“As a child I ran through the streets along Soukenická. I remember there were little houses there where the Sagners lived, Fabinger and some other Germans lived. Some Germans who were displaced to the camp and didn't go to the Reich, returned from the camp but didn't go back to their former property. But they got some other type of accommodation after the Germans. I used to go to see them as a child. Very often. That is why I remember the windows with curtains and the flowers and the little gardens, it all was kept very well. It had not been ravaged at the time of my childhood yet. And then when I came back after twenty years, I was crying wherever I went. I mainly walked along the Black path down there, along the raceway so that nobody took offence at me. But I saw that the houses were decaying and there were so many Gypsies all around and everything was a mess. In comparison with what I remembered from my childhood it was a terrible shock to me. But as for personal relationships, I have to admit, I really had no problems. Sometimes I came across someone I know, which used to happen not so long ago. Well, for example I approached some people on a farm and I knew about them and how they treated the original owners. How they killed the farmer's wife in the stables and such. The woman knew that I knew so she shouted something at me over the fence. Some such gentle nuances. Every now and then I had an encounter like that but every time something like that happened, I tried to chicken out of it. That was why I had no problems with people here. Many people know me from the optician's where I later returned. I provided many people with glasses, I would meet them, and we would say hello to each other. It never happened that I would feel as a foreign person there, a strange element. There were definitely many more of us Germans there. Many people who stayed there, who intentionally tried to assimilate, they leaned towards the Czech culture. And then it was the time, for example in 1960-61, when the school headmaster or the deputy-headmaster Trenčínský put pressure on me for claiming a German nationality, that it was just a nonsense. They asked what was it good for. They said that it would be a very simple manipulation to write that I was Czech in my papers. Nobody would recognize that I was German, would they? It was not written on my forehead. But I told him that I had no reason to do it. Once they wrote that I was German in my birth certificate, I simply was German. When I was born to German parents, what reason do I have to pretend I'm Czech?”
“I was grew up as an unofficial village orphan in Teplice nad Metují till 1953, because my mummy died when I was not even two years old.... And it caused my father to start drinking. Because he was disabled, had two children, started drinking, and was a German on top of that, meant that he was absolutely deprived. And it would be a waste of money to put me in a children's home; me, a fascist child. No one was interested in providing for a German girl in a children's home. I had my eyes opened as a child as I was going through it all. Because of what happened, for example, when some friend took me home. We played together and slept in one bed. And then her father came. I can't remember what the time was but it was already dark. When he found out that I had shared a bed with his daughter, he started shouting that it was absolutely unacceptable and that they would not support some fascist sprog. So he simply grabbed me by the collar and made me leave. I was standing in front of the house not knowing what was going on. These are things that people normally know from films in the cinema today. But you see, when you view it as an adult or when you hear someone talking about how they treat the children, it breaks your heart. But the child that is directly involved; the child experiences it in a different way. If I was in shock in such situations, I don't know. But I simply didn't see it as cruelty. For example, when they were hunting me and threatening that they would drown me in the river Metuje and do who knows what lest to me, I always hid somewhere and waited till they calmed down. It would send shivers down my spine, I cannot deny that. But only later did I cry. And I asked myself how humans can do such cruel things to one another. Another time, there was a farm on a hill in Teplice and I played there with other children. They had a metal scooter and I wanted to ride it. Well, we fought over the scooter and then I remember that Mrs Palancová, a mother of one of the children, took me and stood me on the scooter. She held my hands on the handlebar, straightened my feet on the metal board, and she pushed me down the hill. Of course I crashed. I landed on all of the stones and rocks that were down there. Much later I realized that she wanted something bad happened to me...”
“I was born as Rathnerová. My father's family and his whole side, are perceived as true Germans. Despite all the trouble, my papers say that I am of German nationality. However, my uncle married Mrs Kleinerová, which is also a true German name but they were regarded Czechs. And therefore it means that my cousin is a Czech, he is of Czech nationality. It is all so mixed up that if somebody says about himself that he is German – others do not know what he is saying. Because also in my family tree there are – I don't know – the Prokops, he is not German; Žid, Kvasnička, they are Czechs. So it means that the Czech and German blood is absolutely mixed in me.”
“My grandmother and grandfather, who were displaced after the war, were not exactly poor; they were blacksmiths. They had a custom-fitted bed with bedsprings made for my parents. They had it made in the little cottage in Bučnice where I was born. After the displacement, when my parents could return to the little cottage then, the house was not inhabited because it was surrounded by forest – all of the valuables were gone, of course. And the bed was gone as well. My father couldn't work as a disabled person then. So he began delivering scutch. Scutch was brown sawdust particles and scraps of flax that people used as fuel at that time. So my father delivered the scutch. Once he came to a house and shouted: “Here I am with your scutch.” There was nobody in there so he walked through some of the rooms and upon entering one of them, saw his own bed. At that moment there came a woman that knew who he was perfectly well. So she understood that he knew about the bed. Well, it was bad for a while. Of course, if my father got riled up and angry, it would result in hostility and it would come back to us. But my father probably did not do that because the people's sons used to come to dance with me. Zdeněk speaks to me even today when we meet. Even if he grew up in my parents' bed.”
“My teacher Mrs Jirásková, nobody knows anything about where she is or what has happened to her. And here you can see how important it is in your life to have a good luck. If it were not her, who knows what it all would have ended up like. The teacher felt sorry for me for some reason and took me in. I remember that when I was coming to school she was already watching for me and she often took my hand. And she spoke to me, she could speak German. So I babbled German to her and she slowly replied to me in Czech. After school – at that time there was no rush to be home or at the railway station, so we used to walk. After the school we would sit down on a slope behind the school and she would teach me Czech. There was no mark in my first school report but at the end of my first school year there was an A already. As time went by I was lucky to have met a few more teachers like that who took me in.”
“Those who stayed here were mostly people who intended to improve the area and those who wanted to settle down in this region. I think that they found the work here to be rather difficult and that it took all their time. And also that it involved their whole families and their offspring, in order to improve what those before them destroyed. If the educated ones, who came there as a punishment, didn't like the country they later left when they could and went somewhere else. That is why, I dare say, there is a bad social life. There is tradition absent, there are roots missing here.”
Marianna Tomašovská, born Marianna Rathnerová, was born in the village Bučnice in North-East Bohemia in the region of Adršpach-Teplice Rocks on March 14th, 1947. Both her parents had German citizenship. In the difficult post-war period, her father lost his hand shortly after the birth of his daughter. Her mother died in December 1949. Except for her father and his brother, Augustin, all her relatives lived in Germany. Her father, as a disabled person without Czech citizenship and therefore without any social support, was not able to look after his daughter for a couple of years. Thus, the little Marianna grew up as a village orphan in Teplice nad Metují. Her father married again in 1957 and that enabled Marianna to come back to her family. They moved to Broumov.
Although she mastered the Czech language quickly and had excellent grades at school, she couldn’t study at Grammar School. Eventually she got to Brno where she graduated from the Secondary School of Nursing with a specialization in optics. After a couple of years working in Kladno and various other places, she returned to Broumov at the beginning of the 80s. She has lived there till the present day. After a temporary job at the railway, where she worked as a points woman, she got a job at an optician’s office in Broumov. She has been working there part time ever since. She has been divorced twice and has two children.
Even though Mrs Tomašovská was born after the war, she spoke only German until she was six years old. Her childhood was influenced by the fate of the German population so much that she can be rightly considered a child of the old Sudetes. As she herself says, the displacement had a “large negative impact full of uncertainties on [her] childhood and youth.” The interview with Mrs Tomašovská took place in the room with her family tree, whose oldest records reach back to 1750.