Hubert Kirchner

* 1936

  • “It was already in May. An airplane arrived and boom: it dropped a bomb there. I don’t know what kind of airplane it was, because the German soldiers were still there. They had horses in the yard. They didn’t hit the yard, but the bomb dropped some two hundred meters from it.”

  • “We fled from Heřmanice, because the Poles were already wreaking havoc there. They assumed control. Especially those people who had been assigned there to work with the farmers. They wanted to imprison our mom. Mom said that they had a sewing machine there and one of the transmission belts was missing. They were cursing her and asking where it was and threatening to imprison her. She came home and she said that we were leaving. That we were going to Czechoslovakia. We thus ran away and that was it.”

  • “We were in Horní Heřmanice for a while, probably until September, and then came the order to leave the Czechoslovak Republic. We all went to Klodzko. We arrived to Hraničky. There was a Czech mayor in Vilémovice, and he told us: ´Don’t go there. Stay here in Hraničky.´ Fine. That was in September, we spent the winter there and we stayed there until May, and then an order came: ´Get out of here, we don’t want you here.´ And so we went to Klodzko. The Poles let us stay for one night. ´Then go back.´ They led us back. We walked to the schoolhouse in Hraničky, where we had been accommodated before, we cooked some potatoes and we had a meal. Then there came an order written in German that we were to leave Czechoslovakia immediately. We thus went to Bernartice; there is the lower village there, which is called Heinersdorf in German. We stayed at the border. They walked with us all the way to the border, and the policemen had rifles with bayonets. There we waited what would happen. Suddenly the Poles disappeared, and so did the policemen with the bayonet, and that was it. We stayed there. So we walked back and that was it.”

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    Kobylá nad Vidnávkou, 13.08.2014

    duration: 01:39:40
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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Hubert Kirchner
Hubert Kirchner
photo: archiv pamětníka

  Hubert Kirchner was born January 2, 1936 in the German village Kamnitz (present-day town Kamienice in Poland), which was located in the Prussian part of Silesia at that time immediately next to the border with Czechoslovakia. His parents were German nationals just like the vast majority of local inhabitants. His father died in wehrmacht in March 1945. Hubert’s mother thus remained alone at the end of the war with three little children. In order to flee the advancing front, they moved to Hubert’s grandparents in the village Ober Hermsdorf (now the Polish town Jasienice Górna). The arrival of the Soviet armies did not have any significant impact on the family, but right after the war the local Poles were allegedly retaliating against the Germans who lived there. The mother and children therefore escaped to Czechoslovakia. For several months they lived without any means in the now defunct village Hraničky (Gränzdorf in German) in the very centre of the Rychlebské Mountains. In spring 1946 the authorities ordered the family to leave the country, but they were immediately turned back from Poland. Accompanied by armed policemen they were taken to the border again, but the Polish officers again did not accept them. As refugees they were not included in the deportations of Germans, and the family thus remained in Czechoslovakia. In 1951 they tried to request later relocation to Germany, but their application was not approved due to the local labour shortage. Hubert Kirchner now lives in Kobylá nad Vidnávkou.