Stolzenau: “childhood and youth stolen”, middle municipality of weser

Integrated municipality of Mittelweser


Stolzenau: "Childhood and youth stolen"

Stolzenau: "Childhood and youth stolen"

Horst Münch on the escape from East Prussia and the time in the children’s home / lecture on Wednesday in Stolzenau

Horst Münch is 80 years old. He lives in Nienburg. But that was not always so. His hometown Szczytno (Ortelsburg) is around 1000 kilometers to the east, formerly part of East Prussia, and is now Polish territory. He was born there in 1937. His father, the manager of a farm, took part in the so-called "Poland campaign" in 1939 and was seriously wounded. In January 1941 he was released from the Wehrmacht.

“Nevertheless, my father was drafted into the Volkssturm in autumn 1944, before we escaped. My mother received the last message from him in February 1945 in Ahrenshoop, where we had fled. He has been missing since then. He was declared dead in December 1957, ”says Münch. That is for the whole family been very sad, but in the end you had to deal with it. "We had no other choice," he says. Münch got its first celebrations with the Second World War in the summer of 1944, when the elementary school was closed and the building was used as a military hospital.

“In November 1944, the family fled from East Prussia after the Red Army advanced into East Prussia. Despite the increasing fighting, the party had hardly made any preparations for the timely rescue of the civilian population. But the family was lucky: “My mother had been informed that an evacuation train would be deployed on November 22, 1944, and that our family was one of those entitled to use the train. The notification came three to four days before the train left, so we still had time to pack, ”says Münch. The train then left on November 22, 1944 and arrived at 3 o’clock in the morning on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula. “From there we were brought to our quarters in Ahrenshoop with horse-drawn vehicles. It was winter and accordingly cold, ”reports the Nienburger.

Horst Münch (80) looks back on an eventful life. He reported on his escape from East Prussia to Nienburg on Wednesday in Stolzenau. © The rake in original size 156 KB – 1365 x 567

After the war, the family tried to return home, but was prevented from continuing before the new Polish border. So you went back again. Münch remembers the time in the Soviet occupation zone as "terrible time". The family was housed in two farms. "There was little to eat. Even when the baker was next door, we didn’t get any bread outside the row, ”he says. In the spring of 1946 the flight continued via Fallersleben, to Braunschweig and Hanover to Nienburg. Then the family was brought to Leese and stayed with farmers.

Münch had to accept the next loss after the father’s death: “My mother’s healing treatment had been interrupted by my flight from East Prussia. This had made the disease worse. She died in Leese in September 1946. ”After the death of his mother, he initially stayed with his older sister, who had found work with a farmer in Voigti. Münch was just ten years old, but “I also often had to work with the farmer in addition to school. It was sometimes hard work for my age. I was involved in the entire harvest, working in the stables and feeding the cattle. There was little free time. I also often didn’t have time for schoolwork until after work. The only advantage during this time was that there was enough and good food, ”says the 80-year-old.

In the elementary school he was teased as a refugee by the local boys and was also "beaten up", as he says: "I was also alone!" He made friends with other refugee boys, but the local boys didn’t like it: " They sowed discord between us until there were boilers among us refugees! ”. In the spring of 1949, his sister had to give up working on the farm due to illness. "Then she went to a household where she couldn’t take me with her," recalls Münch.

Since his other sister had already moved to her husband in Bremerhaven, Münch came to a children’s home run by the Salvation Army in Leese at the age of twelve in April 1949, where he remained until his compulsory education ended. Today the administration of Raiffeisen Agil Leese is housed in the building. Münch says about the time in the children’s home today: "In this home I felt safe and looked after, but not anymore. Above all, I felt left alone. With 60 to 70 school children to be cared for, there could be no individual treatment of the individual without someone else feeling disadvantaged. There was hardly any cohesion among us children. Close friendships were often pushed and broken by others out of envy or resentment. It was also the case that the stronger children almost always dominated the hierarchy and formed cliques. "

The entire day in the home was subject to a strict schedule and fixed rituals. As a result, individual feelings among the children are dulled. In addition, there is virtually no personal property in the home given. He was glad that during this time he never lost contact with his sister, who was ten years older. She often visited him in the home: "That way I always had a family connection, which helped me during this difficult time."


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Christina Cherry
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