Otto Peschka

* 1933

  • "They all were afraid of Russians.All these convoys of German elderly men, women, mothers and kids. It was an awful sight, indeed. Those who lived in the countryside have had the hay wagon which was pulled by a bony cow or a horse fully loaded with all their belongings and the kids sitting on top of it. We were so sorry for those people. Those who lived in town and didn’t have any wagons, they went by train. And now the trains were completely crowded, that it was impossible to move or breathe there. And the crying and shouting children inside..."

  • "While we waited, some Czech officer passed by us. They always wore a tricolor to be easily recognized. He looked at my mom and said: Aren’t you Vera Vikova? Now they recognized each other. They used to be school mates on high school in Vysoke Myto located on the other end of Czechoslovakia. What a mere coincidence! He started asking my mom what she is doing there etc. And she told him that she married our father in the 30´s and that he is German and that’s why she is here today. She also told him, that she kept her Czech nationality, but she wasn’t sure whether she could or not. It has been simply told, that every German has to go, and since we were Germans too, we went. And that’s when he said: You know what? Go home all of you. I will stand up for you at the city hall office. I will tell them you are Czech and you won’t have to leave. What a relief for us and especially for our mom."

  • "No, it wasn’t forced to enter the Hitler Youth, but nobody would dare no to. It has been taken for granted when a child was 10 years old it automatically entered this association. I didn’t know a single boy or a girl who wouldn’t be a member there. But to be exact I have to add: There was a completely different public campaign in this CSM (former communist Czechoslovak Youth organization). They have had the know-how. They knew how to catch up the children’s interest and not only that. It started with the uniforms, right. They were organizing all kinds of outdoor activities, festivals...the uniform alone! I remember feeling so important when I put it on the first time. Everything that this Gobbels guy and his ministers planed and what they counted on worked out just perfect."

  • "It was expulsion in my case. I think the correct and fair word is expulsion. Withdrawal they call it only to make it sound better. You know that’s the false in it. It’s the same like when they were taking property and shops away from the people and would nicely call it nationalization. That’s the bottom line of it. Call the nasty acts by pretty names. It just was an expulsion and a crime."

  • "We had a public chorus performance in theater in Podmokly town. Now one of the boys was singing solo. Just imagine this - he was wearing the Hitler Youth uniform and was singing ´Run, Katie, run´ (Czech folksong)! I could believe my eyes. I didn’t know that boy, but I remember this event. And this is also a proof that it is not truth what they say today. There used to be some kind of disaffection toward the nationalism. Or at least not at my sight."

  • “Mrs.Teichman who lived next to us. She drowned herself. She tided up two three years old kids to herself...It was nice family. We all cried our hearts out for them. In another case, in another apartment building all of the tenants hanged themselves. We heard this all the time. Every day something happened. And one day it reached us too. Well, they raped our mom. Two scamps with guns, right in the office. They bothered my sister too. It was really awful time."

  • "I can tell you that we had no idea what is going to happen. It’s like your life is about to end or something like that, I don’t know how to describe it. It is hopeless, you feel like there’s emptiness all around you, it’s hard to describe the feeling. Later on we could see what it was - Nazism! It’s sad they we could find out only after the war was over. Only few people believe it today. Even my own wife couldn’t believe it, because she lived in different world, in Czech one, in Brno town. She just wouldn’t believe me that we didn’t know about the concentration camps. In fact, we knew they existed, but we didn’t have any idea about the barbarism inside. We didn’t! And those who knew (if there were some) must have been super careful."

  • "And then it was my grandma’s turn. Grandma lived one floor above our apartment. My sister went there using her own key. She didn’t find grandma though, instead she found our mom laying on the kitchen floor with the gas knob, the gas tank open...My sister thought that she was dead, she could smell the gas all over. Fortunately she was just unconscious. My sister opened all windows wide, pulled our mom in front of the window, and then she closed the gas tank and went to look for our grandma. It was big three bedroom apartment. She found grandma in the biggest corner room. She was hanged up on the balcony door. Nobody could help her anymore."

  • Full recordings
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    Černošice, 17.05.2006

    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

We thought the jeopardy was over, but no way! The worst was yet to come: the Czech gold-diggers came

photo: archiv pamětníka

Mr. Otto Peschka was born on May 30th 1933 as a son of the father Otto and mother Vera, maiden name Vikova. Despite the fact that his mom was Czech and legally kept her citizenship, at home they spoke only German. His parents ran a grocery store in Kamenicka Street in Decin town. The family resided at the same address. Although his father was already a little older man he must have served the army during the war. He was allowed to visit his family few times within his vacation. He (the father) spent the end of the war in France. He got to Hesse region in west-central Germany, and from here he tried to return to his family in Czechoslovakia. But they never allowed him to. He reunited with his wife again in 1960 after she received an official permission to move to West Germany. It was only by a lucky coincidence that Mr. Peschka and his family hasn’t been withdrawn. Under the pressure of the circumstances he learnt to speak Czech in only three months of time. But because of the stressful conditions in which he learnt the new language, he lost the knowledge of his mother language - German. Although he is able to understand everything he can hardly communicate fluently in German. Today he calls himself a former German. He considers himself to be an European.