Hugo Fritsch

* 1933  †︎ 2016

  • “At the end of June or at the beginning of July they sent us to the countryside to do forced labour there. While we were interned in the stadium, we only received a semolina soup for the baby, no milk, nothing. Then we went to do forced labour at the state-owned farm in Strachov, and my little brother died there. He received first milk and he could do nothing about it. He was buried somewhere in some Catholic cemetery, that’s what my mother told me. A catholic priest was present, but when I was later searching in the registry office in Kralupy, I didn’t find anything. Later I was told that it was registered only in the city administration office and that these documents, as they told me in the 1990s, do not exist anymore, because they have been kept only for thirty years and none of them exist anymore.”

  • “This camp was a former SS instruction camp. It was built from a concentration camp, and it was its auxiliary camp. They had to construct it and SS men were there afterwards. When Russians took over the camp, it was then used to intern 15 000 captured German soldiers. They came in August 1945, they sent all of them to Russia and then the ministry of interior took over the camp and they turned it into a camp for deported Germans. They were deporting them to the Western or Eastern Camp. We arrived to the camp which had been left there by the Russians. The camp was torn down, electricity wires were cut out, water pipes were disassembled, and the Russians took all of this with them, including the stoves which they used for heating. Nothing was there. They had taken everything with them. People had to repair the broken barracks. There were just women with children or old men. What did we get to eat? In the mornings we sometimes got coffee, sometimes a piece of bread, sometimes soup; nothing else was given to us. I have all of this in the documents from the International Red Cross.”

  • “How was it in the internment camp? There were barracks for men, for women, and for families. My mom and two of us boys were in the family barrack, and grandmother was in the women’s barrack and father was in the men’s barrack. At the end they were in the hospital barrack and they died there. I was there alone and nobody wanted me in the family barrack and thus I went to the men’s barrack when I was a thirteen-year-old boy. I did not have more food, either. Today, I cannot even believe that I had not died, that it happened like this. In the morning, all men from the men’s barrack had to stand up when an inspector or the camp’s commander came there. They had to stand up and salute him, and so on. I was little, and so I stood as the last one in the row of men, and the commander asked what was the little one doing there? The barrack leader told him. He had an interpreter, and everything was said through him. People who wanted to speak to him directly were punished. He looked at me, he came to me and he asked me in German; he could speak German perfectly. He asked me why my parents died and so on. At that time I knew that he did not wish to be spoken to in German, and so I was replying to him in Czech. He then said that the interpreter would send me to him. Two or three days later he came and he took me to the commander and he chatted with me and then he told me that from then on I was his personal helper. I thus became his personal helper and I was running errands for him as he wanted. I was to take orders only from him, not from any customs officers or officials.”

  • “We set out with the little baby on 18th April. There were about a hundred people in this train, it was completely full. It was not like today when you sit comfortably. The train was only able to go northward, because it could not go anywhere else. It was not possible to go southward, nor eastward, and it thus went to the north, towards Prague. Airplanes were shooting at us, and they damaged the steam engine two or three times. The train ride lasted for seven days. At first we arrived to Prague, from Prague we went to Pilsen, and from Pilsen we wanted to pass through the Rakovník and Budějovice district. The area in Upper Austria, around Linz, was still passable. We wanted to go with that refugee train to Linz, because there was no war and the railroad track was not damaged and the train could go there. But partisans blasted a bridge near Blatná.”

  • Celé nahrávky
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    Kiefersfelden, Německo, 17.05.2015

    délka: 01:06:35
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

We will not get out of here alive!

dobové foto.jpg (historic)
Hugo Fritsch
zdroj: archiv pamětníka, archiv Post Bellum

Hugo Fritsch was born on May 9, 1933 in Brno to a Czech mother and a German father. At the end of the war in April 1945, he, his Czech grandmother, his father, his mother and his elder brother Gerhard and three-month-old brother Willy boarded a refugee train which was to take them to Germany or Austria. After a week of wandering though the Czech Republic the train stopped in Blatná in southern Bohemia. The family had stayed in the local school building for several weeks before they were sent to Prague to an internment camp which was built in the Strahov stadium. Young Willy died in Kralupy nad Vltavou where the family did forced labour. In autumn 1945 they moved from the internment camp in Prague-Hagibor to a camp in Lešany-Prosečnice where all of Hugo‘s relatives, his older brother, mother, grandmother and father died in winter months of 1946. The twelve-year-old boy remained alone in the men‘s barrack of the internment camp. He soon became a personal messenger to the camp‘s commander and he thus became able to move freely in all areas of the camp as well as outside its perimeter. In summer 1946 the Red Cross managed to move him from Prosečnice to Prague where Hugo studied in the Salesian boarding school for two years. In 1948 he went to his grandmother‘s in Austria. He completed a church school in Bavaria and then he worked as a bank clerk. Hugo wrote a book detailing the story of his family and he gave many interviews for television, radio and the press. He has also held many discussion sessions with students and pupils from German and Czech schools.