To live with the mark of Cain
Walter Sitte was born April 14, 1935 in Hrádek nad Nisou. He came from a deeply religious family. His parents were practicing Catholics and his uncle was a priest and his aunt was a nun. After the separation of the Sudeten region, Walter’s father refused the draft order to serve in the SS armed forces and he was sentenced to three years of forced labour as a result. After the outbreak of the war with the Soviet Union, Walter’s father was sent to the war front with a penal unit. He was severely wounded in combat near Stalingrad and after his recovery he was transferred to the western front where he then remained until the German surrender. He managed to escape from a transport of the captives and he returned home at the end of May 1945. Walter’s mother was bullied by the street leader of the NSDAP during the entire war and as Walter claims, it was mostly the families of Czechs living there who were helping her. As a child, Walter Sitte constantly had to deal with the conflicting issues between his Christian education at home and the Nazi-oriented education in school, including the enrollment in the Hitlerjugend. After the end of the war, the Sitte family was recognized as anti-fascists, but even though they held this status, Walter’s father still wanted to move to Germany. However, Walter’s mother refused. They continued to live in Hrádek nad Nisou where Walter’s father worked in a factory which produced threads. The family faced bullying due to their German nationality in the postwar period. They had to leave the house where they lived, Walter’s father’s salary in the factory was lowered, and his mother was not allowed to work at all. After being physically attacked by his schoolmates, Walter’s parents sent him to stay with his priest uncle in Radonice near Kadaň for a longer period of time. Walter Sitte apprenticed as an electrical fitter in the factory where his father worked. He became active in the Czech Youth Union and in order to be able to pursue his hobby - sports flying - he became a member of the Svazarm organization. In the mid-1950s he was confronted with the State Security, but he refused to cooperate with them. In 1956-1958 he did his basic military training in the Auxiliary Technical Battalions in the coal mines in Ostrava. After his return from the military service he married and he settled in Fulnek. Later he found a job in a quarry in Šumperk where he moved with his family. Walter had to face the StB again when the StB accused him of espionage. The persecution continued after 1970: he was dismissed from his job as a foreman in the quarry and assigned to work with furnaces for slaking lime. In the 1980s he attempted to establish the basic chapter of the Cultural Association of Citizens of the CSSR of German nationality in Šumperk, which brought about renewed attention in his person from the StB. After November 1989 Walter became involved in the activities of the Union of Germans in the Czech Republic.