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pensioner/former farmer


Kudowa Zdrój


July 1999


A comparatively short interview with one of the original inhabitants. The narrator does not appear to have had many problems mixing with the post-war Polish settlers, although like some other narrators, she singles out those from central Poland as being “only looking for profits”, stripping abandoned homes of anything valuable and then leaving the area. Otherwise, although they “were different people”, she found them “very friendly from the beginning”. She had problems communicating at first, but got around the problem with sign language. Now it “doesn’t make any difference to me” whether she speaks German or Polish. The only thing that she laments is the decline in the local economy.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Born in Karlów (district of Nowa Ruda). Moved to Dresden in 1938 until 1944, when she returned to Karlów. Didn’t leave Poland when the Russians came (they “were spared the front line, but still it was unpleasant”) because “my mother was seriously ill”. Mother died in 1949 but “it was too late” to leave. Married a Polish forester in 1954. Details of childhood work.
Section 2  Pre-war, people had jobs in quarries and factories. Such areas are deserted now. Resettlement: most stayed except for those “from central Poland … they got those houses and they dismantled them”. Depopulation continues: “the whole of Karlów is dying out … there are very few people, there is just one cow there”.
Section 3-4  Many Poles “were very friendly from the beginning”. Her own children spoke German to her and Polish to her husband. Doesn’t regret staying, although “at first, it was difficult”. Notes how “young people are not into farming” and a “beautiful forester’s lodge” has just deteriorated.
Section 5  Says few Germans now come back to visit their homeland, because “children are not interested; older people can’t”. Changes in forestry: far fewer workers and they no longer take care of the forest animals – she and her husband used to carry fodder to the pasture points.
Section 6-7  Her husband was given a motorbike, and she tells proudly how in her 40s she passed the test too. Talks about her family. Likes the mountains and says “the whole of the Klodzko region is exceptionally beautiful”.