Karel Komers

* 1938

  • "Before that I served on the line [on the border with Hungary, formed by the Danube], but you didn't run there, to Hungary. There were no roadblocks there. The Danube could be crossed, but it was a friendly state, so there was no running away. But you ran higher up, at the beginning of our section, into Austria. You could swim over to Hungary and get to Austria by land or you could cross the Danube, but there was a lot of guarding there. There were no roadblocks, but the bank was guarded. You could get on a boat, we were patrolling, we were checking the boats to see if they were carrying material for smuggling, merchant ships, mostly from Yugoslavia, Hungary. That had the advantage that we had unlimited access to alcohol, when we did a check on the ship, the sailors always provided us with some drinks. That's what got us into trouble. A couple of guys always got greased up after duty. It wasn't wild out there. The occasions when there was somebody shot and somebody drowned, it was floating down that Danube and the custom was that nobody wanted to pull the dead out of the water, we let them float to the next section. We said: 'Let them pick it up a bit further down there'. These sections were of several kilometres. About twice we fished out some dead, I don't know if they were shot or drowned. It was a quiet border, compared to the one to the west."

  • "That was also such an unpleasant event. My sister came there with my grandmother, they got some information that my mother had died. I'm surprised they even found her there. Or maybe it was through the brother, I don't know either. The day after she died, they got there, went to see her. She was still lying in the hallway with a few other dead people, covered with a sheet. They showed her to them under the sheet that it was mother and let them lie there. We never found the place of burial, supposedly she was buried in a mass grave in a Prague cemetery. It was not possible to attend the funeral at that time. My father's brother would have had to arrange it somehow, but nothing like that happened. We don't know where she was buried, supposedly in a mass grave, that was common then."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Karlovy Vary, 21.03.2022

    délka: 02:12:06
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

We escaped from Karlovy Vary from the Nazis with only a suitcase

Karel Komers in his youth
Karel Komers in his youth
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Karel Komers was born on 22 April 1938 in Karlovy Vary in the family of master tailor Josef Komers. His mother, née Woditschková, was of Jewish origin. After the Munich Agreement and the German occupation of the Sudetenland, the family had to flee inland and settled in Prague. Josef Komers refused to divorce his wife and was interned in a camp in Bystřice near Benešov for the husbands of Jewish women. Thanks to this, his mother escaped deportation, but after her husband‘s imprisonment she fell ill and died in January 1945. After the war, the widowed Josef Komers and his children returned to Karlovy Vary, where he again ran a tailoring business. However, after February 1948, the tailoring business was nationalised, and for decades Karel Komers had the stigma of incorrect „class origin“. He could not study, he only graduated from the chemical apprenticeship school in Sokolov and the chemical industrial night school. As part of his compulsory military service, he was assigned to the border guards who guarded the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border on the Danube. He worked at the Sokolov chemical plant until 1967, when he found employment at the waterworks in Karlovy Vary-Tuhnice. On the day of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact troops, he solved the difficult situation of the town‘s water supply there all by himself. He worked at the Tuhnice waterworks until 1984 and then worked at the newly opened waterworks in Březová, where he remained until his retirement in 2003.