Statement certified by deputy district attorney, at Waiblingen on 5 June, 1947
By Valentin Hoenisch, born 6 January 1906 in Filipovo, Distr.
Yugoslavia, cooper by trade, at present residing in Endersbach,
Kreis Waiblingen, Wurttbg
On 14 September 1944, the authorities in my home town Filipovo, ordered me to report immediately at the town hall for a labor detail. The following day a number of men and myself were taken to the town of Baj, where I was detailed to various clearance work, together with Serbians and Hungarians, supervised by German and Hungarian military and gendarmes. Our labor groups were continuously withdrawn as the Russians advanced alongside the Danube river. I did various kinds of work, such as carrying boards, loading sacks and repairing barracks. On 12 February 1945, I was captured by the Russians as a prisoner of war, although I was neither a soldier nor did I wear a uniform. During my five months of compulsory labor I pledged no allegiance nor wore a uniform. I remained in a Russian prisoner of war assembly camp near Szegedin until 25 March 1945, when I got transferred to Keokanst and then detailed to work at Szekesvehervar. On 27 August I was issued a release certificate as a Yugoslavian subject, for my home town Filipovo, in Yugoslavia. I traveled to the Yugoslav border but was not allowed to enter the country, because of my German ancestry and German name. While there I heard from countrymen that my wife and children, parents and all relatives at home had been driven from their houses and put into camps. I remained in a Hungarian border town at Gara, where I worked for a farmer. Meanwhile I found out that my wife and children were in the extermination camp at Gakovo. I immediately decided to save them and crossed the Yugoslav border during the night of 12 February 1946. I succeeded in smuggling myself into the camp and although in great danger, got my family into Hungary. My wife and children were so emanciated, as to be hardly recognized, both of my parents, my mother-in-law, my two sisters-in-law, and their children as well as most of my relatives died there under inhumane conditions from starvation. After my family had recuperated we joined a transport of expelled Hungarian Germans and arrived in Germany at the end of May 1946. I certify in lieu of an oath that the above statement is correct.
Stuttgart 16 1947 / 4 June 1947