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The expulsion of the South Moravians – departures and arrivals, making a fresh start, and peering across

In the southern Moravian village of Klentniz/Klentice, people got along with each other quite well for many generations. The Waldesruh Hotel, owned by the Grech family, is a top favourite of the Viennese. The almost entirely German-speaking inhabitants considered themselves to be South Moravians rather than Czechs or Austrians. Yet soon tensions appeared.

The South Moravian districts wanted to join Austria, but these were occupied by the Czech military. Initially common solutions were pursued. But with the annexation of Sudetenland by the Nazis in 1938, that went out the window. By the end of the war, the situation had changed dramatically. Revenge and violence were directed towards the German-speaking population. Not only their rights, but also their goods and property were taken away from them. Paramilitary groups ‘cleansed' the villages of the Germans.

The expulsion that started also affected the Grech family, who settled down just on the other side of the border. In case the conditions would ever change again, they wanted to be the first to return. They soon began practicing a ritual: on Sundays they would go to the border post and peer across into their old homeland.

Since 1963 those driven out from their homes meet on a yearly basis at the ‘Kreuzberg‘ between Drasenhofen and Ottenthal, for a gathering of the South Moravians. Lately neighbours from Czechia join in as well.

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