Photo of Hedwig Sporys 1939

Hedwig Sporys (Unger) 1916 - 2004

'Die Flucht' was written by my grandmother. It is the story of her family's forced evacuation from Silesia (now part of Poland) in 1945 during the Second World War. This story is an important part of European and Silesian history. I am currently in the process of translating the forty page book from German into English.

“ The hardest part for all of us was travelling through Oels, leaving behind our home. All of us siblings and our children, apart from Dordel, were born and raised here, and our parents had lived there since 1903. We saw many acquaintances and friends there for the last time. Passing by the restaurant " Stadt Braunschweig ", on the outskirts of the town, Erna met the chef Mr. Geppert, who she had worked with for years doing the paperwork. He wished her good luck on her journey; he himself was not sure when he would leave or where he would go. Some people wanted us to take them with us, someone even asked us to take along their large case of money from the savings bank. But our horses already had enough to haul with our heavy overloaded wagon, therefore we had to turn everyone down. ”

“ There were various things that we now urgently needed that we had left behind, and so Erna and I went with the Polish 14-year old boy who led his small horse-drawn wagon all the way back to Wolfskirch. On the way some airplanes came in our direction and so we left the wagon in the street and sprang into the ditch on the side of the road. Despite this scare we went on to the estate. At the farm, there were shot up German soldiers laying around. They had been covered with blankets since they could not yet be buried because of the frozen ground. Everything around was very depressing, and the soldiers wanted to send us away again and scolded us as we had dared come to a battle area. We got a few things from the floor of the barn where some of our things were and left as quickly as possible. Again more airplanes came and we quickly had to take cover. We were very glad once we were back in our quarters. ”

Map of the journey of 'Die Flucht'in 1944-45.

Map created using MapHub https://maphub.net/

Map directions:

Please note this project is not complete!

Questions or comments? Email me at eanygard@gmail.com

The journey begins in Oels (Polish OleĊ›nica) and ends in Leimen, Germany.