Ernst Nodes

* 1944

  • In 1964 I returned to my old homeland for the first time, to that village, with my parents. And they’d built one big agricultural co-op in the village, all the farms’ stables and barns had been torn down. People were allowed to live there, but not to do any farming. Everyone was employed with the co-op. And those were all newcomers? Yes. They weren’t from the area at all, we talked to several of them at the time and asked. Most of them back then had come in from Slovakia. They’d just been placed here. And we understood ourselves how hard it was for them, since they had no idea about farming, but had to do farm work. The results were very, very bad, you could see that for yourself.

  • In my village of birth in the middle of the place there is a little chapel, about three or four metres large. On it is a small bell tower, and that chapel: well, you can see it’s been through a lot. Those before me and myself, we tried to get support for its repair. We contacted the mayor of Hořice, he was open to the idea, he made an effort, submitted requests. Two or three months ago I got the message that the repair has been approved and a few weeks ago work has started, they’ll repair the chapel again. And the mayor also thought, because the bell tower used to have a little bell, well he thought it would be nice to put another bell back there again. And that’s when I told him I’d try to find such a bell. And now it looks like I’m going to succeed.

  • The whole transport, i.e. the move from our birthplace to the arrival at our future home took exactly two months. We travelled for two months, spending most of our time in a cattle car.

  • And my mother always said that in the last camp we were in, in Backnen, my health was so bad that if we hadn’t left soon, she always said I wouldn’t have made it. She was really expecting the worst.

  • My mother talked about it a lot. Those camps – you could say that by today’s standards those camps were completely inhumane. The food was frugal, not worth much. And then she often talked about what it was like in the other camps, how the insects got at them, lice, bedbugs and all kinds of things which made their stay worse.

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    Neukirchen, Německo, 31.08.2019

    duration: 54:01
    media recorded in project The removed memory of Šumava
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I’ll provide a bell for my village of birth

Ernst Nodes, Neukirchen 2019
Ernst Nodes, Neukirchen 2019
photo: Natáčení

Ernst Nodes was born on 31 July 1944 in Šebanov (German Schöbersdorf) which is part of the market town of Hořice na Šumavě (Höritz) in Český Krumlov District (Krumau). His father was Franz, his mother Maria, née Stöffel, both from Schöbersdorf. In July 1946 the whole family (mother, grandparents from both parents’ sides, uncle and aunt) were deported. The deportation took two months and the family spent the entire time together in a cattle car. Little Ernst almost didn’t survive to the last stop. The family was placed in Obersteinbach near Heilbronn, where their father joined them, after three years as a prisoner of war. Ernst Nodes completed his primary education there, received training and then moved 15 kilometres away to start a family, where he lives to this day. His whole life he has worked in the automotive industry and is active in compatriot associations. Among other things he is lobbying to renovate the chapel in his former home village.