Rudolf Pompe

* 1933  

  • “They took all the men and boys from around here aged fifteen to sixty years. They put them to work, and some people came back immediately, some never. My brother was sent to Ostrava to the mines. My father was sent first to the forests, then to Adolfovice and Nýznerov, where there had been POW camps for Russians during the war and where they then kept Germans. Later on, he was sent to Jáchymov. They had to work. They blamed my father for having worked at the village council during the war.”

  • “We didn’t have Czechoslovak citizenship. We didn’t take it, because they sent the Germans to the mines. So I received a letter saying that if I didn’t accept Czechoslovak citizenship, I’d have to pay about two thousand crowns monthly for the privilege of living here. We couldn’t afford that, so I had to take the citizenship. I went to Jeseník and told them that if I took it, they’d no doubt send me to the mines. [The man there] said that was out of the question, that they needed people like me in the army. I believed him and signed [the citizenship application]. I was drafted in autumn, and they sent me straight to Ostrava [the largest mining city in Czechoslovakia - trans.].”

  • “We’d built ourselves a new house, so we were one of the first to be evicted. My brother was fifteen years old when they locked him up. I was twelve, so then I was the oldest sibling, and I had to help sustain my grandparents. We didn’t have anything. They evicted us at an hour’s notice. They loaded us up on to a hay wagon and took us to upper Domašov and deposited us there. They didn’t even give us a tin tub to wash in - my youngest brother was born in 1945. They took everything. Later on, my brother returned, so we got some wood from our neighbours so we could at least light a fire. And leave. Then [the authorities] decided they’d let us go to Germany. I stayed to care for my grandparents, but the rest went to Liberec. They were in Liberec for a year, but they didn’t let them leave, because they knew that my brother and I were capable of military service.”

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Under the tops of the High Ash Mountains

Rudolf Pompe -1952
Rudolf Pompe -1952
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Rudolf Pompe was born on 23 January 1933 in the village of Domašov (German: Thomasdorf) to parents of German ethnicity. His nine-member family was not included in the post-war expulsion of Germans. However, his father and brother were subsequently sent to forced labour, the family was evicted from their home and left with no means of sustenance. At the age of thirteen, Rudolf Pompe thus became the family‘s breadwinner. The authorities repeatedly thwarted the family‘s attempts to emigrate to Germany. Supposedly, when his father sent a complaint to the president of the republic, he ended up spending three years in the uranium mines of the penal labour camps near Jáchymov. Most of his family took the opportunity provided by the relaxed political atmosphere of 1968 to move to the town of Waldkraiburg in Bavaria. However, Rudolf Pompe happened to be repairing his house at the time, and his wife Helga was pregnant with their daughter Monika, and so they decided to wait. But Czechoslovakia was invaded by Warsaw Pact armies, and the family was not legally allowed to emigrate during the normalisation period that followed. Rudolf Pompe is thus the last member of his large family to still be living in Domašov.