Account of the death of Rudolf Ferdinand Haase, born 07/02/1906

Shot by Polish insurgents 05/05/1921

(Member of the Leipzig Boy Scout Corps, in Feldmeister Tournier's unit)

An account by his father, translated from German and annotated by Caecilie Dance

2 / 4

Already on the first day [of the uprising] Rudolf was arrested by the Poles; guns were shoved onto his chest and it was only because of his quiet calmness and thoughtfulness, unusual for his age, and that we could release him with a ransom of 5000 marks, that we could be thankful that he came out with his life that time. A train was organised for those refugees who streamed in from town and country. They were to remove to Ratibor, which was not similarly beleaguered [by Polish insurgents].4 On the advice of the district administrator who was still in the area, and the generally bona fide Italian officers, the train was guaranteed by the written word of honour of the Polish leaders; after that, one felt one could depend on its safe arrival. It travelled with c.700 people in livestock wagons, leaving Rybnik at 12:15pm on Sunday 14th May 1921. At Nensa railway station, the refugees were confronted with positioned machine guns and forced to leave the train. The French soldiers accompanying the passengers immediately allied themselves with the insurgents. The English captain did his best to rescue his charges and an Italian went back to fetch the Italian district controller. The district controller succeeded in obtaining the promise that the women, children and older men would be let through to Ratibor. The men under 40 were to be transported back to Rybnik. The last promise was however not kept, as will be mentioned shortly. In fact, the men were taken to Loslau and only transported back to Rybnik after days of negotiations and privations. My boys, like the other young people under 17, were let through to Ratibor from Nensa by a current insurgent officer, whom Fritz had rescued from drowning many years before.

4 The different attitudes in Rybnik and Ratibor towards the plebiscite can be seen in the final results. In Rybnik district, 65.2% of votes were in favour of being included in Poland rather than Germany, compared to 9.1% of votes in the town of Ratibor. This probably explains why the German refugees would be safer in Ratibor than in Rybnik.

2 / 4