Elderly German Man Finds 70-Year-Old Treasures Hidden in Childhood Home

Rudi Schlattner was forced to leave his home in Czechoslovakia after World War II when then President Edvard Benes ordered the "final solution of the German question" by evicting all ethnic Germans from the country. Returning, Schlattner knocked on the wooden panels--when he pulled it, he found a storage for long lost secret possessions. The lost treasures will now be held in a museum in the town of Usti nad Labem as the Czech government's rules mandate that all German property left behind is owned by the state. The roof had even undergone refurbishments, but Rudi's father hid the items so well that they were still there. The house will also be used as a kindergarten. Rudi said "My father built the villa in 1928 and 1929. He always thought one day we would return and get it back."

During his visit, he was accompanied by employees of a museum in the nearby town of Usti nad Labem along with the mayor of Libouch, manager of the kindergarten, archaeologist and employees of the museum. There were 70 packages found under the roof. Museum assigner Tomas Okurka said, "Mr. Schlattner was tapping the roof boards with a small hammer. All of them had the same sound. Then he tried to find a string which was supposed to detach the boards which was a system set up by his father. He told his son that he would only have to pull the string in order to detach the boards and suddenly he found the string and when he pulled it two boards detached and the shelter full of objects untouched for 70 years appeared."

It took them over an hour to pull everything out. Items were wrapped in brown paper and others were unwrapped such as skis, hats, clothes-hangers, newspapers and paintings by Josef Stegl who lived in the house during World War II. Also found were hats, badges, paper weights, umbrellas, sewing kits, books, pens, unpacked cigarettes and much more. Although Mr. Schlattner's health is not good, he is reportedly not bitter about having to turn his possessions over. The effects of World War II created an enormous hatred in Czechoslovakia of its ethnic German population. Thousands died in forced expulsions of 1.6 million ethnic Germans into the American zone West Germany. Rudi and his family ended up in the American zone.

Photo: News Gio

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