Germans of Moravia and Bohemia, and the Carpathian Germans of
Slovakia, by Maximilian Hartmund
GeoNative texts ]
During the 12th century German
settlements began to be established in Moravia and Bohemia.
At the beginning of the First world
war the ethnographic status of the region was one third Germans and
the rest were Czechs. The german settlements were mainly located
along the borders to Austria-Hungary and the German reich, so it
would't have been a great deal to follow the 1918's demand of the
nearly ethnically homogenous German provinces for re-connection with
Austria or Germany, but the newly-formed Czechoslovak government
announced that the historic boundaries of Bohemia and Moravia were
the basis of the new state and under no circumstances to be altered.
(Even thought they altered the boundaries by taking over a small part
of Upper Austria in 1919)
Nearly 2 decades of Czech
suppression followed for the german population.
They officially had minority rights
,but they existed only on paper. Antisemitic tendencies were rare
,the german-speaking jews of the region fought together with the
Germans against their oppression ; in their land they were both just
humans of second class.
In 1938 the ethnic composition of
the CSR was 43% Czech 23% Germans (3,9Millions)
and 22% Slovak Hitler annexed the
provinces with a German population of more than 50% and installed the
"Reichsgau Sudetenland" with a czech proportion of 18% .
36.000 jews were immediately
deported and 50.000 Germans refused to live under Hitler`s rule and
After Hitler finally lost the war
,the Sudetenland was reintegrated into the new CSR .
they were forced to wear white
armbands and were wantonly attacked and publically executed in
NS-method style. Historians estimate the victims of Czech agression
from about 100-250.000..
Their following expulsion was later
legitimized by the Benes decrees, which accused all Germans of
collective support of Hitler, but it was Benes himself who ordered
the czech Resistance not to cooperate with German anti-Nazi groups,
in order to create the illusionary picture that they supported him
collectively. Now that 50 years have passed, the Benes decrees are
still valid and many leading politicians, such as Milos Zeman, the
premier-minister of the Czech-Republic, still defend them and believe
in their correctness. The official number of germans in the czech
republic today is about 51.000 while inofficial sources estimate
their number at about 200.000
The Carpathian Germans of
German settlements in Carpathia
were first established in the 11th century, especially Pressburg was
a german city and the region of Zips, which had been completely
autonomous until 1867 when Hungary took over control, suppressed the
german-speaking population and closed all of its schools. As Slovakia
became semi-independent in 1919 the 180.000 Carpathian Germans stayed
people of Second class but their status had improved in comparision
to hungarian rule, by having at least some minority rights, being 5%
of the population; german schools were allowed to re-open. The
capital became Pressburg, with its czechoslovak name "Bratislava"
just established in 1919, due to the fact that it had never been a
slovak city. (in 1850 the germans still counted 74,6% / Hungarians
17,9% . In 1910 slovaks made up 14,8% of ist population) During the
time of the first Slovak Republic, founded in 1939 by Hitler`s mercy
, its 5,1% Germans were exposed to an intensive pressure for
assimilation, after the mainly magyar provinces were taken over by
Hungary and Slovaks stated 85% of the population. After the war the
anger at the Germans grew, about 23.000 were murdered but the
majority was expelled Or deported. Most fled for Austria and Germany
as well, all German property was confiscated. The census of`9 1
counted 5.629 germans but the inofficial number ranges about 15.000.
The relation between Germans and Slovaks has improved a lot, unlike
between Slovaks and the 570.000 Magyars. The Carpathian-Germans who
stayed in Slovakia even got 20% of their long-time confiscated
property back, while the Germans in the Czech republic received
nothing, not even a gesture.
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