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Letter from Robert Closter who visited Hoslau House #2 in Czech Republic

To his mother Alice Sukup Closter

Aug 18, 1992

 

[will skip the personal stuff and just add info on Hoslau House #2 and Glaserau]

[brackets in red are Notes I am adding…. S.K.Mach]

 

Dear Mom,

………. When we got home and viewed our video tape we found that all our tape from Hoslau and Glaserau were erased! We do have some video of the Dovalils which we will send to you, also some photos. We have no shots of house #2.

[Sklare Skláře ( German Glaserau) is a former West Bohemian village and settlement basic unit of the municipality Mnichov in Domažlice District in the Czech Republic.]

 

I gathered our thoughts and made a sketch from memory. The house is standing firmly with a good roof but is neglected. A lot of bricks are showing where the stucco has fallen off. The second floor looks unoccupied with some boarded up windows.

 

The first floor has curtains in the windows and flower pots. The door was standing open. I knocked and a girl came out and I tried to talk to her. I showed her the name Soukup on your family chart and tried to tell her that I am Soukup. I pointed to the 1800s dates and tried to get her to recognize the name Soukup. She didn’t understand.

 

I video taped the house. The door and threshold were very worn. The house sits on the top of the hill in the center of town. There are no businesses.

 

[his wife writes a little]

Hoslau looks like a poor farming village of 40-50 years ago. There weren’t many people out of their houses. We saw 2 children and possibly their father when he came to his driveway to see what car was approaching his house. He lived in the house next door to house #2. Robby noticed another lady looking out of the window of the house across the road.

 

I don’t remember seeing anything modern anywhere in Hoslau. The few cars I saw were Traban (Russian cars made of plastic bodies and 2 stroke, like motor cycle, engines) and they looked run down. There were 2 or 3 newer looking houses and 1 or 2 possibly older houses that have been fixed up. The whole village had maybe 20 houses – no church, nothing that looked like a school.

[This would make since since Hoslau was just a village (or dwelling). The people went to the nearest town, Ronsperg, to go to Church, School, and Market.  I have seen this town spelled Ronsperg; Ronsberg; and Ronsperk.]

 

The countryside is beautiful, with rolling hills and some forests. Alice – you need to go too! It was a great feeling, even for me, to visit a town and even to see the house that Robby’s forbears lived in!

 

We visted the Dovalils the day before we went to Hoslau. They are very nice people and made us feel welcome. Ernst grilled pork steaks, Lore had made a beautiful and quite fancy cake (tasted like it had rum in it to me). It tasted as good as it looked. We had wine, schnapps, beer and good conversation thanks to Sonja and her translating.

I asked Lore about the time in 1946 when she and her family had to leave their home in Glaserou, Czechoslovakia and why they had to leave. She explained that after the war the boundary line was moved, and while they previously had lived in Germany, when the line was moved, Glaserou was in Czechoslovakia. The Czechs made all the Germans leave. Lore was 8 years old at the time. She said no one thought they were leaving forever. She said many dug holes in their gardens and buried their dishes for safe-keeping. They were given only 8 days notice and were told they could take only 40 kilograms each with them. They were taken to Taus along with many other Germans – it was like a collection point. Then they loaded onto cattle cars for the trip to Germany.

[Taus may refer to Domazlice (German: Taus), a town of the Czech Republic.]

[40 kg is equal to a little over 88 lbs]

 

They were first sent to Simsheim (I think only briefly) then to Weibstadt on Aug. 1, 1946. They lived in a school at first with a lot of other people. She said no one really wanted them in Germany either as there were too many refugees.

[Sinsheim is a town in southwestern Germany, in the Rhine Neckar Area of the state aden-Burttemberg. Waibstadt is a town in the district of Rhein-Neckar-Kreis in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.]

 

Lore’s father Joseph was a medic during the war and so he had to stay gone longer than most. He returned to Germany in Dec. 1946. In 1952 they built the house they still live in. It was a lot smaller than and I think she said there were 3 families living in it her sisters and I forgot who else. Her sister now lives close by I believe but we didn’t meet her – I think she lives in another city. Lore’s father, Joseph died in 1959.

 

I asked Lore what was the general feeling of the people of Glaserau toward the Americans when they came during the war. She said the people were afraid of ALL the soldiers, Russian, German, American. But once they saw that the Americans did nothing bad to them, they felt OK. Lore said she made a friend with one of the American soldiers. She would trade her dark German rolls for his white American bread – she had never seen white bread before. She also said that on May 1, 1945 when the Americans came to Glaserau, they were moving through the town looking in all the windows. Lore’s sister was at home sick that day when the soldier looked in and it scared her because she had never seen a black person before. Lore thinks the Americans were looking for some prisoners the Germans had been keeping in Glaserau but the Germans had already moved them so the Americans weren’t able to free them.

 

Lore also said that neither her father nor her brother, Franz joined Hitler’s Party and so both were sent early to the war. While they were gone the Germans sent prisoners of war to help them run the farm – I believe she mentioned a Russian and a Pole.

 

She also told the story of how one night during the war, Marie Soukup awoke and heard her son Franz calling her. The family later learned Franz had died that night in the war.

 

Lore lived in Glaserau but went to school in Stockau. She, her sister Sonja and Sonja’s cousin went to Czechoslovakia in 1990 and found where Glaserau once stood. They gave us good directions – told us to get on the road from Fronau heading to Stockau. The road will bend to the left at one point and the road will be along a ridge. If you look to the right, you see an open field with 2 tire tracks heading across a field and into some woods. The village sat where the woods are now. You can’t see anything from the road but the place was just as she described it so we went on the dirt track which was actually a very old cobble stone road with grass growing in it. When the track reached the woods it went up a steep hill. It was a very rough road with ridges and dips and there was no place to turn around so we kept going. When the road got to the top of the hill it broke out of the woods so that on our left was a beautiful view of other hills and valleys and crops being grown. On our right were woods. Then Robby saw part of an old stone wall in the overgrowth. We went a little farther and saw a fence and gateway just like the one that had stood in front of Lore’s home. If that was her gate, the house once stood on a hill with a beautiful view. Nearby we saw a big hole with rubble around it – an old cellar – the Dovalils had described this too. Sonja and we decided how neat it would be to go back there and dig!!

[Stockau is situated in the region Plzensky kraj in Czech Republic.]

 

Robby just called from work and I told him what I’ve been writing. He reminded me to tell you about the concrete marker that stands on the main road and marks the cobble stone track to Glaserau. It looks like it used to have a statue on top (a spike sticks up). Carved into the rock or concrete is what looks like a goblet.

 

Oh yea, Lore says she’s an Elvis Presley fan! They have a nice house. Sonja and Nina live upstairs, Lore & Ernst on 1st floor and then they have a large basement. Lore, Sonya, Robby and I stayed up talking till about 1:30am on Sonja’s upstairs patio. It was great.

 

[Robert writing again….]

Sonja asked “Who wrote the letter to Josef Rubey that Georj responded to in 1964? Also Lore told of a dress (confirmation dress) that she received from America when she was a little girl. She was so proud of that dress because it was better than anyone had in Germany.

[Yellow sticky note attached says….. Lore received a confirmation dress from America – gift from Joe Sukup?]

 

The medicine bottle is one that Sonja found in Glaserau in the ruins. Stockau is near Hoslou & Glaserau. Lore went to the Stockau school. There is a church there that looks abandoned. We should have look for a cemetery there. We should have looked for Soukups in Hoslou. Georj said in his letter in 1964 that Soukups still live there. Czech is a hard language to communicate in. We felt good to do what we did. We didn’t have much time. The Dovalils kept us late that morning and that’s really more important – to meet and talk with them.

[He spells Hoslou with an “o”. When I google that it doesn’t come up with anything. Only spelled Hoslau.]