Edgar Menzel

* 1936  

  • “These two houses are called Eschelbach. They were two neighbouring farmers. And they were very friendly; they received us very well, then said: 'Well, if you are there, then get some milk. If you had not have come, I would have picked you up with my tractor, but if you're already there, it's good, accommodate yourselves, then come down, in the evening there's milk. ' It was a room, a large one of about 30 m2, and that was our apartment. There were beds put up and then it was called 'Ok, pull in there.' We lived there in a very provisional manner, of course, and we were dependent on the coexistence with a farmer.”

  • “They drove me down to the village Zastávka by bus to Javornik and took me to a photographer. Then he arranged me into a correct position. I was standing there and looking proud, with a Wehrmacht army hat put on, so I also looked at myself, and had a picture of me made. The idea behind the photo was the following: they left a few prints, an estimated three, four and on one of these photos I wrote my aunt "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" using golden letters. And that was done to look like a Christmas card. And then the card was sent to my father to the concentration camp.”

  • “I can only remember when we were there. My parents and my two uncles were all busy charging the trucks to take them to the Javornik station. And as a little boy I was told: You are going down to the village now and you sign up somewhere in the school, or wherever. So I was also stifled so went through village and then came the former neighbors and asked me, a small boy: Do you have to leave now too? I then quite shyly, modestly nodded my head. Then suddenly I remember myself sitting in the railroad caravan, under the cover (?) in a small room, where we, children, laid and looked down and entertained ourselves as the train passed by. The train was driven through the Czech Republic, the doors were pushed, the boys sat somewhere in the wagon and their feet dangled down, the adults sat somewhere in the back, and we children watched everything for fun as everything was passing by.”

  • "My father spent four years in a concentration camp and like him there were hundreds, thousands of prisoners who all said: Just a moment, we do not want to be treated as the rest of the Germans. But it has been said that they must get out. Well, they said, if we have to get out, we go voluntarily, but then, please, in an orderly way. We do not want to go out as expellees, but with honor. Well, then you do, you get so many people approved, you also get a railroad car, we can even arrange the transports, about five hundred people, and you, the old antifascists, can you organize yourself and go out as you think is right. And there was my father with me, among the first ones who organized it. They said to my father, "Menzel, you are taking care of the people of Freiwaldau now. And whoever wants to get out of it, should get in touch with you. "He got a list of all people who were there. There were my parents and I, my grandmother, grandfather and the two children, my aunt, who was married, with her husband and children, and the other aunt. And all those who somehow could prove that they had either resisted, or at least were not Nazis, who had been more restrained and quiet during the Hitler era, or who were good Christians. My father and his colleagues, they were two or three men altogether, who managed the whole lot, and wrote down a list all those who wanted to leave voluntarily.”

  • “Back then my father was a stone grinder in a stone industry in Friedeberg, he was engaged in the party (DSAP) and as a local chairman, and he sent a telegram to the head of the party in Freiwaldau." Do not let yourself be wrapped up, do not take part in this story of Henleing, it is not the right thing, don’t you touch it! "And an enemy found the telegram and gave it to the Gestapo officials, so they summoned him, Mr. Menzel, come to Freiwaldau, what's wrong with you? , And so on, two weeks later, again, a question came up, and then he was interrogated again, and a gestapo man, who interrogated him, said: ´Mr. Menzel, I'm sorry, I cannot find anything now I'm sorry, I cannot do anything for you´, and had sent him home, and again two or three weeks later two gestapo officials in long gray coats with huts arrived: ´Mr. Menzel, come with us´, and took him to Freiwaldau. He sent a postcard: I'm here in Freiwaldau, and I'll get back to you again. And then he was gone.”

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We actually lived rather well

6926-portrait_former.jpg (historic)
Edgar Menzel
zdroj: dobové foto archiv pamětníka, současné foto pořízeno na místě nahrávání

Edgar Menzel was born on December 12, 1936, in the picturesque village Zastávka in Rychleby Mountains. His father, Josef Menzel, was a social democrat and during the Second World War he spent four years in several concentration camps and fuel plant in Záluží near Most. One year after the end of the war, the Menzel family lived peacefully until they had to leave their home in August 1946. As an anti-fascist, the father organized voluntary transport for Nazi enemies, Christians, and others to Germany. The family Menzel lived for several years on a farm together with the farmer family. It was well received and integrated quickly. Josef Menzel was active as a „refugee chairman“ in Bavaria. Edgar Menzel is a retired teacher, married with two daughters and five granddaughters.