The 27. January 1945 was the day in the middle of winter when almost a whole town in silesia suddenly became deserted. Among the many refugees was a mother with five children, the youngest was just half a year old. The most important few belongings were quickly packed up and stowed in the baby carriage, then it was time to head for the train station.
There was a train ready to take the people to the west. The rumble of tanks and guns could be heard in the distance. The russian front is getting closer by the day. Most of those fleeing were women with their children. The men were at the front. So did the husband of the woman mentioned above with her five children. The heavy responsibility for the lives of her children rested on the shoulders of this woman. The train compartment into which the family was put had no windows, and it was winter and icy air hissed in. The resolute mother complained to the conductor and was given a warm, but completely smoky compartment for her small children aged half a year, four, five, nine and twelve, in which men had been sitting and smoking heavily.
On the train for days
The stay on the train lasted several days – days without proper toilets, without water to wash the little girl’s diapers. The friendly locomotive driver loves to give mothers with babies water from the steam boiler of his locomotive from time to time. There the diapers could be washed in a makeshift way.
Then the journey continued to austria. In grieskirchen it was the same for all: get out! Hundreds take up quarters in the school. The family shared the "room" with 39 other refugees. There was only one cooking place. So the pots were lined up one after the other on the table – and everyone waited for their pot to come to the boil. The stay in this school lasted into the fall under the worst of conditions. The war was long over, but all hopes of returning to the old homeland had vanished.
Finally, in october, a train was ready to continue its journey to germany. This time a good train was waiting at the station. This had first the goal oberkotzau in the near of coburg. The hygienic conditions of the hundreds of emaciated people are unimaginable for today’s generation.
From there it should soon go on to the "east zone". But they all agreed that they did not want to go to the russian zone, because they were fleeing from the russians. After a week’s stay, all the people got off the train and stood on the platform. The "strike had success! The news came: the train was heading west! The hermannsheim in bad bruckenau – state bath finally took in the many refugees. Most of the "silesians stayed here in the rhon, also the mother with her five children. She pulled them all roughly together with her husband, who soon came home from captivity. Despite the many terrible experiences, no hatred has remained. Fate had finally been kind to everyone. Only one child of the entire refugee train had died in grieskirchen: of hunger. This look back into german history shows what people can endure and endure with patience, in spite of their rough worries.