Our German Bohemian Legacy
Robert J. Paulson
Paadorf, located 1 1/2 Kilometers southeast of Oberhütten, was once completely surrounded by forest and consisted of a long row of houses running in the direction of Neid from the brook in the "Bärenlohe." The houses followed a path over the heights in the Graubuachlein valley towards the Bavarian frontier.
The history of the place is quite short but not uninteresting. The land on which Paadorf stands once belonged to Bavaria. In December 1707 the border-regulation contract [Grenzregulierungsvertrag], while that land was still covered with forest, it was transferred [prommised in perpetuity] to the Autrian Crownlands of Bohemia along with the villages of Steinlohe and Grafenried. But because the Bavarians claimed the land and the Lords von Widersberg in Muttersdorf also claimed it, quarreling over use of the land continued and in 1765 the frontier was changed once again in the "main border contract." [Hauptgrenzvertrag] Steinlohe was once again in Bavaria while Grafenried and the controversial forestland remained in Bohemia.
The Bavarian villages retained the right to use the wood, deadfall and willow. Bit the friction still continued until 1848. Then the forest rights fell to the newly founded community of Schwarzach. In 1861, as a form of relief, Baron Beck sold the whole forest of 418 Jochs to the seven villages that had rights to use it. The selling price was about 3913 guilders. In 1868 the forest was partitioned among the 76 appropriate property owners. The inhabitants of overpopulated Oberhütten were able to acquire parts of the forest quite cheaply from these owners.
Direktor Johann Micko describes Paadorf in his Muttersdorfer Heimatkunde in "rather comprehensively and in quite interesting detail." When one searches for the village on the ordnance survey map [Generalstabskarte -- a military map of the region] made in 1880, everything in the vicinity is still shown as forest. The high points of land at 676 meters, 705 meters and 702 meters locate the place exactly.
The village received its name from the builder of the first houses, the founder Wenzel Paa (Weissen Wenzel, born 1830) from Oberhütten who purchased a 1 1/2-Strich portion of the forest from the Herrschaft in 1872 for 100 guilders. In 1874 he cleared the first meadow and constructed a hayshed. In 1875 he built the first house.
Wenzel Paa, about whom some light-hearted tales of smuggling in the old Heimat are still told, purchased more adjacent forestland and cleared fields and meadows. He constructed an additional four houses for histhree sons and two daughters. He produced the bricks to build the houses himself. He went ahead on his own, applying for neither a clearing- or a
building-permit. Then came the commissioners, building prohibitions, a forest station orders and penalties. Wenzel Paa paid no attention and continued to clear and build even more. When a commission leader asked how he dared to make fields from forest he answered quietly: "Well, my children can't eat pine cones," and he continued with his plowing. The community of Schwarzach-Unterhütte took his side [stood by him]. His example found eager imitators and at the beginning of the 1880s there was
already a whole row of houses standing there. But now the authorities became quite agressive and demanded that the houses be torn down and forest trees be planted in their stead. An appeal was brought against this order which still was not settled in 1921 so that the village up until then had no real legal right to exist. But development went on. In 1890 there were 6 houses, in 1900 ten houses, in 1910 16 houses and in 1921 there were already 25 houses.
Additional portions of the forest were purchased from the Herrschaft, made arable and residences built there by people from all over the vicinity. There was a Gasthaus in newly-founded Paadorf ever since 1886, there was a village bell ever since 1885, and there was even
a Bohemian forest church in planning stages.
Due to the large number of children and the difficulty of the path to Unterhütten, a Winter-Expositur School [branch school] was opened during the winter of 1921 in the house of Josef Fleischmann. In 1923 it was converted to a separate Expositur (branch school) connected to the two-class public school in Unterhütten. [TR: two-class may mean it was a two-room school.] The teachers in the Paadorf school during those years was Josef Landgraf, Johann Hasl, Richard Benda and Georg Sellner. Since September 1, 1924, Wenzel Sehr from OberSekerschan (Kreis Mies) a married teacher in Paadorf. In 1925 a new schoolhouse was built.
Paadorf, the "youngest" village of the Bohemian forest, along with Oberhütten and Unterhütten, belonged to the community of Schwarzach. The village belonged to the parish of Waier but the church in Grafenried was ofted used for services because the distance was virtually the same. The post office was in Bohemian-Schwarzach, the nearest railroad station was in Muttersdorf or Ronsperg in the Bavarian "Waldmünchen."
n 1891 some bronze items were found in Paadorf. Portions of a canona, the tip of a flag, a spear, horseshoes and remnants of a trunk [large chest to transport baggage]. These items may have been from the War of the Spanish Succession during which there were battles in the northern Bohemian forest and in the Oberpfalz. In the year 1702 trees were felled and laid out along the Bavarian border as abatises. [Abatis is a tree with its bared crown cut into sharpened tips of branches and laid one over the other in a tangle of points that obstructs a route against enemy passage.] Over the years, right up to the time of the expulsion the fields around Paadorf and the manorial forest were still called "the Abatis."
In 1923 a road was built between Oberhütten and Paadorf. The population of Paadorf was difficult to exactly determine at that time because it was always included in the census at Oberhütten.
During the First World War 38 men from Paadorf marched off. Seven
of them fell: Johann Mages und Josef Mages, Anton Paa, Rudolf Eichler, Anton Möller und Michel Möller und Stefan Vogl. During the Second World War (1939-45) 19 men from Paadorf gave their lives and three were missing. The fallen included: Josef Wild, Thomas Sachs, Georg Paa, die Bröder Johann, Karl and Josef Wiedl, the brothers Leopold and Friedrich Vogl, Josef Paa, the brothers Karl and Rudolf Müller. Joseph Müller died during the American artillery barrage in April 1945. Others from Paadorf who gave their lives were Josef Bauer I and Josef Bauer II, Michael Hubatsch, Josef Paa, Franz Portner, Anton Paa and Johann Vogl. The missing included Michael Paa and the brothers Rudolf and Anton Paa.
After the village had been standing for almost 50 years, permission
to clear the forest was finally received from Prague. On January 1, 1929,
the "Landesschulrat" [Public School Administration] in Prague built a
second schoolroom [Schulklasse] in Paadorf after the number of children in
attendance reached 76. At that time there were 32 houses in Paadorf. In 1945 there were two "Gasthauser" [inns], a bottled beer distributor, two
general stores and a bakery.
The second teacher, Rudolf Womes, came to Paadorf from Trohatin and
worked there from January 1-June, 1930. In 1931 the teacher, Johann Ebenhöh from Amplatz, arrived in Paadork and in 1932 he became to first Commander of the newly established volunteer fire department. The Commander's second-in-command was Anton Paa (Wogner), a grandson of the founder of Paadorf. During World War Two, teachers Erich Axmann and Robert Gleinner from Haselbach worked in Paadorf which only had a one-room schoolhouse at that time. When they were both taken into the armed
forces, Emilie Beck from Linz was employed as the teacher in Paadorf. Teacher Maria Klein of Wassersuppen served as Paadorf's teacher until the expulsion. Berta Frei from Wassersuppen worked as a year-around handwork instructor in Paadorf. In spite of their industriousness and contentment, many of the cheerful population of Paadorf had to work elsewhere. The men were active partly in the forest and partly in agriculture but many also went to Bavaria and Saxony as masonry workers. The female population helped with farming, others went to the world famous spas at Karlsbad and Marienbad to find work during the "season." Many others worked all year around at making lace. And here, in the middle of the forest, the old folksongs were still sung in the "Rockenstuben daheim" [social evenings at home].
The field names of Paadorf were typical forest names like: Totenkopf [death's head], Verhau [abatis], Gud'nhau, Lössl, Bärenlohe [may be the name of a weed], Pucherwies Föhren [a pine tree], Pinkat-Lössl, Lukaswies [Lukas' meadow], Fixpunkt [fixed point], Schaferin [shepherdess] and others. Paadorf has been abandoned for more than a quarter of a century
since the expulsion in 1945 and has fallen into decay. There, where only a dark forest loomed a century ago the forest is again taking over the fields and meadows. This chapter about Paadorf in this commemorative publication should at least have some value as history among the former countrymen who lived there. They will be reminded that their ancestors once cleared the forest and worked hard here, and gave the village the name of its founder.
Today most of the houses have already been destroyed [bulldozed]. Only in the center of the former village has any construction taken place...a second building next to the former school house now accommodates the Czech border guards. Even as fields and meadows have becomme wild steppe-land, the GraubÑchlein [little brook] murmurs and roars along as always and the forest sings its accompaniment in the ancient and eternal song. That's how it once was.