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Judentum und Israel
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German anti-fascist voices on the Sudetenland question

Extracts from speeches at an anti-fascist rally, held in Munich on 29 September 1993, to commemorate the 1938 Munich Agreement, under the title "Munich 1938 - Germany, united fatherland?"

Chaim Frank
Documentation Centre for Jewish Art and Culture in Munich,
an expert on the history of the Sudeten Germans.

It seems pointless for any sensible person still to be asking today to whom the territory of the Czech Republic belongs, because every one knows, even the least historically knowledgeable, that the Czech state belongs to the Czechs, Slovakia belongs to the Slovaks and the land beyond the Oder/Neisse frontier belongs to the Poles.

The fact is, however, that here in Germany and in Austria, there are many who in their implacably revisionist imaginations still claim that, for them, things are not so ordered. Among these people are numbered, in particular, those from the exceptionally Germanic "Sudeten Tribe" who, since 1945, together with the other so-called Volksdeutschen, officially call themselves "exiles".

So, it is in no way provocative to ask at this point, who are these so-called exiles and, as a next step, to enquire how on earth it was they became exiled? Because, lefs face it, a guest who doesn't know how to behave himself, or whose conduct is unbecoming and is therefore thrown out of his hosfs house or some pub or other, would make himself ridiculous if he were to claim that he was "exiled".

The Sudetens, Silesians and other Volksdeutschen, who annually celebrate, here in Bavaria, their self-styled Homeland Day, simply will not accept their actual status.

Thus, the statutes of every association in the federation of these "expellees" encourage them in a belief that the unborn, yes, even unconceived, children of the Sudetens and the Silesians are already classed as "exiles".


Paragraph 7 of the Federal Exiles Law, from 1971, legitimises this, when it lays down the following: "Children bom following exile, inherit the property, as exiles or refugees from the Soviet Zone, which belonged or belongs to the parent at the time of their birth or of legitimisation of welfare entitlement."

And why the exile-groups in the future will never diminish was confirmed by Franz Neubauer, one of the top-exiles, at the 1988 annual gathering of the hopeless: "... that every visitor who leaves us, through death and old-age, will be replaced by someone younger."

So one can see that the ranks of the Sudetens and Silesians are a different case from that of the old Nazis, who at least diminish biologically as they slowly but surely die out. Admittedly though, the latter's legacy' is a dangerous breed, when one considers the murderous, foreigner-bashing young nazis of today.

Meanwhile, at least, some German and, of course, Austrian politicians have realised that it is currently better not to have anything to do with old Nazis, or, even more so, young nazis. Some have even taken into consideration the possible banning of some of the nazi groups, although this consideration in no way applies to the expellees' organisations. On the contrary, many politicians, of all parties, are personally cultivating strong, decidedly comradely links with them. That is remarkably odd, because -and it has long been obvious from their publications since the very beginning -these Volksdeutsche organisations are, from the ground up, revisionist orientated, and what is worse, revisionist towards the historical watershed of the 1938 Munich Agreement.

What's more, these organisations and confederations should be regarded as being of the extreme Right, on the grounds of their convictions and especially their continuous outrageous demands, because anyone who shouts about the "Justice and Legality" of 1938 is not Just a revisionist, but also a fascist.

In my view, because this is, according to its own claims at least, a democratic country, all these fascist groups belong off the streets! The justification is the existing paragraphs of the law designed to ban the reactivation of nazism.


But this country's politicians such as, for example. Bavarian prime minister Stoiber, along with other top Bavarian conservative figures like Theo Waigel, Max Streibl, Peter Gauweiler, or whatever their names might be, together with their party managers think differently. They court these so-called exiles with not only the intention of securing their votes, but in order to further their own purposes, namely a decisive grab - eastwards.

Pict.: Deputy Interior Minister Eduard Lintner,
leading member of revanchist Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft

Many institutions, such as the Right-wing Seidl-Foundation and various Southeast Europe Societies, have long been operating in strategic spots, from Prague to Odessa and from Croatia to the Volga area, and the Deutsche Bank has already reopened a branch in Kaliningrad.

The greedy, grasping exile organisations, meanwhile, overlook the fact that for centuries they were only guests in the Slav countries. In the beginning, the Germans were "tolerated", as guests who were given an unrestricted freedom to settle when economic depression struck the German Empire as a result of numerous small wars. In modem terminology, they were "economic refugees", who were later to be joined by other Germans, victims of religious wars and intolerance. In contrast to Germany today, these refugees were guaranteed a secure right of residence.

The story of the foundation of German cities in the East is to such a large extent based on legend and myth that it bears no relation to the actual historical record. In fact, if one takes a close look at the earliest German settlements, one is drawn to the conclusion that they were placed primarily in areas already civilised and settled by the Slavs. Because of the constant influx, the original inhabitants were gradually driven out, and the Germans then began, with enormous enthusiasm, to Germanise the surrounding areas very rapidly. What could not be taken by peaceful means was sorted out with the swords of the Teutonic Knights, under the banner of "Subduing and Christianising".

It is also abundantly clear that not only was German law forced upon the conquered lands, from Bohemia to the Baltic, but that it was the Germans who were Freemen and the Czechs, for example, who were vassals of the Dukes. Naturally, all this didn't happen overnight but occurred over centuries. Above all, towards the end of the fifteenth century, a new and tragic epoch in Slav history began to unfold, in particular, in and around the countries of Bohemia and Moravia, which had fallen to the Habsburgs. The gravest tragedy of all was in 1620, with the defeat at the White Mountain near Prague, which resulted in the loss of Czech national independence for the next 300 years.


As if that were not sufficient, there eventually arose the problem of rapidly expanding Germanisation, brought about ly Austro-Gennan infiltration which went on uninterruptedly until the First World War. A consequence of this was the imposition of German as the state language. It did not act as an instrument of national reconciliation but as a political weapon of oppression.

Every little move towards Slav self-realisation was immediately nipped in the bud, destroyed down to the root, and the slightest feeling of Czech self-worth was trampled under foot.

An example here, from the much-praised, apparently liberally disposed theologist, Theodor Mommsen, who once told the Sudeten-Germans: "Be hard! The Czech skull cannot absorb knowledge, but even it is accessible to blows." (Freie neue Presse; Vienna, 31.10.1897)

The founding of the Czech Republic in 1918 immediately led to political tension, as the Sudetens simply would not play ball with the new arrangements, even though the young state conceded considerably more rights to its minorities than the Czechs had ever enjoyed under Pan-Germanism.

About 200 questionnaires are of course not representative enough,
but the main stream of opinion is obvious.

Translation of questionnaire and results distributed at revanchist Sudeten rallies

Confirmation can be found in the documentation Die Vergangenheit warnt by Dr. Vaclav Krai: "The position of the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia, despite their non-cooperative attitude towards the Czechoslovak state, could not be compared to that of other national minorities anywhere else in Europe. Apart from the monopoly of state violence, they retained everything that they had had in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They retained their cultural unity, their theatre, their organisations and institutions etc..."

Basically, however, the political structure of the Sudetens, as with the Sile-sians, was only a tool of others. As the Nazis eventually put it: "Czechoslovakia forms an obstacle to the German push to the East and to mastery of Europe." hi similar vein, Bismarck commented much earlier, on "Fortress Europe": "Whosoever holds Bohemia holds Europe."


With the formation of the Deutsche National-Partei and the Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiter Partei - both Sudeten, pro-fascist and antisemitic (and this was as early as 1919) - the foundations were laid for what would eventually, from 1933, fundamentally shake Europe.

It can be seen that the later Nazi party was no discovery of the Austrian Adolf Hitler, but that of the "nicer" Sudetens. Thus, the first stone was thrown, and then came, as it must come, the flame of hatred. Violence quickly took a hold all around, violence that was brutal and unstoppable.

Konrad Henlein's nazi Sudetens terrorised the Czech population equally as much as they terrorised the anti-Nazis and Jews who had fled from Hitler's German Reich. One of the first victims of these crazed Sudeten gangs, as early as 1933, was the well-known German author Theodore Lessing, who had fled to Karlsbad - Karlovy Vary - to escape the Nazis in Germany and ended up being shot in the back in broad daylight.

When Hitler assumed power in 1933, the Nazis achieved "respectability" on a political level across Europe and Konrad Henlein knew, as did the Nazis, how to make a name for himself, as he attempted, under the cloak of anti-Bolshevism, to further his campaign for "the Sudeten German Question" in the League of Nations.

Meanwhile, he stepped-up his own campaign of terror in Czechoslovakia together with his like-minded rabble, in order artificially to stimulate the conflict he needed. Just how well the Nazis understood how to control their ingenious strategy for a "New Order in Europe" for the purposes of Greater Germany, was noted by the former French ambassador Andre Francois-Poncet in his autobiography: 'The method involved first applying a well-thought-out and increasing aggravation to the dissident elements in the country, with a view to either giving them power or crushing them. For this purpose, agents were found, either from outside or inside of the country. Incidents caused by them were then reported in detail, and with increasing frequency in the Goebbels' Nazi press; much exaggerated in order to keep public opinion on tenterhooks and to prepare an international mood of crisis."

Winston Churchill, in his memoirs written post-war, seems to an extent to have understood this, unfortunately much too late: "German propaganda and the German forces could be used against the Western border of Czechoslovakia because in the Western border area, where the Sudetens were settled, an aggressive German-nationalistic party was active, waiting to act as a fifth column in the event of trouble." As we now know, this is how things happened.

Following Hitler's secret order to the Wehrmacht to crush Czechoslovakia, on 30 May 1938, and the assistance given by the aggressive activities of the "fifth column" - provocations which led to heavy clashes between the Nazis and the Czechs - came that which Hitler wanted: the infamous Munich conference of 29 September 1938.

Here in Munich - allow me the unhistorical expression - they licked Hitler's backside conceitedly - Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini. Thus was one of Hitler's most significant objectives met: the ceding of the territory in which the Sudetens lived, to the German Nazi Reich, with the apparent agreement of Europe. It was then just a matter of blinking an eye before the Nazi leader, without undue fuss, gave the order on 21 October 1938 to "finish-off 'left-over' Czechoslovakia".

The last pulse of the Czech population flickered out with the proclamation of the "Reich's Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia" on 16 March 1939.


The sporadic Henlein terror had raged shortly before. Now began the tightly organised liquidation of Czechs, Jews and Roma by means of the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and the later systematic deportations to Ausch-witz, Dachau, Mauthausen, Sobibor and Treblinka.

The suffering meted out to Czechs, Jews and Roma during the Nazi occupation was incalculable and brutal beyond measure. That said, a large part of the Czech intelligentsia, its cultural sector, including many scientists, composers and writers was exiled, transported to concentration camps or, worse still, gassed and murdered.

Some of the most active assistants in murder were, naturally, Volksdeutsche. Not a few were actually operating as camp commandants and guards at the extermination camps.

Anti-fascists protest at German
"blackmail policy" in the East

The Asylum Plot:
How Germany creates protectorates

So, if there were "exiles" in this context, during the Second World War, then they were the Czechs. It was the Czechs who, at the time of the Austro-German repression, had to leave their country and ultimately it was the Czechs who had to flee because of the savage onslaught by the German-Austrian Nazi hordes and because of Henlein's Sudeten thugs. With these exiled Czechs and, of course, first and foremost the murdered Jews and Czechs and most certainly the towns of Lidice and Leczoky together with their murdered inhabitants, lies my deepest sympathy because they became the victims of the brutal Nazi lunatic, who, wherever he set foot, polluted and destroyed every thing.

Yet, and I confess this often, I have no sympathy whatsoever with those responsible, the Sudetens or Volksdeutsche, who were rightfully expelled from Eastern European countries, because they thought only of themselves and their own fate and caused more evil with their fascism than any amount of good they did for their host countries.

Certainly, they weren't all bad, and it would be understandable to ask: when two in a family are bad, is then the whole family bad? Of course not. Nevertheless, the proper question is: if a hundred people behaved decently, were the other million Sudetens honest? No, the mass was simply not honest. Quite the opposite, the few who perhaps possessed some character were, because of the criminal character of the others, made to suffer and were forced, exactly like the others, to leave the Czech Republic in 1946.

On the other hand - lefs be honest - if we remember post-war Germany, if we look at it closely, how would it have looked here, if there had not been all these expellees, who since 1946 had been repatriated to this, their chosen German homeland? I mean, because of the countless German dead, for whom Germany was responsible, having started the war, there could not have been such a speedy rebuilding.


In this connection, I have found an interesting article from the Neue Zeitung of 29 April 1946: "By decision of the Potsdam Conference, it is decreed that 8-10 million Germans are to be expelled from Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. The return of these millions faces a reduced Germany, split into four economic and transport zones, with a monstrous task. The positive side of having to accommodate millions of German re-immigrants in the US Zone lies in the arrival of highly qualified craftsmen and handworkers. On the crafts side, the export-power of the new arrivals in Bavaria alone has been estimated at an annual 200,000,000 Marks."

And for Bavaria-fans, I quote also: "In planning new industries in Bavaria, consideration is being given, for the purposes of keeping-up export capabilities, to providing certain branches of industry with their own settlements, to provide labour and support for individual firms. Alongside the general rules for choice of location, attention would be paid to ensuring that factories are located in areas which as much by virtue of their population makeup as for their situation, provide for a speedy settling-in. Bavaria will benefit particularly in this respect, from the settlement of Sudeten Germans which will bring new, particularly productive undertakings here."

Really, these "homecomers" should be pleased, living here in their own homeland, which after all, they helped to build and set up. But, and this is to be seen every year at their Homeland Days, this success and what has been won isn't enough for them. They never have enough. On the contrary, they always want more. Apart from which, they shudder with terror at the foreigners who are slaving away here, because they are afraid that they will be pres-sured by Turks and Yugoslavians, or asylum-seekers, in the same way that they, in fact, once pressured the Czechs and Poles.

Perhaps, though, it is only their well-known possessive nature, of which people say: The Germans are always unhappy and discontented. On the one hand, because they never get what they want, such as the eastern Territories or the Olympic Games as they had them in Berlin in 1936, and, on the other hand, they are unhappy because they have something which they no longer want, for example East Germany.

And the cries of pain will continue over the coming years. Perhaps we should start getting worried, though - all the signs are that maybe soon, more than just a few will be wanting a Fuhrer again, even if ifs only a little one, and it would be fitting for the new Reich's capital Berlin, from where another "Konrad Henlein"-type can be delegated to the reconquest of the Sudetengau.

I'll finish my address with the now famous words of the Czech journalist and author Julius Fucik who was murdered by the Nazis:
"People, stay alert!" 31-10-02



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