Arnošt Obst

* 1944

  • “Then there was the war, there was nothing else to do and my dad had to go to the war. And when I was born in 1944, in autumn of that year he actually saw me for the first and last time. What happened was that he had to go to the Russian front with the wehrmacht and allegedly he got within a distance of seven kilometers from Moscow. He was captured and he only contacted us in 1950 or 1951 from Germany after they released him; he had been somewhere in the Caucasus. His profession was a shoemaker, and the first thing that interested him in his first letter was where his tools were. Not how I was doing, but he was asking about his tools. And he wanted my mom to go to him to Germany. Well, my mom simply said that she had been searching for him since the end of the war, through the International Red Cross, and she wrote to Switzerland, and to the US Army command and the German army command, and so on, and there was no sign of him, until he contacted her himself. Well, my mom did not go there, nor did he come here. He was afraid of the communists. Well, they eventually divorced.”

  • “That was also the reason why dad told me back then in 1968 that if I wanted to, I could come to Germany and that he would help me. We already had little Renatka, and my wife was expecting, our daughter Lenka was to be born, and she said that she would not leave the country, because her mom was here and that we would stay here. Well, otherwise we would have probably left. I don’t regret that we didn’t go to Germany, even though there were times when it was not easy for us.”

  • “There used to be a racing circuit in Olivětín and we used to play soccer there, and we were going to the field to gather poppy seeds, and playing games; there were two old grannies living in a small house there, and we were going to frighten them. Dad then gave me a thrashing for that. It is all right, I would do the same today. We were all friends in Olivětín. In the evenings, we were going out, sitting on the benches and singing. And even boys five years older than us would sit down with us, sing and play games. We were going to the pond when it was frozen over during the time when they were cutting ice, and we would take our sledges and attach them behind the sledge that transported the ice. They were cutting blocks of ice from the pond in front of the beer brewery. They were cutting the ice and placing it onto the sledge and then pulling it up the hill and they had a kind of openings there and they were cutting the ice into smaller pieces on a special platform and throwing it into those openings and sending it down into the cellars. They were using it for cooling until the following winter.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    u pamětníka doma (Broumov), 28.11.2017

    duration: 01:20:46
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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When I was a little child, I didn’t care whether somebody spoke Czech or German

obst_dobove.jpg (historic)
Arnošt Obst

Arnošt Obst was born as Arnošt Špiske on May 8, 1944 in Křinice in the Broumov region into a Slovak-German family. Part of his family was thus deported from Czechoslovakia after the war and he never saw his paternal grandparents again. His father fought on the Russian front as a soldier of the German army, he was captured and the family only heard from him in 1950. Since he did not wish to return to Czechoslovakia and Arnošt’s mother refused to follow him to Germany, they eventually divorced. In 1955 Arnošt had his surname changed to Obst according to the surname of his stepfather. In 1968 he met his father in Germany, but he chose not to use the opportunity to emigrate due to his wife and children. When he served in the position of a member of the municipal council in Broumov, he contributed to the renovation of the local cemetery.