Jan Meixner

* 1925

  • "We were three boys – me and my two brothers, two and seven years younger than me. The youngest one was once grazing cows with other boys by the river, it was autumn and they made a fire. We always made a fire to bake potatoes. They found a grenade somewhere and they threw it into the fire. And because it didn't explode for a long time, my brother went closer and he poke it with a stick. And at that moment, it exploded and tore his stomach. He was dead on the spot.”

  • „One morning we got up and the commander said, "Hitler died." So we fired a final salute to him. We got into trucks and went to Upper Austria to be captured by the Americans, to avoid being captured by the Russians. Everyone was afraid of the Russians.”

  • "When we were released from the hospital, they told us we had to report to the nearest station. So our non-commissioned officer went to report us at one station and there were SS men. And the SS man asked, "How long have you been hanging around here?" The officer told him it was two or three days as we couldn't find the place. And the SS man replied, "If you were of our SS unit, I would have shot you dead immediately!" The SS men were this evil.”

  • „We retreated through Hungary and there we went up a hill. It was spring and the ground was slippery. So one horse fell on me. I couldn't get back on my feet, my ankle was broken. They took me by ambulance to Nový Dvůr near Hodonín. There was a temporary hospital set up in the former school.”

  • „When we were retreating, one group always went ahead and looked for a place where we could hide the horses and other things. Once we didn't make it when the enemy planes arrived. The pilots saw us, they came back in a moment and hit everything. We tied our horses down in a forest and ran to hide up the hill, where we were safe. But the horses suffered badly and some of them died.”

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    Staré Hobzí, 06.08.2020

    duration: 42:43
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I was happy to throw the rifle away

Jan Meixner during the filming on 6 August 2020 in Staré Hobzí
Jan Meixner during the filming on 6 August 2020 in Staré Hobzí
photo: Post Bellum

Jan Meixner was born on 21 May 1925 in Staré Hobzí near Dačice, close to the Austrian border. His father was German and his mother was Czech. As a German Reich citizen, he enlisted in the Wehrmacht in 1944. In the spring of 1945 he suffered injuries in Hungary. After a month spent in hospital near Hodonín, he was sent back to the trenches to fight the Red Army. However, the army was already in retreat at that time. He spent two weeks in a prisoner-of-war-camp under American command, he worked for half a year in a mill in Upper Austria, then he went to Vienna at the end of winter and he finally returned to Staré Hobzí in the spring of 1946. After 1948, he was forced to join the Unified Agricultural Cooperative (JZD), where he worked until his retirement.