Waltraud Vildová

* 1941

  • "There were French people there, as I learned, I didn't know they were French at the time. In the biggest farm only women remained. The old man was probably dead and the son who was to take over the farm was at war. And there were the prisoners. They slept upstairs in the hayloft. There were attic stairs leading up there, and my grandmother always said, 'That Frieda will go up there as long as she brings something.' And I was terribly curious about what she would bring. So one day I went up there to the hayloft too. There were only three of them then, and they sang to me, and one of them held me on his lap, but they didn't give me anything. At the end of the war, they were pulled out immediately. And the Frenchman, who liked Frida, searched for her in Germany through the Red Cross. They met, got married and had a daughter. She was already born in Germany."

  • "My grandmother told me that a procession of impoverished people passed through Miřetice. There was still a drummer in the village then, and he was always drumming out some news. So they were told through him that they had to go and watch them, but they were not allowed to give them anything to eat and they were not allowed to speak to them. My grandmother said they wondered where so many poor people came from all at once. They had no idea, they didn't know anything about any concentration camps."

  • "I remember coming home from school when our house was being taken. And that we were allowed to take our things, we were no longer dependent on the thirty-five to fifty pounds that the Germans could take before the displacement. We could take what we could fit on one barrow. But my mother had a new bedroom - and she wasn't allowed to take that. There was furniture in front of the house. And then my uncle came back from work, and he went back to the shaft again and brought a certificate that he was employed there, because a local decree had gone out in Radonice that the Germans who were staying, which were mainly those who worked on the shaft, it was not allowed to take anything from their property anymore. But the house was in my grandfather's name, not my uncle's. So we had to go. In the meantime, the furniture was being moved in again, until Uncle brought the receipt. And then he moved out again. And then it was getting late and there was nowhere to move us. The commissioner came, 'What are you still doing here?' And grandmother said, 'And how are we supposed to carry it? She was the spokeswoman of the family, she knew a little Czech. Then one of the Czech farmers loaded it for us and took it away. I walked with my grandmother, she took me by the hand, and it was getting dark, because it was October. Grandma was crying and I was jumping beside her with joy. I was happy that I wouldn't have to walk to Radonice to school."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Kadaň, 13.09.2023

    duration: 01:49:51
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - Ústecký kraj
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

They refused to take my mother to the cemetery because she was German

Waltraud Vild in 1956
Waltraud Vild in 1956
photo: Archive of a witness

Waltraud Vild was born on 13 December 1941 in the village of Miřetice near Vintířov in the Kadaň region into a German family in the house of her grandfather Josef Fuchs. The village was then inhabited only by Sudeten Germans. Waltraud Vild’s family was the only one left in the village after the post-war expulsion of the Germans, probably due to the fact that her grandfather Josef Fuchs was a social democrat and an opponent of Hitler and Nazism. Even so, the family lost their home in Miřetice and had to move to Radonice. Other Germans who did not go to the expulsion were also relocated there, many of them worked in the Radonice coal mines and were therefore needed. Mrs. Vild lived only with her mother, grandparents and her uncles because her father, Waldemar Höptner, was from Germany, where he met her mother Rosa, enlisted at the front and fell into British captivity. He remained there for two years after the end of the war. Although he sought to emigrate the whole family to Germany, only Rosa Höptner and her daughter Waltraud were allowed to do so. Rosa Höptner was hesitant and did not want to leave her elderly parents. Unfortunately, she died suddenly in 1948. Waldemar Höptner then asked the grandparents of little Waltraud if they could continue to care for her. He never saw his daughter again. Uncle Josef then became the guardian of little Waltraud. She lived through the occupation of Czechoslovakia in Germany, and in the days of August 1968 she was on her first visit to her relatives in Bärenstein. After her studies in agriculture, Waltraud Vild worked as an economist on a farm in Vintířov, from 1979 in the cultural centre in Kadan and after 1991 in the tax office, where she remained until her retirement. In 2023 she was still living in Kadan.