from our village didn’t really want to go so most of them stayed here. At that time there was great poverty and misery in Germany. Those who could thus stayed and so did my family because my mother wanted to stay here. Later on, we made a request to leave but they wouldn’t let us go.”

  • “In the beginning, it wasn’t that tightly guarded, yet. That’s why they built the wire fence here in 1953. Me and my father, we would come here with the horses and we had to haul lumber to Březník where they were clearing the ground for the electricity. We had our horses tethered in the forest and we ate with the soldiers at Březník. That was before they built the fences. Afterwards, it was forbidden to go there. There were black plates marking the restricted area. You could only go there in the company of the members of the border guard. They soldiers were guarding us when we worked. The foresters had to report every visit of the restricted area. We stayed at Roklan, where we had built the stables and we pulled the lumber there and went to eat to their place. They cooked very well and it was cheap. Some of them died there as well. They always went on a patrol in a group of two people and sometimes it happened that one guard shot the other and fled across the border. Some of them went to the border guard with the plan to escape from the country. I know of two or three cases when this happened.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Horská Kvilda, 02.06.2012

    duration: 02:03:11
    media recorded in project Iron Curtain Stories
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

The creation of the Iron Curtain must have cost a fortune – you could have an awful lot of hospitals for that money!

Clipboard01.jpg (historic)
Eduard Hones
photo: Archiv Eduarda Honese, Jan Kotrbáček

Eduard Hones was born on February 12, 1937, into a large family of a forest worker of German nationality living in the settlement of Horská Kvilda – at that time a purely German enclave in the Šumava Mountains (Böhmerwald). During the war, his father was drafted to the Wehrmacht, however, he managed to evade the transfer to the Eastern Front and returned safely home. Soon thereafter, Eduard witnessed the voluntary as well as forceful departure of many of their neighbors and relatives to Germany. Some of them were deported, many others left freely after they had seen the first acts of vengeance against the German population by the armed forces of the new state. Others still left because they could see where Czechoslovakia was headed. The Hones family finally decided to stay in Czechoslovakia because they came to the conclusion that the war-ravaged Germany was a bad place for life. Like many others, they changed their minds later on but at that point, it was already too late as the state authorities wouldn’t let them leave anymore. Subsequently, Eduard was destined to make a living as a forest worker which entailed strenuous manual labor, working close by the infamous Iron Curtain, often in the immediate presence of the soldiers of the border guard. The smugglers allegedly avoided Horská Kvilda but its inhabitants were well informed about the cases, for example from nearby Zadov. Eduard spent almost all of his life working in the forest. Later, he also worked as the caretaker of the local recreational center and ran a shop and a restaurant in Horská Kvilda. Finally, he became the mayor of his native village and held that position for a number of years. He died on the 19th of October, 2014.