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The fate of the Jews of Bohemia & Moravia

The Jews of the Sudetenland

Bohemia & Moravia

 

 

 

1939 Map of Bohemia-Moravia

The Sudetenland is the German name used in the first half of the 20th century for the western portions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans. Located on the border with Germany and Austria it encompasses the areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia associated with Bohemia.

 

When Czechoslovakia was forced to accept the terms of the Munich Agreement on Sept 29th 1938, the region was relegated to German control between October 1 and October 10, 1938. The remaining parts of Czechoslovakia were subsequently invaded by Germany in March 1939, with a portion being annexed and the remainder turned into a satellite state, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

 

Administration of the Protectorate was placed under the supervision of the Reichsprotektor, Konstantin von Neurath and shortly there after Hitler summoned Czechoslovak President Emil Hácha to Berlin and intimidated him into accepting the German occupation of the Czech rump state.

 

Four days after the occupation, a huge German military parade was held on Wenceslas Square. A live report from a popular Czechoslovak Radio host Franta Kocourek from the balcony of the Hotel Sroubek described the confusion amongst the Czech populace at the time:


"! I would like to talk about one thing that has nothing to do with the military. From somewhere far away, a huge, black crow has flown into Prague.  I have seen it spread its wings and sweep down the square over the searchlights and listening devices being paraded here by the German army. It must be surprised at the noise and all that is going on beneath it."

 

Emil Hacha

Hácha remained as technical head of state with the title of State President; German officials manned departments analogous to cabinet ministries, while small German control offices were established locally.

 

The population of the protectorate was mobilized for labour that would aid the German war effort, and special offices were organized to supervise the management of industries important to that effort.

 

Czechs were drafted to work in coal mines, the iron and steel industry, and armaments production; some young people were sent to Germany. Consumer goods production were largely directed toward supplying the German armed forces. The  government and political system, reorganized by Hácha, continued in formal existence. Gestapo activities were directed mainly against Czech politicians and the intelligentsia.

 

At the close of 1938 elections in the Reichsgau Sudetenland. Polls showed that 97.32% of the adult population voted for NSDAP. Close to a half million ethnic Germans joined the Nazi Party roughly 17.34% of the entire German population in region, making the Sudetenland the most "pro-Nazi" region in the Third Reich.

 

On the eve of the German occupation, 118,310 Jews lived in the region, centralized mostly in Prague. Immediately after the occupation, a wave of arrests began, mostly of refugees from Germany, Czech public figures, and Jews. Fascist organizations began harassing Jews: synagogues were burnt down and Jews were rounded up and attacked in the streets.
 

As early as November 3, 1938, the immediate expulsion of Czechs and Jews from the region became a daily occurrence and groups of Czech nationals were forced from the Sudetenland towards the Czech frontier. Some of these managed to escape to Prague or Brno, but all Jews were turned back by the Czech boarder guards.

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/nazioccupation/sudetenland.html

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

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Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2009

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