The Strakonice Refugee Camps
The following information written below was shared by the archivist in Trebon. It has been translated by my co-worker into English.
So far I found out about the wooden houses that were built on the road to Radomysl. This road goes to the place called Radomysl (a nearby Czech town) that was originally built to house laborers. They housed people that were called “national guests”. These being the German and Hungarian refugees.
The “national guests” were meant to be citizens of German nationalities that were running from the advancing Soviet armies. Among these Germans were the previous eastern part of the Reich, so today’s part of Poland but also Hungarians.
Hungarians began coming to Strakonice in the beginning of Oct. 1944. The German immigrants came to Strakonice in several waves. Attached are a few scans from the local chronicles from the city of Strakonice and the little city Steken. These chronicles are digitized and can be seen on the internet. In the name of the attachment is the number where you can see the report. However, to this point I was unable to find any photos of the wooden houses. I also looked in the local newspapers but no success.
You can only find a little news such as Germany is withdrawing and is taking a better position. There is no dot or comma about German immigrants. In the front of the county national office of Strakonice, were found some immigrants only as early as May 1945. (Those are the lists that are mentioned in the previous blog article). But there is no mention of the name of Gralla.
The central location for the camps for the German immigrants was in Strakonice are also for a later date from the second half of 1945-46. I received some material from the local Mayor’s office and was told that they will still look into the notes of the mayor’s office of Strakonice and also into the county office of Strakonice. These are the last two places that were available sources to check.
Note received following day from the archivist:
Hello, I unfortunately was not able to find anything more. I found one entry from the mayor’s office of March 1945 where is mentioned the immigrants which I am sending in the attachment. I am so sorry I can not help you more.
Because all the school rooms were prepared for German immigrants, they prepared hay beds on the floor, things that the animals fed from, straw and so forth. So they could live there and also in the rooms of the inns and restaurants so there was no school held then because the areas were taken by the immigrants.
So at the railroad station was a train with Hungarian soldiers-who worked at the railroad and their families. Wagons full of stolen things and ammunition were there. On the 15th of March the migrating birds came back, the 17th frost.
They bombed the railroad and people were killed. Part of the Hitler Youth left. Nice days, short storm and rain and new immigrants came from Wratislaw, with them 350 pairs of horses. They are cooking for the Germans in the Chateau, school and in restaurants. Because during the War a lot of laborers came to the city and they didn’t know what to do with them, so they built on the meadow by the road to Radomysl, behind the city, wooden barracks that were later used to house the Germans and later it was considered a camp to house the Germans. When the German immigrants came in 1944 they were called “national guests”. They were supposed to be housed by Czech families. But the citizens were really, really afraid because they would have enemies in their households. The mayor had working under him councilors, Eduard Loss he went even to the governor and spoke with him and made arrangements that the Czech laborers would be moved to the Czech family homes and that the Germans would go to the wooden houses who are welcome but didn’t like to be called national guests. These German immigrants didn’t like being called this name because they said that they are not guests but are home here.
So those wooden houses were used for this purpose the same as the concrete houses that were built in front of the big ammunition factory on the meadow next to the railroad. So they had both wooden and concrete houses already built by the factory to house laborers. The girls that worked at the ammo company began to wear long pants that were cut like men’s pants so they would look like men as to not attract attention. Later on the young woman wore this as their casual clothing.
So this is what I have been able to learn about the camp in Strakonice where my family stayed in 1945.