Escape From Sedetenland
By Warne Wilson.
Copyright 2012 by Warne Wilson
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Escape From Sudetenland
Gunther Hoffman was eight years old in 1938 when Germany annexed Sudetenland, the western region of Czechoslovakia where he lived with his parents and his two older sisters in a little village close to the German border. The village was German and the villagers spoke German as their natural language. Gunther knew little of war, apart from the stories he had heard of 1914 - 1918 and the years of inflation and famine which followed before he was born. Germany had found a new rising star, Adolph Hitler, and the promise of his thousand year Reich.
Nothing changed for a week or two in the village, but Czech people there and in the surrounding countryside began to resent the long standing German families. Gunther’s father lost his job at the village Post Office when a Czech was appointed in his place, and he had to find work on a sugar beet farm.
On September first 1939 Gunther and his sisters sat obediently with their parents listening to the evening wireless news. Gunther was tired of the speeches and the cheering which dominated the news and he was daydreaming. He looked up in alarm as his father swore and his mother caught her breath in a stifled groan. “Our invincible German army is marching into Poland supported by our glorious Luftwaffe. Germany is at war!”
Wehrmacht tanks rolled through the village, and as Germans, Gunther’s family became hated and abused by the Czechs. At school he had his problems, he found his schoolbag filled with dirt and his lunch of sausage and cheese ruined. A big Czech boy pushed him and others began to chant “Hun, Hun, Hun.” He lunged at the big boy but someone else pushed him sideways and he fell, skinning his knees and a hand.