Josef Nosiadek

* 1923  

  • “I would always thank him that he hit me, because I was happy about it. I wanted to return home without a leg, arm or eye, at that time I would’ve taken it. Nobody can imagine what it was like there. Nobody! Freezing. Forty degrees below zero was normal. It was in 1942, the winter was terrible. And hunger, we were going hungry. Poor guys. I was lucky that a bullet hit me in front of Stalingrad. This way I got out of there and I haven’t been sent there again.”

  • “I was not imprisoned. Only later they made up a cause and they created the auxiliary technical battalions, or VTNP – military camps of forced labour. They sent me there. It was as if I had been admitted to a university, I was the only one in the cell without an academic degree! Whom I respect most were the monks. What great people they were! These political losers who were teaching us political education were just scum, brainwashed blokes. We kept looking at our feet, because one was ashamed for the rubbish they were saying.”

  • “This is St John’s chapel, and had it not been for St John here, we would’ve been Polish today, because we wouldn’t have been attached to Czechoslovakia. Hať and Píšť. This statue of St John was erected around 1760. The year is carved here. The inscription says: From the generosity of poor people this statue of St John of Nepomuk was erected here in this year. A committee came, there was a British, a French, a German, a Czech and an Italian. There were five officers. As they walked by they pointed to the statue, noting that it was written in schwabacher script, but in Czech. They also noted that the majority of gravestones in the cemetery had Czech inscriptions. Svoboda and other well-known people were there representing the Czechs. Obviously when Hitler came, our guys were given names by their fathers. And when the Germans came, these people went and renamed the streets. The Main Street was now Adolf Hitler Strasse and they changed street names like this. And when they came, the men from Ratiboř, for it was the Ratiboř district, came and said that this street could be named St John Street as well. But the mayor, the party head, refused, saying that it was the St John who gave them away. And obviously they had the inscription removed.”

  • “I arrived by this train to Žamberk and Mrs. Suchomelová and her two daughters exclaimed: ´Pepíček! You’re alive! Oh, I’m so happy.´ They were shaking. I looked up and there was my sister Zikmundová sitting there. Eyes full of tears. We embraced and suddenly I felt somebody hitting my shoulder and handcuffing my hands. And since I was deft and fit, I kicked one of them in his ass and closed the other one and asked them: ´What do you want?´ There were three of them and four others were standing on the road. They took my clothes right there. In May it was warm, nice weather. They took everything I had in my pockets. Then I had to put my clothes on. I had a nice small album from the front. Memories from all these places. They took it and they led me to commissar Karfreitag, the head of the National Front. A Jew. It was the people’s committee office. I entered: ´He’s a German! Shoot him!´ I said: ´Fine, what’s there to do. Shoot me then.´ I said to this Karfreitag: ´Where is the Soviet command here? You have no right to take me. But the Soviets do, because it was them who were fighting against me, not you. Anyway, where were you? I don’t care. You have no right to take me, because I haven’t done anything wrong. I had to.´ - ´Let him go then!´ And I went. But, to make things worse, there was some uproar in the place where the Russians were. Vodka and all that. And a guy comes to me, he’s about thirty, looks at me and says: ´Aren’t you Nosiadek?´ I said: ´Why, yes, I’m.´ - ´I served in the barracks in Hlučín,´ he told me. I think his name was Slíva. And so I joined them, the Russians. He took a large glass, filled it with vodka which smelled of kerosene, and as soon as I gulped it, I thought I was going to piss myself.”

  • “When I was on the front, fleas, hunger and cold were the worst of all. Not the grenades, you got used to them. A friend was with you and he had both legs. And then he had only one or none at all. It’s horrible, nobody can even imagine. I was in the infantry and that’s the worst of all, because you’re right in it. You’re looking into his face and he is looking into yours. I don’t even like to remember it.”

  • “There were thousands of people. Soldiers, civilians, and - imagine that - women were walking the streets again. They had wooden boards as sandals, with nails nailed into them, and they were walking on these nails. The river was all red. And these Czechs reputed for their humanity, you think they are good people? What these bastards did is true. They were cutting people’s eyelids.”

  • “We got to Breslau when we were sent there with the Volkssturm. There was a massive defence. There were so many troops. Trams were turned over, and just about everything in the streets was turned over. There were twelve of us with the officer and we turned tail. It was winter, and we found some pelerines left by the Russians and we put them on. And the Russians were not shooting at us, because they thought that we were Russians. This way we got back to the Germans again. Then we ended in Lusatia. There was a terrible battle, it was horrible. There was a fortress. The way we thought about it was: ´We don’t give a damn about fighting. And if somebody wanted to fight us, we shoot him in the heel or ass.´ We wanted the war to end and to save our lives. This was our goal. We haven’t survived because we were so smart, it was good fate, and we as if squeezed through an eye of a needle, because Breslau was so massively surrounded.”

  • “They were all murderers there. A grammar school principal from Těšín was also imprisoned there and he saw immediately that I was a political prisoner. He told me: ´There are only two of you. Except you there are only murderers and thieves and so on. I have to give you some advice.´ He was walking in front of me and I followed him, and all the time for about half an hour he was advising me what to do. ´When you come to the cell and they will be brewing tea and all this nasty stuff, do everything with them. The best and most frequent words are fuck and cunt. You also have to speak like that.´ I said: ´This can’t be! How can I do it?´ - ´Most of all, do not inadvertently mention that you are a political, or you won’t get out of here.´ Because these prisoners were communists, all sorts of rogues. And they despised us, because we were as if above them. And the wardens liked it this way. They would always make it known it and the man would then die. In an accident or something. And had it not been for this gentleman, I wouldn’t have gotten out of the prison alive.”

  • “Two of them arrived on a motorcycle. The visors on their hats looked like half-moons. It was the field police. Idiots. We listened to them. Why are we here, why are we not fighting while the front is standing there. The oberleutnant says: ´Josef, it’s up to you. You’re the youngest. So, what shall we do with them?´ I replied: ´Do away with them.´- ´Completely?´ - ´Yes.´ I said: ´If the other guy gives up and /leaves it, we will let him live.´ They began pulling handcuffs, wanting to take us to Schörner (marshal Ferdinand Schörner, infamous supporter of illegal executions of German soldiers suspect of desertion, auth.´s note), and Schörner will sentence us. For the first time I saw the lieutenant smash somebody’s mouth with his fist. And I kicked the other guy’s ass. The non-com from the field police came from China, his name was Helé. We held a trial over him. There were twelve of us, all had their guns cocked and all fired at him, he looked like a strainer. We really turned him into a strainer. He was smashed to pieces. All of us emptied the whole magazine into him. He was just smashed to pieces. He deserved it. He came all the way from China.”

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    Píšť, 26.08.2010

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One had to have courage and strive to stay alive

Josef Nosiadek, wehrmacht
Josef Nosiadek, wehrmacht
photo: http://www.hultschiner-soldaten.de/__cz/mensch.php?id=4308

  Josef Nosiadek was born in 1923 in Píšť in the Hlučín region. After the Munich Agreement this region became a part of the Third Reich and the male population had to join the German army. Josef Nosiadek was at first assigned to R.A.D. and sent to Norway to dig covers for German cannons. In May 1942 he was drafted to the wehrmacht and he was assigned to an infantry regiment in Frankfurt am Main. After training in Metz he was sent to the eastern front. He spent 18 months in the Soviet Union and he got to the city of Voronezh. Many of his friends died in combat and he was seriously wounded several times. He was also affected by a dysentery infection. After his second injury he was taken to Krakow. When he recovered he was to be sent back to the USSR, but at the last moment he was selected for a school for non-commissioned officers in Lamsdorf. Completing the study he remained in the school as an instructor. Some of his students were Volkssturm soldiers. At the end of the war he took part in fighting for the town of Breslau as a commander. He was very lucky to get out of the surrounded city and he eventually lived to see the end of the war in Bad Schandau. In order to avoid captivity, he undertook a dramatic and arduous journey home. On his way he was captured by revolutionary guards in Žamberk and led to his execution, but he saved his life only thanks to his acumen. In Žamberk he also witnessed atrocities done to local German women. After his return home he was hiding for some time and then eventually reported to the commandery in Dolní Benešov. After the situation stabilized he became the head of the Social Democratic Party in Píšť and he was very outspoken in criticizing the Bolshevik regime. He was arrested for his activism in February 1948 and taken to Kroměříž for interrogation. In 1950 he was secretly transported to a military camp of forced labour (VTNP). He was illegally interned behind barbed wire in camps in Dolní Životice and Karviná for four years. After his release he continued meeting his friends from the Social Democratic Party and VTNP. In these joint meetings they were discussing the future political regime and the establishment of a so-called middle party, which they publicly promoted. This democratic stance brought him a one-year prison sentence, which he served in Heřmanice where he was working in the coal mine Generalissimo Stalin. This occurred after a large amnesty, and therefeore there were only two political prisoners among the inmates. He worked in several jobs after his release and he currently lives in Píšť.