Marching in of the Red Army

Heinz Kautz (*1931), Schloß Neuhaus, Westphalenweg 21, D-33104 Paderborn

Marching in of the Red Army; then Expulsion

- Translated by Veronika Ihlenfeldt, Melbourne / Australia -

On March 3rd 1945 Gross Tuchen received the order for evacuation. For several weeks, our wagon was in the barn, completely ready, for us to take flight. The difficult decision was before us: Where should we go? On 2.3.1945, the Russians had taken possession of the Pomeranian Baltic Sea coast, north of Koeslin; on 4.3.45 Kolberg. As a result, the eastern part of Pomerania, was encircled by the Red Army. For this reason, our parents decided not to go. So did the families of Paul Biastoch and Heinrich Jantz. Our farmstead was occupied by German soldiers, during the night of the 3rd to 4th March, 1945. They said: "We will be building up a defence position here". One advised our father to leave with the family, since the farm would be likely to be destroyed, during fighting. Father followed the advice of the soldiers. We drove to our neighbour's, Paul Biastoch. During the fighting, we hid ourselves in a shelter, in the forest near the farm. On Monday, 5.3.1945, after the worst fighting had calmed down, we returned home in our wagon again. There, we were confronted by the Russians, threatening us with submachine guns. "Uri, Uri" [mispronounced German for 'watches'], and vodka they wanted. We were allowed to take nothing out of the wagon.. They took the horses and wagon, and left immediately, for once and for all.

On the same day, during the evening, our neighbour Heinrich Jantz came to visit, and asked our father, would it be possible for him to shoot him and his wife. He was struck, and stomped on, by the Russians, although he did no injustice to anyone. Father said: "Heinrich, although all about us is tragedy, I cannot shoot my neighbours. My father said next day: "Heinz, go to the Jantz' and check up on them." Their front door was wide open, and the attic door too. I looked up, and saw someone hanging from the attic. It was Heinrich Jantz' brother, Fritz, but there was no sign of Heinrich Jantz and his wife! On the next day, we found out from Paul Biastoch, that Heinrich and his wife had plunged into the Kamenz River together, and had found the death they sought.

We will never forget March 8th, 1945. Because he had lost his eye in the war, a Russian wanted to kill my father. My father had to regain his feet, again and again. Finally, the Russian decided against it; instead of this, a second Russian took a stone pot, and hit my father in the face. He lost several teeth as a result. While searching and plundering went on in the house, my father succeeded in fleeing to the hiding-place where my mother had already hidden. As I was the oldest son - I was ordered to search in the hay barn for my father. I did not find him, even though I knew where he was. Thereupon, I had to go into the grain barn. I had to climb on the ladder high into the straw. When I said: "He is not here ", a Russian approached. He grabbed me by both my neck and my back, and threw me onto the concrete threshing floor. Deciding that this was not enough; he took the submachine gun and hit me several times on my chest. I scrambled on hands and knees, pain-disoriented and bleeding, into the house, to my siblings. He followed me, and fired several times in rage, through the kitchen ceiling.

Other Russians came continuously, during the whole day until the late evening. The house was totally ravaged; whatever they liked, they took away. During this evening, we then left our house and searched for refuge at the Malottki family's residence. Paul Biastoch's family were already staying there. We then went to the deserted Rudnick farm. We kept ourselves hidden here, in the hayloft. We were supplied with food, by the Malottki's family. After a few days, when it had become somewhat calmer, we returned to our house.

One day in April, on the way back to the Borchardt, bakery, I was detained by Russians whilst cattle-droving. To my question: "Where are you taking me?" came the answer: "Rummelsburg." On the route between Radensfelde and Kremerbruch, Joachim Knopp from Buetow and I, made ourselves scarce. We took advantage of a favourable moment, when one of the two mounted Russians, wanted to take lodgings in Kremerbruch.

One day, the Polish militia came with a horse wagon, loaded with a piglet container. They said to my father: "Sit in here!" When our mother wept, she got the answer: " There is no need to weep, unless you never see him again." During the ride, father tried to dissuade them. So one said: "Give us the name of a Pole who knows you." He named Anton Gorny, who worked with the farmer Albert Schlutt during the war. In reality, Gorny had taken possession of the Jantz' farm. They went there. After approx. 2 hours, they came out of the house and father was allowed to leave the piglet container. They said to him: "Push off!" That evening, Anton Gorny came to us and said, that they wanted to bring father to Buetow, like so many others. He would have to talk a lot, to gain his freedom.

In June 1945, three Poles appeared on our agricultural holding, with the words: "This farm is occupied." Addressed to our father: "You can work with me as a farm hand, or you must go via the Oder". The farm was then taken by Stefan Gliewa. During the war, Stefan had worked in Murchin, in the County of Anklam, as a shepherd.

On 24.11.1945, our parents, Fritz and Else Kautz, and their children, Werner, Gerda, Helmut, and I, as well as our grandma, Martha Kautz, had to leave our beloved home. Our grandpa, Otto Krautz, had passed away, immediately before the Russians marched in. We were sent from Buetow to Lippusch. There, we had to leave the train. My brother, Werner and I, were ordered by a Pole in blue uniform, to clean the railway station area. His words were: "You Hitler pigs have shit here". We got a bucket, and had to take away the excrement with bare hands. If we used a piece of paper to assist, we were stomped in the back. During our task, a lucky coincidence occurred, which helped us. My father met a Pole, who had worked during the war with the blacksmith, Roeske, in Gross Tuchen. This Pole, ensured that we no longer needed to perform this terrible work.

Our journey then went further, to Konitz, Schneidemuehl, Kreuz, and Landsberg at Kuestrin / Oder. We were in this destroyed city on 7.12.1945. On 8.12.1945, we found our first lodgings with a farmer's wife, Ella Holz, in Klein Buenzow, county Anklam / Western Pomerania. My parents received a settler's place in Krenzow, county Anklam, on 11.2.1946.

I, Heinz Kautz, fled from the Soviet Zone on 17.11.1952 to West Berlin. Through Hamburg, led my way to the camp, Sant Bostel, and camp Stukenbrock near Paderborn. In Paderborn - Schloss Neuhaus, I found work, and also a new home, on 26.1.1953. My sister Gerda, left on 5.6.1956, the former GDR [German Democratic Republic], and her journey, led via Paderborn to the Lower Rhine, where she found work, and a new home, in Uedem-Keppeln. Because of the establishment of the agricultural production cooperatives, my parents and my brothers, Werner and Helmut, saw no future in East Germany, and fled in April 1959 to West Berlin. After a stay in the camp Marienfelde, they came into the Federal Republic. Then their journey led through Paderborn to the Lower Rhine. In the meantime, our parents had passed away. My brother Werner found work, and his new home, in Goch-Pfaelzdorf, and my brother Helmut, in Goch-Nierswalde.

sgd Heinz Kautz, 1994