The deportation to Russia in January 1945 (by Peter and Margaretha Marx)

Already in November 1944 the romanian authorities were putting up lists of names of all able-bodied Germans in every village hall; nobody knew why at the time. The people of Neusiedel an der Heide / Uihel didn't worry about it much either, for the hard-working villagers were still very busy with the autumn work in the fields. When the goods trains full of ethnic Germans from Yugoslavia rolled through Hatzfeld on to Temeschburg and further eastwards through Romania at the end of December and the beginning of January, a rumour began spreading that Romania, too, had to supply 'a work force for the rebuilding of the Soviet Union'. But we never suspected that it only applied to the Germans.

I served in the Romanian army. In the autumn of 1944 a few of the soldiers from my unit were transferred to a work regiment beyond Bucharest. A stretch of the railway had to be widened. On 18th December 1944 I was granted leave with nine other soldiers from the Banat in order to pick up some winter clothing from home. As the stretch of railway line between Bucharest and Temeschburg was being used by the Russian military for getting supplies to the front, civilians were allowed to travel by passenger train locally, for which there were hardly any connections from one town to another. Sometimes you could travel on a goods train through a few stations and then carry on with a truck, or even walk to the next railway station. Anyway, I didn't arrive at my family home in Neusiedel until 29th December 1944. I'd arranged with my other nine comrades to meet at the main railway station in Temeschburg on 14th January for our return journey to Bucharest to our unit. So I travelled to Temeschburg on 14th January 1945 and waited at the main railway station. Unfortunately, only two of the other soldiers turned up and they told me that they'd heard something 'dreadful' in the town: the Germans were being deported to Russia. As not all nine comrades had turned up at the station as we'd arranged, I went back home.

At Kleinbetschkerek station, Anton SCHIMMEL, sen. from Uihel, who had been visiting his brother, got on the train. The old man told me that there were already Romanian soldiers guarding the roads at the edge of Uihel village. I got out at Alexanderhausen and walked across the field towards the Neusiedler clover field and in the middle, where the houses' gardens meet, there is a path which leads to my in-laws, Nikolaus HOLZ, who lived in the main street.

There, I found that the younger people had already hidden themselves in the stable, in the straw in the barn or in the heaps of maize. As our village was the eastern front of the battle area for three weeks, there was no time to gather all the maize leaves from the fields. So the young people in question spent a day and a night north-west of Uihel in the Tiroler Flur and the Bogarosch vineyard field. Afterwards, they changed their hiding places to be closer to the village south-west, also on the Bogarosch Hotter (arable land) towards Lenauheim where heaps of maize were standing, too. There were already 21 people from Uihel who had gathered. These were:

Katharina NOTHUM née GIMPEL, Peter MARX, Margaretha MARX née HOLZ, Eva LAMBING (married WILHELM), Elisabetha ENGELMANN née LAHM, Nikolaus ZWERGALL, Katharina HAUPT née KLINGER, Josef WOLZ, Anna KRONBERGER (married HARTMAJER), Josef ZIMMER, Margaretha ZIMMER (married MATHES), Johann SCHIPPER sen., Barbara FALLER née BIRO, Katharina JUNG née BIRO, Magdalena EBNER née WAMBACH, Elisabetha BEITZ (married HAUPT), Barbara SCHLUPP née LAHM, Helene BLATTNER (married REIF), Barbara BEITZ née FALLER (later married SCHIPPER), Magdalena SCHANNEN née NOTHUM, Nikolaus SCHANNEN.

The neighbours or relatives had got together and looked for a hiding place. The ground was frozen and there was some snow on the ground. So they heaped several piles of maize together to make things warmer and to enable everyone to hide beneath them. There were also many people from Bogarosch hidden in other piles of maize in this field. Not everyone had brought food with them to last them several days, so their families brought food to them out in the field from home. One old lady from Bogarosch was stopped by a Romanian soldier on her way home and who asked her where she had come from. Out of fear, she told the truth, that she had taken food to her family who were hiding in a heap of maize in the field. As there was snow on the ground in the field, the Romanian soldier followed the tracks back to where the old woman had come from and he captured the people hidden in the maize. Nikolaus SCHANNEN and I went to the Uihel common pasture land to see what was going on in the village. Although it was foggy, a Romanian soldier who was standing guard at the edge of the village discovered us, too. He fired his gun into the air, took us prisoner and we had to go with him to the maize stack where the Uihel people were hiding. As we were on the Bogarosch Hotter, and the Bogarosch people were taken prisoner at the same time, we were all taken to the village hall in Bogarosch. On the road to Bogarosch we met old Jakob REITER who had presumably been to the apothecary in Bogarosch and was already on his way back to Uihel. As his grand-daughter, Magdalena EBNER née WAMBACH was amongst the group of prisoners, the old man told the relatives of all the Neusiedel people in question.

The following day, all of us Bogarosch and Neusiedel prisoners were taken from Bogarosch village hall to Alexanderhausen via Uihel by the Romanian soldiers who were kitted out with guns. When we arrived at the edge of Uihel / Neusiedel our families were already waiting for us by the roadside. Everyone was crying and the little children screamed for their mothers; it had been impossible to say goodbye. The soldiers fired their guns into the air and did not let any of the family relatives get any nearer to us. There were also many people waiting in the main street of Uihel. Hans EBNER tried to get closer to the mother of his 3-year-old grand-daughter, Leni EBNER, so they could say goodbye, but he was pushed away by one of the Romanian soldiers with his rifle butt. Many small children were left behind without any parents and were looked after by their grandparents or other relatives. Everyone was crying and was sad, confused and feeling helpless. When would we see our loved ones again in the old Heimat? The prisoners had to walk on to Alexanderhausen The meeting point was at Hans HECKTOR's restaurant in the main street. Our families could bring warm clothing and food to us there. Two days later, we had to form four rows and, accompanied by the armed Romanian soldiers, had to walk over 18 kilometres (10 miles) to Perjamosch. The drivers brought the luggage in their vehicles to us in the school buildings in Perjamosch, which were being used as the meeting point for the whole district.

On 21st January we were loaded into the goods wagons at Perjamosch railway station. Thirty people were put into one cattle wagon. In the middle of the wagon stood an iron stove with a couple of logs. Next to the sliding door, a hole had been cut out in the floor, which had been used as a W.C.. At both ends of the wagon, boards had been installed, without any straw sacks to sleep on. As the men and women were all together in the wagon, the bottom of a bucket had been knocked out and wedged into the hole in the floor, and a blanket was used as a partition wall. Whenever the goods train made a longer halt at a station, two people were allowed to get out of the wagon to fetch drinking water in a bucket. The wagons were guarded by Russian soldiers. As it was winter, we also put snow into the bucket and heated it up on the stove. The people had brought lots of Bratwurst sausages, ham and sides of bacon with them. This salty food needed lots of water. The water was different at every well and so many people became sick on the journey.

On 28th/29th January we arrived at Ramnicul Sarat. At this station, we changed over to Russian goods wagons. These wagons were much larger and 40 people were allocated to each one.  The railway track had also been changed to wide gauge, like in Russia. We travelled on towards Russia by day and by night, into the unknown.

On 8th February 1945 we arrived at Stalino railway station. My wife, Margaretha MARX, had also become sick. She had a high temperature and had to be admitted to the sick bay which had been set up near the station. She stayed in the hospital for six weeks and was then sent to the camp in Stalino. She was promised that she would be able to join her husband later, which unfortunately did not happen. She became weaker and weaker and was mal-nourished and was allowed to travel with a transportation of sick people to Romania on 28th November 1945. She arrived in Neusiedel on 11th December 1945. Her 4-year-old child didn't recognise her any more. The other Neusiedel villagers were taken to the camp in Slaviansk, a further 150 kilometres from Stalino.

At 11 p.m. on 8th February 1945 we were unloaded from the wagon and into a joiner's workshop. The following day I was amongst five men who were detailed to work there. We were each given an axe and had to chop down branches from the trees. Six men were allowed to work in the sawmill and so I was assigned to be a mechanic on a lathe. An old Russian man obtained a coupon for a daily meal for me, plus half a litre of milk daily. On 11th November 1945 I was assigned to a blast furnace, to fill it with material. So I worked for 18 months with the prisoners of war in Gramadovsk. On 20th February I arrived at the collective camp in Horlovka. There, I met Dr. Römer from Gottlob who had married in Johannisfeld. On 29th February (?1947/48) it was announced that the transport was full and we were not allowed to go home any more. So many people were assigned to the coal mines in Horlovka. Fellow compatriot Peter WIEN from Triebswetter, a joiner by trade, and Nikolaus ROOS, told me they needed woodworkers. So I reported for this woodworking job as I had learned a lot at home working in my father's coach building workshop. It wasn't until 26th August 1948 that I came home from the deportation to Russia.

Seventy-four people from our little village Neusiedel an der Heide / Uihel were deported to Russia. All able-bodied women and girls born between 1914 and 1927, and able-bodied men born between 1899 and 1928, were affected. Only the following three women were excused because they had children under one year of age: Eva BEDNAR, Elisabetha ENGELMANN née ROTH and Barbara KRONBERGER née FUCHS.

The following nine people died in Russia: Franz ENGELMANN sen., Johann HUBER sen., Anna LICHTFUSS (BAUMANN), Adam MERSCH sen., Theodor MESS, Michael SPRINGARDT, Nikolaus SCHANNEN, Andreas SCHIPPER sen. and Johann SCHÜTZ.

 Peter and Anna-Margaretha MARX, née HOLZ

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Under http://www.procesulcomunismului.com/marturii/fonduri/ioanitoiu/dictionar_m/m/dictionarm_26.pdf which is a register of many of the deportees, Adam MERSCH and Teodor MESS, both from Uihei, are listed as follows:

MERSCH, Adam. Din satul Uihei, comuna Biled. Timis. Deportat.

MESS, Teodor. Din satul Uihei, comuna Biled . Timis. Deportat.

 

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