Massacre of Landskron (Lanskroun) on May 17th, 1945

by Hennine Hausner

I was, at that time, eleven years old, my sister Gerlinde was seven years old and my mother Hermine Schwab was seven months pregnant. The Soviet troops were about one week in our village OberJohnsdorf, near Landskron. Since my grandparents, Julius and Hermine Kreuziger, had not just a farm and a guesthouse, but also a butcher shop, my grandfather had to butcher cattle for the troops. All of the young women were in hiding including my mother, because the Soviet troops were still raping women. Thus, we children were in our grandparents' house. My grandmother was severely handicapped, even crippled by arthritis and thus, the soldiers did not bother her.

My father, Robert Schwab, was not drafted during the war due to a problem with his legs. He worked in Landskron in the City Hall. My uncle, Reinhard Schwab, had finished his engineering education and worked in a factory also in Landskron. Our families did not feel in any way guilty of having harmed our Czech neighbors. That is why they did not flee before the Soviets and Czech partisans arrived.

On May 17, the situation had somewhat normalized and thus, my father and uncle went to Landskron to work. Later in the morning a few truckloads of Czech partisans arrived in order to conduct a People's Court. Of course, this was not known. The Czech partisans went to the nearby villages and collected all of the men between sixteen and sixty and even older and drove them on foot to Landskron. During the journey they were beaten and rifle shots were fired over their heads to prepare them for the tribunal. My grandfather, Julius Kreuziger, who was at that time sixty-five, was also among those who had to go to that court.

By early afternoon, hundreds of men were at the city square and the tribunal started. My father and uncle were among these. They also had to appear before the tribunal during which time they were beaten with rifles, and they had to salute "Heil Hitler". Others had to kneel down in front of these judges and Czech partisans would kick them in their genitals and knock them to the ground. My father was so severely beaten with rifles that his eyes were knocked out of his head. Half dead he was then hung on a lantern in the city square. My uncle Reinhard was equally beaten and then, half dead, was thrown in the village fountain, whereby, he drowned.

During the late afternoon, the tribunal resumed. Over forty men laid dead on the square or were hanging from the lanterns. The German men, who were not killed, were ordered into custody overnight and the tribunal continued the next day. On May 19, these dead bodies were thrown on wagons and hauled to thecemetery. Among those who came to view the tribunal were many Czech persons, who either wanted to see "'justice" or felt sorry for these men. My uncle, Emil Pelzl, also was among those at the City Square. Since my grandfather and uncle Emil were known by many Czech farmers due to their cattle trading, they were, without knowing of each other, taken by the Czech farmers, removed from the square, sent home and told to hide during the next few days until all this terror ended. At the cemetery, the other German men had to dig a mass grave. The dead bodies were thrown into it with a very ugly disrespect by the Czech partisans, urinating on them.

Before my grandfather came home, we had heard of the terrible crimes and massacres which were committed at Landskron. My grandfather, in total frustration, decided to destroy his whole family, as he told us years later. During that night, my grandfather wanted, while we were sleeping, first to shoot us children, then the rest of the family and after that himself. My grandmother, obviously suspicious of this, did not rest and kept us children awake. Thus, one hour after another went by. As morning broke, my grandfather gave up his plan. Terrible days and nights followed this massacre at Landskron.

On August 2, my sister Marlies was born and thus, my mother and grandparents had new responsibilities. In the spring of 1946, our family, my mother, us three children, my grandparents and Aunt Anni Kreuziger among others, were expelled from our home, put in freight cars and shipped to Germany. We arrived in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, at the expellee camp and a new life started.

In the sununer of 1964, my husband and I traveled for the first time to Czechoslovakia on the occasion of a medical conference in Prague. We already were American citizens and hoped to be safe. During this trip, we also visited Landskron and the cemetery. Near the wall of the cemetery, where the mass grave was, we saw a pile of dirt and weeds of all kinds covering it. In this mass grave, where my father and uncle, along with the other men were buried, nothing was ever placed on the grave, like a plaque or monument. When we revisited that gravesite in the spring of 1992, we could not find the mass grave. The dirt was leveled and grass was seeded. Thus, nobody knew that this was once a mass grave.

At this time, not one of these criminals was brought to trial and the Czech Government even now, under a so-called democracy, has never found it necessary to investigate and punish those responsible. Many of these Czech criminals are still alive and still protected by the Benes Decrees!

On September 17, 1995, we dedicated a chapel at our farm in Sauk City, Wisconsin in memory of all the expellees. In this chapel a plaque was installed in memory of my slain father and uncle and all of the others, who suffered at the hands of these brutal criminals. The Memorial is under the motto: "O GOD, FORGIVE THEM AS THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING".

im Schönhengstgau