Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Obsolete German villages in Bohemia

I recently learned of something terrible that happened in Bohemia, the homeland of my great-grandmother Rosie (Sitzman/Zitzmann) Wagner. After World War II had ended, the Sudeten Germans, the German-speaking inhabitants of the Bohemian part of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), were brutally attacked, killed, and driven from their homes. According to one source, 3.2 million people were forcibly relocated to Germany, with no say in the matter, and only with those possessions they could carry with them. I've spoken recently to a survivor of this tragedy, who provided me with the above map. Each red dot represents one settlement where German-speaking residents, some of whose family had lived in the area for centuries, were beaten, killed, or forcibly driven from their homes and country. Most of these settlements were left uninhabited, and are now gone.

This really struck home, as my great-grandmother and her family lived on the western border of Bohemia, in the Tachau region, which is on the far western edge of the region. Her family had lived in the villages of Rosshaupt, Neuhasl, Ströbl, Zirk, and others since at least the late 1700s. To think that her relatives were treated in such a brutal way is unthinkable, yet it happened. Maybe that was one reason she forbade her daughters to speak of where they were from.

To learn more about these events, and to read English translations of first-hand accounts, please visit

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