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Thread: Pomerania-Pomorze-Pommern

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    Default Pomerania-Pomorze-Pommern

    Pomerania - Pomorze

    Count Christian von Krockow (born 1927 in Eastern Pomerania) on the expulsion. (from the old Kashubian-Pomeranian von Krockow family)

    In the final analysis, how is one to make sense of it all? How to understand one's own feelings? Is it even possible to distinguish exactly between German Pomerania and Polish Pomorze; do not events of the past and even the present lead us into an impossible situation?

    In order to recall everything accurately one must understand, and this cannot be said too often, that the evil did not begin with the flight and expulsion of the Germans in 1945, but rather, much earlier and the roots go much deeper. The floodgates were opened when the Germans began calling themselves a "people without living space" and talked about German culture versus Polish lack of culture and a German race of supermen and Slavic sub-humans. There followed a hybris, an arrogance, that spread terror. A war of conquest fanned out from Germany in every direction, a renaming and expulsion.

    And then, no people, with the exception of the Jews, suffered so much hardship in World War II than the Poles. And this war went on and on
    against the vanquished. The temporary lord from the King's Castle in Krakow, the so-called General Governor Hans Frank, once said: "What we have
    set up as a ruling class is to be liquidated; what follows is from this time forward temporary and to be removed within a limited time." These were not
    only words. They were facts.

    The vengance that was visited on the Germans in the east in 1945, as always, affected for the innocent and hardly ever those who were guilty, who had in cowardly fashion escaped punishment either by flight or by suicide. Thus the inhabitants of East Prussia, Silesia and Pomerania paid with their homes for events that took place far away. This was all the result of the German madness. One must emphasize that Poland's new west was settled, for the most part, by people who were themselves displaced from the eastern region and Stalin gave them new homes in exchange. One has only to look at the map to see that today Warsaw is as near the eastern border of Poland, in the same way that Berlin is now near the eastern border of Germany.

    If we tear ourselves away from the past, when we look at the present and, even more, to the future, then something more is needed. We must draw a
    line under the plus and the minus sides. We must recognize, and not only with words and thoughts, but we must draw from inside ourselves, that in
    1945 an irreversible decision was made. We must realize that German Pomerania became Polish Pomorze, homeland for the people who live and work
    there, who hope for peace and a little prosperity, already in the second and third generation. Recognition in the interest of our children,
    grandchildren and future generations yet unborn, that they will be preserved from evil.

    For centuries Germans and Poles lived peacefully side by side. If that would be the case again the new relationship would triumph over mistrust, if
    we really love the land to the east and could like to visit there unmolested as we would like to be received, then there is really no other way. We must
    completely recognize that which now is. Borders harden and are closed as soon as one touches them, but they can become bridges if we so use them.
    This is easier said than done. The wounds, here and there, are too deep. They are not yet healed, they still cause pain, a single thoughtless word
    can reopen them. And what can one do against his own feelings?


    But all at once what we searched for is there, surfaced from our most inner thoughts. There is a poem that was written a century and a half ago, by a
    refugee from France, who became a German poet: by Adalbert von Chamisso. It is called: "The Boncourt Castle" and begins with the words:

    I dream of the time when I was a child
    And shake my gray head in wonder;
    Why do you pictures remind me of home,
    Which I long since believed I had forgotten?

    And toward the end there is something that cannot be better said:

    So you stand, castle of my fathers,
    Still true and strong in my memory,
    And you have disappeared from the earth,
    So that the plow goes over you.

    Be fruitful, oh precious soil!
    I bless you from my heart
    And bless two-fold whoever
    Now guides the plow over you.

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    II World War and Expulsions from the Bytow land:

    Our Memories Never Die

    Karl H. Radde (*1934)

    I. Departure from Groß Tuchen

    In October of 1945 the first inhabitants of Groß Tuchen, who had fled in May, began to return and they then again departed into the great uncertainty. We, at the Obermühle, the Pelz and Basowske families, stood firmly: "We stay here!"*

    *[At that time our family consisted of: Ottilie Radde nee Dobersalske with her daughter Minna Radde, in Groß Tuchen in the house next door to Gustav Kramp; Emma Radde nee Schütz, from Klein Massowitz; the wife of Paul Radde, with their children, Edith, now Ulrich, of Aken; Karl H., now in Dresden, Ulrich, who died in an accident in 1954 at the age of 16, Heinz, now in Küttigen, Switzerland; as well as Helene Biastoch nee Radde, wife of Ernst Biastoch from Zemmen, with their children; Traute, now Geisler, of Schmalzerode and Karl-Heinz, now in Halle/Saale, at home in Groß Tuchen. Besides these there was Gustav Kramp, from the three corners on the road to Neuhütten.]

    There were several reasons for this decision. We could not imagine that our Bütow countryside would ever be separated from Germany. The Russians had departed in the fall under the cover of darkness and the Poles came only a few at a time. They knew that this land belonged to the Germans; the Russians had overrun us and they should run it themselves. But for how long? It was an unknown quantity, this Potsdam Treaty with its vague pronouncements about the final decision to be made concerning the boundaries at a later peace conference.

    Some Poles from Glisno, who were known locally and who had returned from the west, strengthened our confidence and advised us against leaving. "What should you do west of the Oder? Everywhere there is hunger. In Hamburg there is not one stone on top of another. It will take at least ten years before Germany is again livable. Just stay where you are", they advised us.

    And besides, we waited every day for our father to return home. Certainly he would come. For us it was only a question of time. From his comrade Leike, from the Dalleken subdivision in Groß Tuchen, and Schamuhns from Zemmen, we knew that he had suffered a minor wound near Schlawe at the beginning of March and that he had been taken to a field hospital. The wounded were under the protection of the Red Cross, as we believed of the victors at that time, in spite of the many dead we had seen on our flight at Stolp and at Lauenburg. Where should we have gone, if not Groß Tuchen?

    Life for us at the Obermühle was good. We were surrounded by dependable friends, near to Pyaschen (Franzwalde) and Zemmen, where only old acquaintances lived; we were comfortable at our farm house on the Kamenz, and we knew nothing of hunger or cold. We were in control of our own fates and conducted our affairs as we saw fit. Grandma Ottilie Radde was the firm head of our household. At first, our place did not interest the Poles. The buildings were old and the main structure had suffered an artillery direct hit, and the fields were full of trenches and bunkers and still strewn with mines and duds, because our house was directly in the way taken by the 70th Soviet Army after the three day bitter attack in the breakthrough of Reckow - Pyaschen - Groß Massowitz, after their 6th motorized unit had been in occupation. That is how our fields appeared. There was more to be had on other properties in Groß Tuchen at that time.

    One year later everything was different. In September 1946 began the forced labor for all Germans, beginning with children of 10 years of age. We, alone, had to furnish 7 workers, 3 women and 4 children. I was already ten and they took me, too. But we were lucky. With a thirteen year old cousin I walked every day the 2 kilometers to my duty, which began at 6 AM and lasted until 10 PM. She was a nursemaid for the village militia, I was with the Brodza family on the farmstead that had belonged to Emil Polzin and had earlier belonged to the estate. My first duty was to watch the single lame cow. The faithful guard dog Teddy also supported me. Paulchen Mickley and I drove "our cow" along the road to Neuhütten, where we played war with real German steel helmets and ruined Russian machine pistols, very much as we ourselves had lived through on our flight past Lauenburg. Or we beat up on Kasimir Roggenbug from the neighboring Labuhn farm when he provoked us or told us that we had to do everything he told us to because he was a Pole and we were Germans. But just as often we made up with him and made grandiose plans for a future world in which, besides Germany and Poland, would contain no other major powers. It was an exiting time for us children. Sometimes we were joined by Ruth Labuhn, the fifteen year old who had to do the hardest and dirtiest work for the Polish local commander, and we discussed God and the world. However, mostly she simply laughed at us because of our high-minded ideas and plans.

    I had it better than at home. The Brodzas were childless and treated me like their own son. They permitted me freedoms, such as I otherwise could only have dreamed of. For hours at a time I was allowed to indulge my favorite pastime, reading books. They had taken over the German books that belonged to Polzins and had treasured them. I even received a tiny money allowance in the Polish currency. No other German had this privilege. My cousin Traute, on the other hand, had to work hard for the village militia, but she was also treated correctly.

    Our problems were more of the objective kind. In winter there was a lot of snow. Often there was a strong wind that whipped the snow into deep drifts. When the snow melted we could hardly make it with our homemade wooden shoes, because we had had no real shoes since, first the Russians and then the Poles, had looted everything. The wet snow packed into clumps on our wooden shoes. Because we were afraid of getting to work too late, we simply ran in our stockings through the wet snow. Today we know where our rheumatism came from.

    One day Pan Brodza remarked that it was not good that we always spoke German. I was to learn Polish. For me that could only have been an advantage. If I wished he would teach me Polish, but only if I wished, he said again and again. And how I wished to! So we began systematic language lessons. The first sentence I learned was "Chodo na obiad" (come and eat dinner) and that is what I always remembered about this Pole. He had, in a German internment camp, learned from the first: "To work, march, march!" Even today I still profit from this language lesson.

    And he taught me many other useful things, among them, how to survive when one's nation is responsible for Auschwitz and Stutthof. But he could not help me when I was sometimes beaten up by Polish children and that someday we would be driven out the way one would chase off a bothersome dog.

    Our heavily damaged farmstead was now taken over by a Pole. He was Jerzy B., a bitter German hater. It was from him that we heard in 1946 for the first time about terrible places like the concentration camps and slave labor camps that the Germans were supposed to have set up. Up to this time neither the Russians nor the Poles had mentioned these things to us. They really did not believe it themselves. When we talked to Russian soldiers we were surprised when they simply shrugged and said that there were war criminals everywhere. Even in the last days of the war a young sergeant, who led a group of sinister, heavily-armed Russians, explained to my Grandma: "Gitler kaput . . . good; Stalin still lives . . . very bad. . .!"

    Our Jerzy was supposed to have been in a concentration camp and he had been in on the capture of Berlin, and bragged about taking few prisoners in battle. That is why we hated him considered him to be a liar.

    Now ten of us were crowded into two rooms, in which there were also rats. We children had not been to school for nearly 2 years. It is true that my mother led us in a kind of Sunday School, and we learned eagerly, especially verses from the songbook, or we practiced German dictation. But it was not a real school, the kind we had known with our teachers, Miss Schwichtenberg, Mr. Mauß or Mr. Sorgatz. Gradually our supplies of food gave out and we had almost no clothing or shoes. Only the Polish mayor secretly permitted us now and again to have a sack of flour. He said that as long as he was mayor of Groß Tuchen no German would go hungry. This treatment by a representative of the new order was an exception, not the rule. This was hard for us to understand because the Germans had locked him up in the concentration camp at Stutthof.

    For us it became ever clearer. If we did not want live as foreign workers and prisoners, we would have to leave. This homeland that had been German for 800 years was ours no longer. My mother simply brushed aside all well-meaning suggestions that we become Polish citizens.

    Unexpectedly we were ordered to leave our village with in two days. We were all exited. Even among our Polish neighbors. Our departure was scheduled for the 16th of December 1946. Joseph Durawa, our Kashubian neighbor, who had always been our dependable protector in the time of our flight in 1945 to beyond Lauenburg (before Neustadt in West Prussia and not far from Gdynia), was to take us, with our baggage, to the county seat of Bütow. We were allowed to take with us an absolute maximum of 25 kilos per person.

    That last night no one slept anymore. Even our Pole Jerzy sat together with us the whole time, was transformed and said that he would go, too. He roasted his last goose so that we could have something to take with us. As we left there were tears in his eyes. "We did not want this to happen", exclaimed this German hater.

    At four in the morning we departed in dark and in bitter cold. We children went first on the march of nearly 20 kilometers to Bütow. We made up an entire column, according to age and all heavily loaded. At the head marched my cousin Traute Biastoch. She decided to sing the song "Nun ade, du mein lieb' Heimatland", and thanks to the teaching of teacher Mauß, we all knew it well. The last was my little brother of less than five years, pulling an old school back pack like a sled in the snow, because he was too little to carry it.

    [When I returned 12 years later I was told by our neighbor, Mrs. Anastasia Jastszemka, that as she watched us depart, she had never seen anything so sad. She was a Ukrainian who had been brought to Groß Tuchen as a forced laborer in 1942 as a sixteen year old. She cried for three days. "That should not have been done to the Germans!" We did not think of our departure as painful, but rather considered it as an unavoidable fate and were proud in those days to remain German.]

    In the county seat of Bütow we had to camp out the next day and all night in freezing conditions. That was the beginning of a great blizzard that some said brought in the coldest January in a hundred years. We spent our last Zlotys for vodka, because that was all that could be purchased. It was drunk as medicine. Even the children were given alcohol on the false supposition that it would keep them warm and prevent typhus.

    That afternoon we were taken to the market place with all of our baggage where a platform had been built, and the local commander, a dumpy little man in a uniform, with wild gestures, gave the farewell address to the German women and children with a speech that began with "German pigs". And then it began, the total attack on everything German. Someone whispered: "Don't listen. Don't be provoked". A 35 year old woman of a previous group was supposed to have said: "Just wait until our men return from prisoner of war camps. . ." She was shot the same day. And that is the way things were for German civilians with the new regime, the so-called people's regime. It could be very dangerous. But we children listened very carefully, because we wanted this subject to be clearly understood when we returned for our revenge. We had sworn to do this.

    That night we were taken for baggage check. We were relieved of our bedding, comforts and other warm things that we would so desperately need in this cold winter. We were allowed to keep only what we wore.

    Toward morning we were loaded into filthy cattle cars; thirty persons with baggage to a car. The only small opening was closed with barbed wire. The crowding was terrible. At first it was warm. Each freight car contained a small stove with a small supply of coal briquettes. But these were never replenished. They were all gone that first night. Then it was bitter cold. Even the inside walls of the car were covered with a layer of ice. For eight whole days and nights we never left this "refrigerator car".

    Sometimes, when we made brief pauses, we saw open freight cars full of coal briquettes. We boys would slip out and bring fuel to our car until one or the other of the two trains began to move. Then we had to quickly return and jump on. This was dangerous. We could have been immediately shot if we were seen.

    Our train went by way of Konitz and Schneidemühl into Posen. And here there was an dangerous episode. Our train stopped for the night in a freight terminal. The two Polish militiamen, who accompanied our train, warned us against attacks that were perpetrated regularly by mustered-out Red Army soldiers who were on their way back to Russia. They attacked the trains carrying Germans who were being expelled, robbing and looking for women. The Poles were helpless against them. We would have to defend ourselves. They would withdraw to the locomotive and would not interfere.

    Among the few men on our train there were in our car the Schamuhn brothers* from Zemmen. They organized our defense. And we boys had an important part to play.

    *[Fritz and Erich Schamuhn. Fritz was known in Groß Tuchen as the milk driver because he made daily rounds of the farms in Zemmen and the Obermühle to take milk to the creamery in Groß Tuchen.]

    I was on guard duty on a pile of our baggage. Through the ventilation hole that was blocked with barbed wire, I could observe the entire freight yard. For hours nothing happened. And then it came. The clock in the train station showed that it was exactly 5 minutes after midnight. A group of 8-10 drunken Russians armed with machine pistols stormed the train and headed directly for our second to last car. I gave the alarm. Everyone sprang into position. Within five minutes we were under attack. They tried to pry open the sliding door to our car, but we had locked it from the inside. There was a terrible uproar with shouts and curses. Somewhere in the nearby town shots were fired. "Otkrowajte, budem streljat", they roared, open up or we will shoot. Flashlights were lit, but we did not reply to their ultimatum. They tried again and again to open the door, threatening and scolding and finally using crowbars. But we continued to hold out. Some were so fearful that they wanted to give in rather than to be killed.

    The Schamuhns remained resolute. They thought it unlikely that the Russians would do any shooting near the station because that would have brought the military police. And even if they did, it was unlikely that their bullets would penetrate the wooden planks from which the freight cars were built. And then it came. With terrible curses against the German "Fascists who continued to resist" the Russians suddenly withdrew. They did not try to attack any other cars. It was exactly ten minutes after one. Our unequal siege had lasted over an hour. We took turns at guard duty for the rest of the night, but there were no more attacks. Even though we had little worth stealing, at least we had spared our women and girls from a terrible fate and thereby won a late but final victory over the Russians. At least that was how we boys saw it, but it really was a dangerous moment. In those days no one took any notice of a German who had been killed.

    The train rolled further south. Christmas was coming. Now the Polish militia soldiers often came to our car. There was an increased respect for us in their eyes after our victorious battle with the Russians in Posen. It was something new for them that two unarmed Germans and a pair of boys had driven off an entire troop of armed Russians. But really, they were cold, too. Our car was one of the few that had any heat, thanks to our reckless coal-stealing action.

    We were somewhere in snowed-under Lower Silesia. Our courage had sunk to a new low. We were all apathetic due to hunger, cold and thirst, sitting on our bundles or walking about, pressed together like animals. No one spoke a word. Each was occupied with his own thoughts about what we had given up. Our village, the farmstead and the dead and, above all, our last hope of ever returning. And then, from the next car there came a song by a masculine voice. I think it was Mr. Meseg from Meddersin singing the old Christmas carol, "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen". At first some sang quietly, then ever more and louder until everyone in the car was singing along. The song traveled to the next car and soon throughout the entire train. At twenty degrees below freezing, in icy cars, after days of travel, without anything warm to eat or drink this German Christmas carol had an unbelievable effect. The two Polish soldiers were horrified. The singing of German songs was strictly forbidden. They had to decide. "It is only a Christmas carol. Let them sing", decided the highest in rank.

    We rode without letup through flat country. From my lookout point through the barb wired window I observed the snowy landscape for hours at a time. Neither tree nor bush was to be seen. We moved in a southwesterly, sometimes southerly, direction. Someone had expressed the thought that we were on our way to Siberia. We all had good reason to fear Siberia. We knew that several civilian men from our area were taken to Siberia in March 1945, Metel from Groß Tuchen, for instance, and even women and mothers of four or more children and sixteen year old girls from Radensfelde and Groß Massowitz. Why not us, too? Sometimes I could see a village. Most of the houses had been destroyed. Only chimneys stood among the snow covered ruins. From the ruins it was impossible to tell whether they were German, Polish or Ukrainian houses. According to the sun it appeared that we were headed toward Siberia. We believed by now that we were going toward the sun most of the time, to the east. But the sun was so low at this time before Christmas that we were mistaken. It was hard to distinguish between east and south Besides that, our train often had to take detours and sometimes we really did go east..

    And it was dangerous as well when the train stopped on an open stretch of track. The stops could last for hours or only for minutes. No one knew for certain when it would leave and there was never any warning. We boys would immediately jump out and run around to get a some exercise and to combat the cold. At the last moment we would climb back into the already moving train. One time a little five year old boy dared to get too far from the boxcars. We had warned him, but he insisted on coming with the "big boys". The train suddenly started up too quickly and he did not make it back in time and literally remained there along the track. This was one of the ways that families were separated.

    I had taken up my lookout at the opening and remained there day after day. I had to strain to hold myself to this small square. My hands were like ice. One can hold out against cold and hunger and there were small icicles to slake the thirst. And then the unending hopeless snowy desert before our eyes, hour after hour. We could all feel that we were at the end of our strength. Suddenly, as if a mirage, there appeared a small watchhouse on the horizon and two soldiers stood in front of it. Beside them was a sign that read "Odra". That was clearly the Oder River. We had reached it at Glogau.

    We had finally arrived at the river that for us was a symbol of rescue and freedom. So we were not going to Siberia after all. I got up and shouted as loudly as I could: "We have reached the Oder" and felt like the lookout who, after an endless journey without hope, arouses the crew of the ship with the call: "Land in sight!" The effect was the same.

    II. The Eastern Zone: A new beginning that never was.

    We finally rolled over the Oder-Neisse-Line at Forst in the Niederlausitz area. The train stopped, the sliding doors were opened. German voices came to our ears. German was being spoken. We were given tea and warm soup. For the first time in eight days something warm. Newspapers were passed out in the freight cars, German newspapers. Even though they were only the "Tägliche Rundschau", the organ of the Soviet Occupation, and the Communist "Neues Deutschland", whose content interested no one. It was the German language that was before us. For nearly two years we had been cut off from the world. That German could again be openly spoken and written! We could not imagine it. Many cried for joy.

    But our feelings of happiness did not last long. A few days later we arrived at the quarantine camp in Coswig near Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt. Also here: unheated barracks, no electricity, the camp encircled with barbed wire. We were once again prisoners. We were scheduled to go to Upper Bavaria, which had just been declared to be an area of catastrophe and would take no more refugees.

    No one knew what to do with us. Too many Germans were crammed into too little space and concentrated in camps. People suffered from hunger and cold. We were sent on in small groups to individual camps in Central Germany, which was already filled to the limit. Anyone who could tried on his own or with the help of relatives to get away from camp life. Biastochs, Mickleys and a few others had that good fortune.

    Somehow, we were freighted one night to Staßfurt near Magdeburg. It is true that we did not ride cattle cars, but the passenger cars were not heated and the cold had increased that February. It took us nearly 20 hours to cover this stretch of 80 kilometers and it was frosty. Our mother rubbed the hands of us children constantly, because the blankets and gloves that had been taken away by the Poles had not yet been replaced. Many had their hands and feet frozen.

    In Staßfurt we came into a camp where fully apathetic Rumanians had been waiting for two years to return to their homeland. Sometimes there were no longer any meals. The accommodations were ice cold. A little warm water was furnished for the rooms only when someone had died. We often received warm water.

    Nearby there was a Russian compound surrounded by barbed wire and caches of potatoes were supposedly stored there for a distillery. Under the leadership of Fritz Schamuhn from Zemmen we dependable people organized a "special troop" and when the next snowstorm came we marched out. We broke through the barbed wire and came directly to a cache. It was immediately uncovered. Other "special troops" were also in action. Each of us hurriedly gathered a few pounds of potatoes and away we went. Nearby a dog barked and a Russian soldier cursed. Shots were fired. A volley from a machine pistol went over our heads. We left and survived for a couple more days.

    Again we were moved to a different camp in Staßfurt. Here the food was better, at least the water soup came more regularly. And then there was a new catastrophe. The Bode River went over its banks and flooded almost the entire city. In a few hours our camp was under water. Again we had to move. Some of us sneaked over the zone border to Lüneburg. Even the Schamuhn brothers separated. But we decided again: we stay.

    We were brought by truck in small groups through the foothills of the Harz Mountains to the little city of Aken near Dessau on the Elbe. It was our fourth camp in a half year! But for the first time there was decent food. The locals here still lived off the rations the Americans had generously handed out, because for them the war ended when they reached the Elbe.

    *[Besides us the others who went to Aken were: From Groß Tuchen Mrs. Hoffmann, our church sexton, with her daughter Frieda Kunkel and her children; the Busch, Krause, Knitter families and from Zemmen the families of Erich Schamuhn and Erich Böse, from Klein Massowitz the Paul Müller family, from Radensfelde the Adrian family and from Meddersin the Meseg family.]

    It seemed we were condemned to a lifetime in camps. The authorities undertook nothing. My mother and my Aunt Minna Radde then went from house to house looking for a place to live. One day they were lucky. In an out of the way garden settlement there was an attic room with a tiny kitchen that had just become empty. Our family with 5 persons took it. The rooms were empty. And by now we had very little baggage. For a long time we simply slept on the bare floor, with our rucksacks for pillows, the same that served as chairs during the day. Little by little there were a few broken furnishings that no one else wanted, or single primitive pieces that had supposedly been confiscated from the Nazis.

    Our relationship with the locals was icy. No one here had any idea of what had happened in the east. The people here had never suffered from hunger or the cold. Here no one knew about the air raids and there was no battle front. No one had to flee, they were never expelled and they had never suffered from looting. The locals lived as though there had never been a war, without fear of the victors. No one was shot, transported, beaten or raped. They shook their heads when they saw the poor "refugees" who "had not even brought a watch" with them. And they knew no solidarity. And the renowned community spirit was a fallacy.

    We children had it especially hard. Besides hunger and poverty we could clearly feel the prejudice of the locals at school, where we had to struggle bitterly to succeed. We late refugees had not been to school in more than two years. It was easy for our stronger fellow students to take every opportunity to belittle us and beat us up. We were used to that, but this time it was our own Germans who did it to us!

    At recess on the very first day, as a sort of a greeting, a larger boy from one of the upper classes, whom I had never seen before, without any warning simply punched me in the face with his fist. He was surrounded by a group of smaller boys and wanted to impress on them his position of authority. Apparently he did not like my wooden shoes that I had to wear to school. I fell, lost my shoes and automatically offered no resistance, as I had to do when I was beaten by the Russians or Poles, because that would have meant certain death. And I did not complain. For the rest of the day I kept my head down on my desk because of the pain and tried to keep the teacher from seeing my swollen face.

    That is why I never developed any warm feelings toward this place, even though I finally was able to say that I had many good friends among the students. Sometimes, during this time of hunger I would find a fresh hard roll in my desk, put there secretly by one of the locals. But some wounds heal only slowly and they leave scars for life.

    It was not a new beginning for us. While camp life was behind us and peace had been declared we went from the frying pan into the fire, and the hunger became even worse. The greatest famine came in the summer of 1947 when each person received a daily ration of a half pound of bread, when bread was to be had at all. For days we had nothing to eat but the sorrel we picked along the Elbe River.

    It was impossible for us refugees to find any food in the surrounding villages, because we did not know anybody and, anyway, we had nothing to trade. Every attempt at illegal trading or theft of fruits was punished severely. One example was the official pronouncement by the authorities in Aken: "While it is recognized that there are hardships in the human condition . . . for the police not to react firmly because of these conditions is out of the question, and they are expected to enforce the law to the limit." And that is what happened! The new regime had no patience with the conditions of the refugee women and children. And so it happened that several of the refugee mothers ended up behind bars simply because the stole a few potatoes from a wealthy farmer for their hungry children. Theft, in those days, was thought to be a criminal act. Even my classmate Werner Böse from Zemmen, although still a minor, was sentenced to prison because he organized the theft of needed firewood that the Russians had left as useless, but was the "Property of the People".

    The solidarity among the people of Groß Tuchen was a major help. Our former neighbor Basowske, who for almost 2 years lived in the Taunus region, and my Uncle George Schütz, who had emigrated to the USA in 1929, were a tremendous help to us. And other Americans understood our conditions and they often sent us packages. Thus we survived these hard times, that are known and glorified by other Germans today as our "Liberation". But they had not been expelled, were not deported to Siberia and did not have to witness the execution of their family members. The kept their homeland and even their homes. That is already a major difference! But they called us reactionaries.

    III. The unforgotten village

    Twelve years had passed. Then I was finally able to go to Groß Tuchen again. The difficulties were great. Several times the East German authorities had denied my request for permission to travel. The Poles had no objection. In November 1958 I received my visa for a journey to Groß Tuchen and the surrounding area. It was said to be the first private visit by a German to this area since 1945. Even the Pomeranian Newspaper in West Germany featured an article about it.

    The impressions were strong. My hosts were the Durawa family, our former neighbors at the Obermühle, who in those days had lived on their farmstead. I visited the living and the dead. In Groß Tuchen and the surrounding area I met many Germans. Baker Borchardt had two bakeries and prospered like never before. His bakeries were meeting places for the Germans. We went there every day. Metel spoke to me on the village street in Low German: "Are you the son of Paul?" Because of his fur cap and padded coat I had mistaken him for a Ukrainian. Together we visited the Lutheran cemetery and he told me about the dead that he had known, of the last days in Groß Tuchen as the Russians marched in and from his imprisonment in Siberia. In Pyaschen and Klein Massowitz there were reunions with many old friends.

    My greatest concern was to find my father's grave in Besow near Schlawe. Our hopes that our father had been wounded but survived were unfounded. At Easter in 1958 and after 13 years of searching the German Red Cross in Munich sent a brief declaration by a young woman from West Prussia:

    "I was fleeing with my children in Besow in Kreis Schlawe when the Russians overtook is on the 7th of March 1945. All German refugees, as well as all the locals, were assigned to work on the farms and we witnessed the death of a lightly wounded German soldier, Paul Radde from Groß Tuchen, who was shot by a Russian soldier. I tended his grave until July 1947. Enclosed is his military identification. I make this declaration under oath."*

    *[Official Returnee Declaration A/249344-German Information Office for Relatives of Deceased Members of the Former German Army, Berlin-Wittenau, 29 May 1958]

    We then learned from eye witnesses that a young Russian soldier had refused to obey an order to shoot and had cried out again and again: "Eto nje nado. . . Eto dobry tschelowjek. . ." (This in not necessary, this is a human who has done nothing to us. I cannot kill him.") But his Bolshevik superior maintained: "Every German is also a Fascist. And every Fascist is a criminal."

    When the Russian was threatened with death himself for refusing to obey an order, he aimed his machine pistol and fired. Two shots struck my father in the back. He stood up and walked slowly and erectly before the horrified German women, stopped and then kneeled to pray. The Russian was so angered that he aimed his machine pistol at my father's neck and emptied the clip in a single volley. My father sank to the floor and died. His body lay there for three days, to the horror of the German women and children.

    He was not the only one from Groß Tuchen to suffer that fate. There were graves of men who had been shot everywhere, even in our village. Our neighbor, pregnant young Mrs. Pelz, was shot; my old grandfather in Klein Massowitz was shot; my uncle from Luisenhof by Bütow was shot, our eastern worker Lady from White Russia was shot. But we had many Russian graves in our fields.

    Together with Mrs. Agnes Durawa I searched for the grave of my father. By using accounts of eye witnesses, I had gotten German blueprints of eastern Pomerania from the state library in Berlin and made an exact sketch of the location of his grave. We rode the train to Zollbrück and then 10 kilometers further by bicycles that Poles loaned to us when they heard of our quest, even though they did not know us. And we really found the site of his grave, which could have been found without the sketch, because the Poles had tended it for years.

    After being required to register in and later to register out at the town office on my visit in 1958 to Tuchomie (Groß Tuchen), in the county office in Bytow (Bütow), as well as long hours of conversation, over a cup of coffee, with the security service, represented by a young Polish woman who spoke perfect German, there always came the same questions: "What is your reason to come to Poland, here in your former homeland? I had ready arguments: future business in exports in Warsaw, study of the Polish language, and was able to gain the approval of the Poles. I have never experienced any hostility from the Poles, either then or later.

    When I registered out of Groß Tuchen before Christmas 1958, the mayor invited me to his chamber. Again the same questions and his offer: "I still remember your father. Would you return? We would return your father's property to you. You can have a credit of 100,000 Zlotys interest-free and can again rebuild. We would be glad to have such people to return. Of course, a requirement would be Polish citizenship". I told him of my prospects in Germany, that I was preparing for my college board exams in Berlin, whether I chose to remain at the university or to go into the import-export trade, and that I saw no future for myself as a private landowner under Socialism. He was disappointed, but bid me a hearty farewell. I still heard as he said to his secretary in Polish: "Too bad. Nice fellow. He has come a long way since he herded cows in Groß Tuchen and went barefoot to school."

    But I will never forget Groß Tuchen and my childhood there. I have returned many times to our "Pomeranian Switzerland" with its endless forests, beautiful lakes and riverlets, the waving grain fields and broad meadows. Our memories never leave us, they are unforgettable and they never die. But that is how it is with all of from Groß Tuchen.

    10. February 1995, s/Karl H. Radde, Dresden

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    Polish Kashubians - the indigenous Pomeranians who constituted majority in Eastern Pomorze (Polish Corridor):

    up until XIII century:

    Around 1640:

    late XIX century:

    Most were Catholics due to the face they lived in the Polish state between 1466-1772/1793. By XXth century there were still some Protestant Cashubians from the former Duchy of West Pomerania. The remnants of these Kashubians lived near Bytow, Lebork and near Leba (the Slovincians).

    Ethnic composition of Pomorze around 1912-1914:

    Lauenburg 5,9% Poles and Bytow 14,9%. These figures most likely refer to Catholic Kashubians. Protestant Slovincians from vicinity of Stolp and Leba were not counted in.

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    Some more stories and accounts on expulsions from Pomerania here:

    and here:

    Ruth's Report

    Ruth Labuhn, "Haus Abendfrieden", Hildesheimer Strasse 1, D-37581 Bad Gandersheim

    Report on Flight, Expulsion and New Start [Former Villagers of Gross Tuchen Reporting]

    - Translated by Karl H. Radde, Dresden / Saxony -

    At the end of February 1945, the front was advancing rapidly. Russian low-flying fighter aircraft assaulted, fired and were gone. Christa Gatermann was playing with some children in the square of the railway station. She was hit by shell splinters and died. I was deeply shocked, for I often had played with Gertraud and Christa. I could not believe it.

    What should we do? Would it make any sense to flee? Our father rejected it. However, the marching by soldiers strongly advised us to flee. Thus, we packed the barest necessities onto our horsedrawn vehicle, harnessed our horse and left our farmstead by six o'clock in the evening of 2 March. Our yard dog was like crazy to come with us. Father sent it back. Mournfully it stayed seated to guard the house whining bitterly. At first we went to the estate of Gutzmann, to set off jointly for the hopeless trek. In the direction of the city of Rummelsburg the sky was red. We were only some miles away from heavy fighting. We did not know exactly where to go. Only the way towards the port of Danzig was still open. We went on very slowly and on top of that it was snowing. The horses had great difficulties to pull the overloaded wagons on the icy roads in our Pomeranian hills. Often we still came across scattered villagers of Grosstuchen.

    Soon we also lost touch with the Gutzmann family. Our father wanted to go in the direction of the city of Stolp as far as the village of Hebrondamnitz, where an aunt of ours lived deeply in the forest. However, we never arrived there. In the meantime, in the evening of 7 March, we came to Klein-Massow in the district of Lauenburg. Worn-out we lay down to sleep on many clogs in a kitchen. My brothers were on the lookout and saw the shopkeeper of our home village, Mr Genee, who was moving on again warning that the Russians were only some miles away. We stayed, however, being too exhausted to go on. We were tired to the bone. In the next morning we went on very slowly, because the roads were crowded with retreating soldiers and jammed with refugees. Suddenly there was a sinister quiet in the village streets. My brothers Siegfried and Erwin climbed a hill nearby to have a look around. They warned us that many tanks were advancing. Our nerves were at breaking point. Shortly after, many Russian tanks passed by. When it became quiet again we returned and went to the manor of Ganske. There were lots of refugees. The lord of the manor was hidden in the stable among the refugees. No-one betrayed him. Now, terrible things were being done.

    After some fortnight we started together with the Dunse family. We tried to return home where we belonged. Unfortunately, we were halted by the Russians in Neuendorf near the city of Lauenburg. Thus, we returned and went right back to Ganske. Rumors had it already that deportations were impending. So all of us prepared a rucksack. In the beginning of April our turn had come. There was no escape any more. Systematically the Russians evacuated village after village. Again we set off on a trek as far as Klein-Massow. There our family stayed overnight, together for the last time. The next morning we went to Vietzig. Terrified we came to the assembly center.

    Kate and Siegfried were detained. Father was ordered to walk a stretch of the road so they could see if he really had a stiff leg. I too was examined. Certainly my long pigtails and small stature were the reason they did not take me away. The separation from my sister and brother was incredibly hard. Wiping the tears from their eyes, our parents, Erwin and I went on. A wife told my mother: "Don't cry, final victory will be ours all the same". That was utter mockery to us in our situation.

    Aimlessly we plodded along behind our wagon. Nobody was talking. Then we landed in the village of Zesenow and found accommodation in a farmhouse. Soon after, we got rid of our horse and wagon. Father fell severely ill, so we were in great sorrow for him. When the Russians occupied the village again we hid ourselves on the Leba Moorland for some days. Usually, our refuge was under the roof. Still today I wonder why nothing seriously happened then. In the crossbeam which we stepped on stuck a grenade - a dud. In close proximity of it we had our hiding place.

    Our thoughts were with Kate and Siegfried. Would they possibly already have been deported to Siberia? In the meantime May had come. The trees were in blossoms, the meadows gay with flowers, but we were so dreary. The 12th of May approached, our mother's birthday. Our thoughts again were with our two dear ones. There, in the middle of the day two persons appeared in the yard. We could not believe our eyes. Should it be true, really? Yes, they were Kate and Siegfried! We could not grasp it. Our joy and thankfulness were boundless. They also brought with them the news that the war was over and Germany had unconditionally surrendered on May 8. But some of us did not believe it.

    Now, we again were together and took heart. My brothers repaired some old tireless bicycles on which we packed up our belongings and off we went. Going home! Together with us also were the Winkel family from Eulenkaten near Neuhütten. We avoided the main roads as far as possible. All went well up to the village of Damsdorf. There in the meantime Polish militia had settled. They robbed us of our old bicycles. Thus, we loaded our belongings on Winkels` two-wheeled cart as far as possible, the rest we carried piggy-back. It was a wonderful sight to see our beloved home village Grosstuchen stretching along the lakes. The village looked so peacefully as if nothing had happened, the red spire of our church and the lakes greeting us. In the village, we were welcomed by many old friends. Our house had not been shelled or burned. How happy we were and thankful being home again! There were unthreshed corn in the barn, potatoes and turnips in the pit. We at once set about planting potatoes.

    The time was uncertain; there were no communications, and rumors went round. More and more Poles emerged in the village. Gierszewski, an old Kashubian villager, had a red-white band on his arm and a rifle on his back. His big time had come serving as an auxiliary policeman for the Russians. He told our father: "In former times, I only lived on charity, but now all things have changed for the better." Indeed, we were surprised at how many German Catholics had opted and subscribed for Poland already in 1945. Surely, they feared to lose their possessions; furthermore, they shared the same faith with the Poles. There were increasingly encroachments committed by the Poles. We Germans were without rights.

    A highlight in the summer of 1945 was a church service in our beloved evangelical church. The church was overcrowded as never before. The former German teacher, a Nazi victim, Mr. Mauss held the service. The common listening, singing and praying encouraged us. Of course, all of us were very much agitated, though, we had no idea then that this was to be the last church service for us in our home village. Mr Mauss was arrested, put in jail and had to suffer very much.

    Fear was spreading more and more. Many started to go behind the River Oder. Often old gentleman Mr Skierka dropped in encouraging us and raising fresh hopes by his belief that all this is just a temporary matter and conditions will soon return to normal.

    In August a Pole with the high-sounding German name Roggenbug took possession of our farmstead. He brought with him his wife, a son Kasimir and a goat. Indeed, they were poor people. We did not possess many things any more, but this Polish family was by far poorer. Mrs. Roggenbug had only two frocks, both already mended. In winter time, when she was shivering with cold she used to say: "Oh body, do not tremble, you have had a good time in summer!" At first, all went well, but soon we came into inescapable conflicts with them.

    Now we tried to get exit permits, but our request was turned down. Some days after we were assigned to Polish families to work for them. I was ordered to work for Kulas, the frightening Polish village commander. A severe time began for me. I always was terrified. I had to work very hard all the day. There was no end of work for me. I did not have shoes any more, so I walked in clogs in the cold winter through the deep snow. Often I lost my clogs. Kulas had taken possession of the house of doctor Maroske and Dabels. Still today I wonder at how I was able walking every evening the path in darkness all alone across the rubble of the destroyed great Three-Bridges, but the fear of being punished by the commander Kulas was more dreadful than the fear of the spooky lonely path. Once I became ill and I stayed at home. It was a Sunday. When I had got up already, Siegfried suddenly shouted: "Ruth, Kulas is coming through the bridge!" As quick as a lightning I undressed and went down beneath the bed-clothes. Shortly after Kulas was in the room. He scrutinized me lifting the blanket to see whether I had my clothes on and said: "Oh, I see".

    In the spring things became even much harder. Day by day I had to shovel the muck from the outside lavatories and carry it in buckets to the garden on the sloping side. Sometimes Kulas and some other Poles stood near watching me and saying "Well, German maid, a fine job, isn't it?" On Sundays I had to keep watch over the cows in the meadow. Then former acquaintances passed by riding on bicycles to the Catholic church service. One told me once: "Well, Ruth, now you have got a fine job!" How deeply hurt I was! I had loved to go to church service, too. Yearningly, I looked at the church spire remembering the time when the bells of our evangelical church could be heard far beyond the village. Now, even the small bell was silent. Mrs. Hoffmann, our sexton, was still in the village, too. How much she must have suffered not being allowed to look after the church and ring the bells any more. All of us have known her running always at a trot to the church, three times a day, to ring out the bells to us. She also was not allowed to go to church, which remained closed to us forever. However, some Poles began to destroy it already at that time.

    To me the situation became more and more unbearable. For my hard work I was not paid a penny; all for nothing. Sometimes I dropped in at the Skierka family. They cheered me up. Finally, I looked for an other employer and dared simply to change my job. From the beginning I was comfortable with the Rebakowski family on the Wank farmstead. Nobody roared around any more. There was no need to fear any longer. However, the joy was not to last long. One day the frightening commander Kulas appeared in the yard. A fierce row broke out between Kulas and Rebakowski while I remained in the kitchen. Suddenly a Pole stepped into the room, a rifle at trail, saying: "If you do not come immediately with me, I`ll shoot you!" It was all the same to me, I did not want to go on anymore. Kulas raged in the yard and was beside himself. Mr Rebakowski was no match for this wicked man, so I had to go again.

    Kulas riding the bicycle and the other person holding his rifle behind me, so we marched through the village. Later on, I managed to go to the police and to the Wójt, the Polish mayor of the village, and eventually I was allowed to return to the Rebakowski family after all. This Polish family just treated me as a human being, and that was what mattered and did me good.

    At home the situation with the Roggenbug family had become quite unbearable, too. They were angry at us being still in the house. They wished even to have us deported. So we moved on from our home to live with the Schutza family in the house of the old brickwork. Mr Rebakowski conveyed our few belongings to our new place to stay. The Polish Schutza family granted us full freedom. On Sunday mornings we used to have our family divine worship and on Sunday afternoons we were sitting in the garden singing German folk songs.

    In the summer of 1946 a train with Germans expelled from our region crossed the border, the River Oder, unfortunately without us. Then, the next followed in the winter of 1946/47. It was terribly cold. Nevertheless, we would have liked it to go with it, too. Even our good and faithful old sexton, Mrs. Hoffmann, went with the expelees. Now, we were still much more lonely and feared the Poles will retain us for ever to work for them. Mr. Rebakowski, however, promised me that I will be allowed to go with the next transport. So we were waiting. On September 1, 1947, the last train with expellees was dispatched. This time we were in it. With us there were also Max Kowalke, our former postman, and the Warschkow family from Alexanderhof. I remember still Friedchen Winkel from Alexanderhof bitterly crying that she must stay. It was not until 1956 that she was allowed to leave.

    Now all Germans who did not subscribe for Poland were away. We were glad when we at least were in the cattle wagon crammed with 30 persons. Slowly the train moved on in Bütow, chief town of the district. We did not find our departure hard. Dispossessed of our farms there was nothing to keep us there. Our beloved homeland had become so strange to us. The journey was exciting. Max Kowalke often stood at the door of the wagon saying: "Surely, they are bringing us to other sites of forced labor." The terror persisted with us. Very slowly we went on. In the end we arrived at Stettin-Scheune. Here, a big camp had been set up. After a few days we were entrained again. Again fear was present: Would we really come to Germany? Eventually, we landed in Posen, then the train went west again and in the end we crossed the border at Forst in Lusatia, the territory of the Sorbs in Central Germany. We had left Poland.

    On our way we had to look for food ourselves. Together with us there was also the Schulz family from Radensfelde [Tschebiatkow]. In lack of a basin they used always two chamber pots. It looked so funny when they used them to fetch water and to wash. That often made us laugh out loud.

    Our train went now in the direction of Berlin. We were astonished to see for the first time the famous S-Bahn, the city and suburban train of Berlin, to see how the doors opened and closed automatically. This all went so quickly. The Schulz family included also a very old grandma who rather helplessly looked about. Mrs. Schulz used to say in Low German: "O, wie schal dat ware mit Oma, dei kimmt da doch nich so schnell rinn..." [Oh dear, what shall we do with our granny, she will not manage to come into the wagon at such a speed].

    Eventually we landed in the refugee camp of Saalow near Berlin. There we stayed a fortnight. It was a wonderful feeling to hear our mother tongue everywhere.

    On September 19, I celebrated my eighteenth birthday. I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers. It was a wonderful day for me. With all my heart I could sing the old Christian hymn: "In how many needs God the merciful has spread the wings over you....". Now that I was eighteen I had the opportunity to choose an occupation and to stand on my own feet.

    On September 30, we were provided our quarters in Ludwigsfelde near Berlin. With every train Berliners came to our region for food. They suffered dreadfully. Thus, the fields and forests all were scoured for food. Our father made clogs and baskets and in exchange for them he got food from the the country folk, thus keeping us from starving.

    We liked Ludwigsfelde. You could go to Berlin quickly and by no cost. Father used to say: "For 50 pennies I can see the whole of Berlin". We accustomed swiftly to all things. In Berlin there often were organized large cultural events, too, in which we took part. Thus, we were thankful that all things had eventually come just in time. The worst was over.

    I looked about for a training opportunity. I always had wished to become a nurse to help people in needs. My wish had still strengthened in the hard years gone by. On August 2, 1948, I joined the sisterhood of the Deaconesses` School of Nursing Salem at Berlin-Lichtenrade. Since that time I have been living in this community of faith, life and service. It is with genuine thankfulness that I look back on the years of my life. For me it has been a rich and full life.

    Marching in of the Red Army

    Heinz Kautz (*1931), Schloß Neuhaus, Westphalenweg 21, D-33104 Paderborn

    Marching in of the Red Army; then Expulsion

    - Translated by Veronika Ihlenfeldt, Melbourne / Australia -

    On March 3rd 1945 Gross Tuchen received the order for evacuation. For several weeks, our wagon was in the barn, completely ready, for us to take flight. The difficult decision was before us: Where should we go? On 2.3.1945, the Russians had taken possession of the Pomeranian Baltic Sea coast, north of Koeslin; on 4.3.45 Kolberg. As a result, the eastern part of Pomerania, was encircled by the Red Army. For this reason, our parents decided not to go. So did the families of Paul Biastoch and Heinrich Jantz. Our farmstead was occupied by German soldiers, during the night of the 3rd to 4th March, 1945. They said: "We will be building up a defence position here". One advised our father to leave with the family, since the farm would be likely to be destroyed, during fighting. Father followed the advice of the soldiers. We drove to our neighbour's, Paul Biastoch. During the fighting, we hid ourselves in a shelter, in the forest near the farm. On Monday, 5.3.1945, after the worst fighting had calmed down, we returned home in our wagon again. There, we were confronted by the Russians, threatening us with submachine guns. "Uri, Uri" [mispronounced German for 'watches'], and vodka they wanted. We were allowed to take nothing out of the wagon.. They took the horses and wagon, and left immediately, for once and for all.

    On the same day, during the evening, our neighbour Heinrich Jantz came to visit, and asked our father, would it be possible for him to shoot him and his wife. He was struck, and stomped on, by the Russians, although he did no injustice to anyone. Father said: "Heinrich, although all about us is tragedy, I cannot shoot my neighbours. My father said next day: "Heinz, go to the Jantz' and check up on them." Their front door was wide open, and the attic door too. I looked up, and saw someone hanging from the attic. It was Heinrich Jantz' brother, Fritz, but there was no sign of Heinrich Jantz and his wife! On the next day, we found out from Paul Biastoch, that Heinrich and his wife had plunged into the Kamenz River together, and had found the death they sought.

    We will never forget March 8th, 1945. Because he had lost his eye in the war, a Russian wanted to kill my father. My father had to regain his feet, again and again. Finally, the Russian decided against it; instead of this, a second Russian took a stone pot, and hit my father in the face. He lost several teeth as a result. While searching and plundering went on in the house, my father succeeded in fleeing to the hiding-place where my mother had already hidden. As I was the oldest son - I was ordered to search in the hay barn for my father. I did not find him, even though I knew where he was. Thereupon, I had to go into the grain barn. I had to climb on the ladder high into the straw. When I said: "He is not here ", a Russian approached. He grabbed me by both my neck and my back, and threw me onto the concrete threshing floor. Deciding that this was not enough; he took the submachine gun and hit me several times on my chest. I scrambled on hands and knees, pain-disoriented and bleeding, into the house, to my siblings. He followed me, and fired several times in rage, through the kitchen ceiling.

    Other Russians came continuously, during the whole day until the late evening. The house was totally ravaged; whatever they liked, they took away. During this evening, we then left our house and searched for refuge at the Malottki family's residence. Paul Biastoch's family were already staying there. We then went to the deserted Rudnick farm. We kept ourselves hidden here, in the hayloft. We were supplied with food, by the Malottki's family. After a few days, when it had become somewhat calmer, we returned to our house.

    One day in April, on the way back to the Borchardt, bakery, I was detained by Russians whilst cattle-droving. To my question: "Where are you taking me?" came the answer: "Rummelsburg." On the route between Radensfelde and Kremerbruch, Joachim Knopp from Buetow and I, made ourselves scarce. We took advantage of a favourable moment, when one of the two mounted Russians, wanted to take lodgings in Kremerbruch.

    One day, the Polish militia came with a horse wagon, loaded with a piglet container. They said to my father: "Sit in here!" When our mother wept, she got the answer: " There is no need to weep, unless you never see him again." During the ride, father tried to dissuade them. So one said: "Give us the name of a Pole who knows you." He named Anton Gorny, who worked with the farmer Albert Schlutt during the war. In reality, Gorny had taken possession of the Jantz' farm. They went there. After approx. 2 hours, they came out of the house and father was allowed to leave the piglet container. They said to him: "Push off!" That evening, Anton Gorny came to us and said, that they wanted to bring father to Buetow, like so many others. He would have to talk a lot, to gain his freedom.

    In June 1945, three Poles appeared on our agricultural holding, with the words: "This farm is occupied." Addressed to our father: "You can work with me as a farm hand, or you must go via the Oder". The farm was then taken by Stefan Gliewa. During the war, Stefan had worked in Murchin, in the County of Anklam, as a shepherd.

    On 24.11.1945, our parents, Fritz and Else Kautz, and their children, Werner, Gerda, Helmut, and I, as well as our grandma, Martha Kautz, had to leave our beloved home. Our grandpa, Otto Krautz, had passed away, immediately before the Russians marched in. We were sent from Buetow to Lippusch. There, we had to leave the train. My brother, Werner and I, were ordered by a Pole in blue uniform, to clean the railway station area. His words were: "You Hitler pigs have shit here". We got a bucket, and had to take away the excrement with bare hands. If we used a piece of paper to assist, we were stomped in the back. During our task, a lucky coincidence occurred, which helped us. My father met a Pole, who had worked during the war with the blacksmith, Roeske, in Gross Tuchen. This Pole, ensured that we no longer needed to perform this terrible work.

    Our journey then went further, to Konitz, Schneidemuehl, Kreuz, and Landsberg at Kuestrin / Oder. We were in this destroyed city on 7.12.1945. On 8.12.1945, we found our first lodgings with a farmer's wife, Ella Holz, in Klein Buenzow, county Anklam / Western Pomerania. My parents received a settler's place in Krenzow, county Anklam, on 11.2.1946.

    I, Heinz Kautz, fled from the Soviet Zone on 17.11.1952 to West Berlin. Through Hamburg, led my way to the camp, Sant Bostel, and camp Stukenbrock near Paderborn. In Paderborn - Schloss Neuhaus, I found work, and also a new home, on 26.1.1953. My sister Gerda, left on 5.6.1956, the former GDR [German Democratic Republic], and her journey, led via Paderborn to the Lower Rhine, where she found work, and a new home, in Uedem-Keppeln. Because of the establishment of the agricultural production cooperatives, my parents and my brothers, Werner and Helmut, saw no future in East Germany, and fled in April 1959 to West Berlin. After a stay in the camp Marienfelde, they came into the Federal Republic. Then their journey led through Paderborn to the Lower Rhine. In the meantime, our parents had passed away. My brother Werner found work, and his new home, in Goch-Pfaelzdorf, and my brother Helmut, in Goch-Nierswalde.

    sgd Heinz Kautz, 1994

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    Default I used to live in Koszalin.

    I am a Polish-American. My name is Haberman. I probably have some German/Jewish heritage. My grandparents were killed in Warsaw Ghetto, during the war.

    I lived in Koszalin, Zachodnie Pomorze, Poland, from 1970 to 1982. I used to think about Germans who had been residents of this region before me. They were victimized by Hitler Nazis, by themselves, by Russians, and Poles.

    It is a shame to know how barbaric can all humans become under certain circumstances.

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