Franziska Krampfl

* 1931

  • We were already sitting on the cart with everything when my father climbed down again. There were barracks close by. And in those barracks was a Czech officer who wanted to take over our farmyard. He was the one who made sure we had to leave so quickly. My father told him: “I’m telling you, never let the livestock go down to the meadows, you can’t do that here!” Because the river Úhlava flows here and there’s a lot of moisture down in the valley so my father thought he had to warn him. We all thought we would be coming home again. That it wasn’t possible for them to just drive us out. And then he climbed up again and our stable boy drove us out to the camp, to Alžbětín. And then we were in the camp for eight days. I know very little about that. There were already some people from the neighbouring villages, from Hamry and a couple of people from a place we called Storn, that was between us and the barracks, more people lived there. Otherwise I can’t remember anything. We were in Alžbětín for eight days and then they transferred us into cattle cars and we rode past our yard, because that’s where the train tracks led, our farmyard was at Špičák before the tunnel. We rode past our yard, we looked at it and we all cried. And then we were on our way to Furth, we crossed the yard and arrived at the camp in Bamberk. And it was terrible there, it was terribly dirty in that camp, the cupboards were covered in mud, it was bad. I don’t know who lived there before us.

  • What I really hated at the time was the sign nailed to the station: “No transport of Germans and dogs!” That really got to me at the time, I’ll never forget it. That was nice. And then, when we went shopping, we actually had to wait for the Czechs to shop first, before it was our turn. That’s another thing I still know. Otherwise I don’t know anything. I didn’t live in the village, people from the village knew more, we had peace and quiet, we had been able to live in peace.

  • We also moved our things to Bavaria in case we were expelled. At the time it was… we were simply too young. I can only remember my brother. My big brother wasn’t with us then, he was doing forced labour in Bohemia, but the smaller brother went with us. Once he was so tired that my father told him: “No, sit down on this stool until we come back, then we’ll pick you up here.” And that was it, he slept there, because he couldn’t go any further. Yes, that’s how it was. But it was no good for us. It wasn’t far, it was in Lohberg, where we had stored our things. It was a war friend of our neighbour, that’s who we left our things with. It was close to the border. It was just a little way from us, we crossed over near Ostrý, from Malý Ostrý there was this path to the other side. They knew about it. There was always someone with us, smuggling us over.

  • We were on a field, my father and I, we were working on the potato field, and suddenly a young man walked in from a distance, he had some kind of paper in his hand which he gave to my father. And that paper said we were to be ready the next morning at eight, that we were to be expelled. And below that was written that as a result all German property would be confiscated by the Czech state. The end. That was dispossession. Our father unyoked the oxen and we headed back home. My brother was already there, he’d found out before us. They had sent him home early. And then we were home. Father said: “So tomorrow they will deport us!” We had nothing ready, no boxes, nothing. Things had just started going, we were in the very first transports. There was a sawmill nearby, he went to talk to the man there and said: “You have to knock me up some crates, we’re to be deported tomorrow and don’t have anything to take with us.” And he did it, hammering together some simple crates out of planks and that’s how it went down. Yes, it was bad. What did people take with them? They said fifty kilograms, food for eight days into the camp, we had to have supplies for eight days. That’s how it was back then.

  • Tief drin im Böhmerwald, da liegt mein Heimatort; es ist gar lang schon her, daß ich von dort bin fort. Doch die Erinnerung, die bleibt mir stets gewiß, daß ich den Böhmerwald gar nie vergiß. Es war im Böhmerwald, wo meine Wiege stand, im schönen, grünen Böhmerwald, es war im Böhmerwald, wo meine Wiege stand, im schönen, grünen Wald. Nur einmal noch, o Herr, laß mich die Heimat seh'n, den schönen Böhmerwald, die Täler und die Höh'n; dann kehr' ich gern zurück und rufe freudig aus: Behüt dich, Böhmerwald, ich bleib' zu Haus!

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    Neukirchen, SRN, 05.09.2019

    duration: 01:22:41
    media recorded in project The removed memory of Šumava
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What I hated the most was the sign saying: “No transport of Germans and dogs!”

As a young woman in Germany
As a young woman in Germany
photo: pamětník

Franziska Krampfl was born on 14 May 1931 in Hojsova Stráž (Eisenstrass in German) and spent her childhood in the municipality of Frishwinkel (Brčálník today). She comes from a family of royal freemen who had enjoyed a number of rights and privileges since the Middle Ages and even had their own coat of arms. She grew up on the Frischhof family farm and started school in 1937 while it was still Czechoslovakia, but even then they didn’t learn Czech, since there were no Czechs in the surrounding area. The Second World War impacted the region mostly by draining it of men, partially supplemented by foreign forced labour. However, her father, Josef Kelnhofer, was not required to enlist as he was proclaimed an essential person for economic reasons. In the last months of the war, Franziska remembers the transports of concentration camp prisoners and German refugees from the eastern regions. After the war the barracks closed to the farm were occupied by the Czechoslovak Army and the rumour started spreading that Germans would be expelled. In response, the Kelnhofers began moving their belongings across the border to neighbouring Bavaria. In May 1946, they were among some of the first to be deported via the Alžbětín (Eisenthal) camp, because the barracks commander was interested in the farm. Franziska’s first visit to Šumava following that was at the end of the sixties. She comes back there to this day and tends to her grandparents’ grave in Hojsova Stráž.