Resi Klauser’s Memories
Translated by Rosina T. Schmidt
I was born as Theresia Dippong on 30th of November 1935 in Stefansfeld, Banat, Yugoslavia. My sister was four years older than I.
My childhood in the village was beautiful and full of fun. I attended the first and the second school grade (there), until in October 1944 when the Russians arrived and (for us) the War ended. My father was on the Front somewhere in Serbia.
In April 1945 we ended up in the concentration camp of Stefansfeld. The children were taken away from the mothers and (sorted) in age groups. Therefore I was now separated also from my sister. The children as well as the old people were sent in September to the concentration camp in Molidorf. Since Stefansfeld had no train station, we drove in horse carts to Sartscha. Our mother was not with us, nor were our Grandparents permitted to join us. Only late in the evening did we find out that our mother did arrive with the last wagon after all.
The train ride in the cattle car ended in Zerne and from there we walked to Molidorf. Together with our mother and some other 15 people we were placed in one room. There was a shortage of food and the winter was awfully cold. Most of us were very ill, but there was no doctor. In our room were mostly women and children. Us children did not find it too bad. My sister was a big helper to our mother. We also met relatives in Molidorf, who used to live in other villages. The time flew by.
In the winter 1946/47 my sister was ordered to bring with others firewood. They walked to Zerne and returned with big bundles of firewood on their backs. During this time she became very ill, and it did not get any better. My sister died on 19th of March 1947. By that time my mother was also gravely ill and could not get up. We sewed a blanket around my sister and buried her in Molidorf, where there were still single burial spots available.
There were many deaths daily. My mother died on 27th of March 1947. We buried her also. I would have loved to die also, than my grandparents, who were in Rudolfsgnad’s concentration camp, were also already dead.
The conditions in Molidorf became a bit better and by the summer the Molidorf concentration camp was closed. An aunt with her three children shared our room, who was looking a little bit after me. My aunt, her children and myself were transported with the second transport to Gakowa. I believe it was in July on 1947. I was already ill with malaria in Molidorf and was very weak.
There were houses in Gakowa for orphaned children and my aunt brought me there.
The malaria fever climbed every second day and weeks went by until I could visit my aunt. But they were no longer there. The Hungarian border was not too far from Gakowa and many people managed to flee. I stayed again behind.
After Gakowa concentration camp was dissolved I was transported with other children to Rudolfsgnad concentration camp. There were houses for orphaned children. We all had the same fate and life went on.
The concentration camp was dissolved in 1948; the children and the old people were sent to Karlsdorf. Three weeks later the children were transported to St. Georg, received medical care and sent to individual orphanages. I had Trahoma (an eye illness) and was sent to Jabuka (Apfeldorf). I believe there were 60 –70 girls and boys. The surgery was done in Pantschewo. We had Swabian lady cooks and good food. The daycare ladies were Serbian. We did not go to school.
A great uncle on my mother’s side discovered where I was and had permission to visit me, so now I had contact with a few of my distant relatives.
From the Jabuka orphanages we were split and via Tetel I arrived in 1949 in Privina-Glava, Syrmia. Only girls were there, Serbian also, and the village’s children also went to school in the orphanage. The lessons were in the Serbian language. We were not permitted to speak German between us. I ended up in the third grade and as the rest of us, spoke no word of Serbian.
I was in Privina-Glava until 1951. By then I finished the forth grade. Die ethnic German children received from time to time mail from parents or grandparents from Germany, Austria, or even from the USA. And many received permission to leave through the Red Cross.
Together with some older girls I was sent to Sombor, Batschka. We were still in the orphanage but had to learn a trade. I ended up in a hairdressing salon. My great uncle requested for quite some time my release from the orphanage. One of my cousins offered to bring me to Germany. Not until March of 1953 did I reach Germany with a Red Cross transport and other 175 children. Some of the children disembarked in Austria.
Translated from the original handwritten letter, written on 25th January 2011 with Mrs. Klauser’s gracious permission.