Willi Kosiul

A Short Autobiography

From the Homepage of Willi Kosiul
Translation by Google, Doug Reckmann, Ed.
Posted with permission of the author’s son, December 11, 2020


I was born in 1930, the eighth child of a large family, in Czudyn in the district of Storozynetz. Bukovina then a part of Romania. My father was a lumberjack there in the Carpathian forests and my mother took care of our small farm.

From 1937 to 1940 I attended the Romanian elementary school because there was not a German elementary school. Our family was German; German was our mother tongue, we spoke German at home, and we children were raised and educated according to German customs and traditions. One of our ancestors came from the German-Austrian Bohemian Forest, thus our family was German-Bohemian and Roman Catholic.

Bukovina (= in German – the beech country) is a historical landscape. It is located in south-east Europe, on the eastern slope of the Carpathian Forest and was a multinational Romanian province until 1940. At that time a total of 12 national ethnic groups lived peacefully side by side with one another. They respected one another including their cultures, religions and traditions.

This historical land “Bukovina” lies between Slovakia and the Republic of Moldavia, as well as between Romania and Ukraine and is now a state divided country. South Bukovina is now part of Romania and north Bukovina is part of Ukraine.

In the autumn of 1940, I was just 10 years old as the Bukovina Germans from the then occupied North Bukovina were resettled into the German Reich by the German government. These are my own experiences which I will never forget in my entire eventful life!

From May 1941 to January 1945, I lived in several of these resettlement camps, in Pomerania, in Warthegau and finally in Upper Silesia, where in January 1945, I had to suddenly quit the German elementary school to flee the Eastern Front.

In May 1945 I experienced the end of the Second World War as a homeless refugee in the Erzgebirge in Saxony. In August 1945 as a 15-year-old boy, I was taken by the Soviet Army, along with many other Bukovina Germans, to Romania and handed over to the Romanian authorities. There, I was held, as a German with many other compatriots, first in Romanian internment, and then transferred into Soviet internment until June 1946, where we were brought, by the Soviet Army, back to Germany and were handed over to the German authorities in Riesa near Leipzig. Once again, I was a homeless refugee in Saxony, trying to work there and in Saxony-Anhalt, to secure food and stay alive. In 1947, in search of a safe place to live, I came to Mecklenburg, where I lived in a small village near Neubrandenburg and thus, forever, found a new home in Mecklenburg.

Since I had no opportunity to learn a trade in the confusion of the post-war period, I worked for the first few years here in Mecklenburg as a day laborer. In 1951, I became employed in the public service as a trained administrative employee and there, through hard work, accuracy, and reliability, I built for myself a secure existence.

It was only as an adult that I, via my own inner drive and ambition, used every opportunity available to myself for further training and qualification, which has also made me very successful – thanks to my ambition and determination succeeded.

After 2 years of evening studies in adult education, I completed the 8th grade and achieved a performance level of 1.8. After that, I continued to attend evening school and completed the 10th grade with a grade of 1.3. By attending a two-year technical school (completed with a final grade of 1.8) and a further one-year comprehensive study within the framework of adult education, (obtaining a grade of 1.2), I achieved extensive knowledge of philosophy and history, which is still very useful to me in my literary work today.

In autumn 2015, 75 years had passed since the resettlement of the Bukovina Germans into what was then the German Empire. This was a very large resettlement campaign of over 95,000 people which was organized and carried out in a relatively short time. This 1940 resettlement changed the fate of the those Bukovina Germans, which degenerated into very different tragic ways in 1945.

On this occasion, to commemorate and not forget the resettlement in 1940, I have, as a young contemporary witness at the time, written five historical non-fiction books about our fate at that time, compiled with the titles:

– “Bukovina and the Bukovina Germans”, Volume I,
– “Bukovina and the Bukovina Germans”, Volume II,
– “Local stories from Bukovina”,
– “The Bukovina Germans” revised version, and
– “On the trail of my past”.

(The author Willi Kosiul died on May 22nd, 2020 at the age of 89)