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E 3000 - Emigranten

1/ Oldrich Dominik – the brother of a No 311 Sqn´s WOP recalls :

Both the parents and me were nabbed by the Gestapo Secret Police on Sep 17, 1942 in our house in the town of Konice and taken to the local Gendarmerie Station. The Rychnovskys, Dvoraks, Millers and other eight to ten people had already been detained there.

We were brought to the town the Olomouc to the building of the Regional Court. Made to stand in a corridor facing a wall and barred from turning back or beaten by a German soldier. Then a picture of me was taken for a file. Both some men and all the detained women were sent to the Svatoborice Internment Camp, South Moravia in several weeks. But as Vilibald as Oldrich Dominik were brought to the Pod kastany prison in the town of Brno. Each Tuesday names of the detainees for a transport to Breslau ie beheading or Auschwitz ie gas were called up. On Jan 2, 1943 twenty one people were sent to the Auschwitz Camp including a father of a No 311 Sqn´s pilot Mecislav Kozak and as the brother as the father of a No 311 WOP Vaclav Knoll. Both the fathers died in a gas chamber on their arrival. Also both the Dominiks should have joined this group, but a prisoner´s foreman named Mario sent them back to their hut. In several days they both left for the Svatoborice Internment Camp.

All the detainees from Konice arrested on Sep 17 were sent home except the Dominiks at Chistmass 1942.

Not all the people held in the Svatoborice Interment Camp had to work, only the younger ones. But Oldrich was not in a group working outside the camp. Vilibald was caught speaking to his wife working in a kitchen and punished by spending a week in solitary confinement called ´Mortuary´ by the prisoners, because corpses shared the room with him. On March 8, 1943 was Oldrich Dominik taken back to Brno. Both the Dominiks were released home on Apr 24, 1943, but were watched as by the Gestapo as the Gendarms even while working in the field.

2/ Recalls of the daughter of a No 311 Sqn´s cook Florian Jahoda :

Not only my mother Bohumila, but also my uncle Alois were in the Svatoborice Interment Camp. My mother had been held in the Olomouc prison for several days first. She was released home in January 1943. My uncle had been taken from the Olomouc prison to the Brno Pod kastany one and later to Svatoborice. Brought back to Brno later and released home on January 19, 1945.

3/ The son of a No 310 Sqn´s fighter pilot Rudolf Zima recalls :

Arrested in Prague on Sep 17, 1942, the families of the ones, who had left their Motherland to fight against Hitler abroad, were held for three days and nights in the Prague Holesovice Fair premises. They slept on straw provided with two buckets only. Thanks to a bribe for a Czech Gendarm I could meet my mother inside the Hall on the third night. All three hundred and fifty six detainees were brought to the town of Kyjov, South Moravia on the next day and walked to the Svatoborice Internment Camp.

Each had to present themselves by a number alotted in Prague. The women were separated from the men and slept in wooden huts on bunkbeds having one thin blanket only. They were given a single meal only during the first three months – warm water called a soup and a tiny slice of bread. All green herbs in the vicinity of the huts were eaten. The Camp´s CO Franz Kaiser ordered line ups very often, making the detainees stand in the open while freezing and going wet.

German guards were replaced by Czech Gendarms. All the women were nothing but only skin and bone till Christmass 1942. The Gestapo came on a Christmass Day.The women thought they would be interrogated, but they were announced the Christmass Service would be held so they gathered. The Service was launched by a young man wearing priestly clothing. When he turned back towards them and the women supposed his blessing them, the man laughed at them, saying that the all of them would go to hell and that was a show only.

All the Gestapo men had a laugh of the women and left for Brno. The women felt terrible. The Svatoborice rector Jan Sigmund learned of this unheard event and through his superiors was no repeating of the event of such nature achieved. Contrary, the women were allowed to attend the Sunday Service in the village, escorted by armed Czech Gendarms.

Coming to the Svatoborice Church, the detained women were inconspiciously given food by the residents to Svatoborice. My mum always attended the Sunday Service if her turn was. She was tasked to work as in manufacturing grenade rip cords or knitting straw boot and winter hat lining, as in the kitchen. Several of her fingers were broken and her skull cracked by the Gestapo men while being interrogated. These injuries were visible for all the rest of her life.

The Gestapo officer named Tunz was posted at the Svatoborice Interment Camp as a permanent supervisor and CO Kaiser could do nothing without his consent. Tunz, Kaiser and some other Gestapo men tortured several Jewish prisoners to death. Anytime the Gestapo came from Brno, the camp was full of roar and the line ups lasting for hours followed. Freezing, the women had to stand here only wearing their night clothing while being ridiculed. And they had to face other various hardships.

I wrote my mum in accordance with the regulations. Assisted by two Gendarms my two aunts organized my clandestine meeting the mum in the small door of the Camp´s wooden fence on the night of Aug 25, 1944. Carrols and the anthem were sung to the detainees by the residents to the village of Svatoborice at Christmass 1944.

On Apr 14, 1945 the Gestapo came and loaded a hundred and twenty detainees of higher importance on the trucks and brought them to Brno. They were taken to the camp near the village of Plana upon Luznice, South Bohemia. The group arrived at this camp on April 17. According to the info coming to light after WWII the detainees should have been used as life shields or shot dead including children. My family with my father Rudolf arrived at Svatoborice on Jun 22, 1947 where we met President Benes. My mum was given a small vase decorated in regional motifs at one of the reunions held at Svatoborice she had taken part in.