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German reveals items his family hid in Czech attic after WW2

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Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, July 30 (CTK) – Rudi Schlattner has uncovered property that his ethnic German family hid in the attic of their house in Libouchec near Usti nad Labem before they had to leave it 70 years ago, Usti Municipal Museum director Vaclav Houfek told CTK Thursday.

On Tuesday, Schlattner showed the hiding place to historians, an archeologist and the local mayor and more than 100 packages. All the various items were revealed in it untouched.

Schlattner was 13 years old when his family had to leave former Czechoslovakia after World War Two within the transfer of ethnic Germans.

Schlattner said his family had believed that they would be able to return to live in the house after some time again. This had not happened, however.

He had been born in the villa, which his father, a rich trader, had built.

Schlattner said he did not claim the hidden property. He told the local authorities about the hiding place because he did not want the things to get lost or destroyed.

These days, the local kindergarten is seated in the house.

Houfek said the discovery of items hidden by the German inhabitants after the war is unique in the Usti Region.

The findings are even more extraordinary as Schlattner is ready to identify the revealed items.

“We can receive detailed firsthand information about each item and a strong personal story,” the museum’s curator Tomas Okurka said.

The unwrapping and identifying of the items may take weeks or even months, Houfek said.

The hiding place should include a painting by regional artist Josef Stregl and other works of art. The historians found old newspapers, hats and skis, among others.

Okurka said it took Schlattner such a long time to find the hiding place in the attic that the group thought that the hideout had already been revealed during a roof reconstruction.

“But then Mr Schlattner found a piece of string. He was pulling it for a while and then two planks loosened and there was a hideout full of things behind them,” Okurka said.

At least some of the items may be shown to the public at an exhibition focusing on the local developments in 1945 that will open in the Usti museum in September.

Houfek said the revealed items are likely to belong to the Czech state, which should decide what institution would keep them.

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