Monday, 25 June 2018

Ústí exhibit shows items taken by Germans forced to leave after WW2

17 February 2017

Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Feb 16 (CTK) - The Usti municipal museum opened on Thursday an exhibition presenting the stories of items that Germans, who had to leave their homes in East European countries after World War Two, took with them, the exhibition's curator Tomas Okurka told CTK.

The exhibition was prepared by the House of the German East in Munich, Germany. The Usti museum translated the texts into Czech and added items from its region to the exhibition that will remain open until May 14.

Okurka said the people often had only small pieces of luggage and took things to which they had strong ties.

During their forced deportation, the German inhabitants could take with them only luggage weighing from 30 to 50 kilogrammes. "They usually took the things they needed the most, such as clothes, basic cookware, duvets and pillows and very often also some very personal item like prayer books or children's toys," Okurka said.

Handkerchiefs with the initials KZ were taken from Prague by Kathe Zich from Rosenfeld. There are still stains on the handkerchiefs left there by lipstick with which swastikas were painted on the faces of the Germans, the authors of the exhibition write.

A teddy bear belonged to a small girl from Brno whose family moved to Vienna and later Munich.

Okurka said Germans who were recognised as anti-fascists were allowed to take furniture with them. They could have stayed in Czechoslovakia after the war but a vast majority of them decided to leave, he said.

The exhibition also shows the history of the German settlements in Central and East Europe. According to it, the ancestors of one third of citizens of the current Germany came from East Europe.

After the Nazi Germany lost World War Two in 1945, several million German inhabitants had to leave Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. Within the wild expulsions and the later organised deportations, about three million Germans left Czechoslovakia.

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