Franz Fühmann (1922-1984) was one of East Germany’s most widely read writers. He is also one of few that have stood the test of time. He grew up in Czechoslovakia in Rokytnice nad Jizerou, a small town in the mountains close to what was then the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. This provided the setting for several of his stories, drawing from his pre-war memories of the Sudetenland. They form part of his 1962 collection The Jew Car which is now available in English, published by Seagull Books and translated by Isabel Cole. David Vaughan
Czech Christian Democrat leader Pavel Bělobrádek told a meeting of the Sudeten German Homeland Association (Sudeten German Landsmannschaft) in Augsburg, Bavaria, that never again should be allowed the expulsion of people for their nationality, beliefs, or racial origin.. Bělobrádek, the highest ranking Czech politician to address the meeting of exiled Sudetens and their descendants, was referring to the expulsion of around 3.0 million German speakers at the end of WWII from Czechoslovakia. Bělobrádek adressed his audience as fellow countrymen, explaining that the Sudetens had also shared a love for the same country as the Czechs. He added that he had not come to apologise for past events but to make peace. Bělobrádek said that in the future he hoped attendance at the event would not attract such great attention in the Czech Republic.
The 68th meeting of the Sudeten German Homeland Association (Sudeten German Landsmannschaft) started in the Bavarian town of Augsburg. One of the main targets of the meeting is reported to be a further deepening of relations between the former Sudeten Germans and their descendants and Czechs. The meeting should be attended by Czech Christian Democrat leader Pavel Bělobrádek on Sunday. He will be the highest placed Czech politicians so far to attend such a meeting. The head of the association, Bernd Posselt ,said on Saturday that Sudeten Germans could be a bridge between Czechs and Bavaria and the rest of Germany.
It is entirely up to the Czech Republic whether it will see fit to scrap
the post-war Benes decrees, the head of the Sudeten German Homeland
Association (Sudeten German Landsmannschaft ), Berndt Posselt said on
Friday on the eve of the association’s annual meeting. Mr. Posselt said
that he personally hoped to see the decrees scrapped one day. The said
decrees sanctioned the expulsion of Sudeten Germans and Hungarians from
Czechoslovakia after World War II and the confiscation of their property.
The leader of the Czech Christian Democratic Party, Pavel Bělobrádek, will attend the meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft together with Culture Minister Daniel Herman. MPs from the Communist Party have criticized the decision describing it as a “provocation” at a time when Czechs will be marking the anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the atrocities that followed.
The minister of culture, Daniel Herman, says he will join the leader of his Christian Democrats, Pavel Bělobrádek, in attending an annual meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft at the start of June. Mr. Herman told Czech Television that it had been 70 years since the war and that people ought to look forward. MPs from the Communist Party have described the top Christian Democrats’ attendance at the event as “provocation” at a time when Czechs will be marking the anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the atrocities that followed. As deputy prime minister Mr. Bělobrádek will be the most senior Czech politician ever to attend. Mr. Herman spoke at the meeting last year.
Christian Democrat party head, Pavel Bělobrádek, has stirred controversy with his declaration that he will attend a meeting of the Sudeten ethnic grouping in Augsburg at the start of June. The grouping represents the interests of Germans and their descendants expelled from Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII. The meeting was last year attended by Christian Democrat culture minister Daniel Herman. Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek stressed that Bělobrádek was attending as party leader and not as deputy prime minister. Communist leader Vojtěch Filip condemned the move.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of WW II, I speak with well-known historian Matěj Spurný about the Sudeten Germans whose future in post-war Czechoslovakia was sealed when many lined up with Nazi Germany ahead of the Munich Agreement. Most of the ethnic German population was forced to leave – spelling the end of what had been a largely peaceful coexistence going all the way back to the 13th century.
Exactly 20 years have passed since the independent Czech Republic celebrated its first ever Oscar win for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie was Kolya, a surprise global critical hit directed by Jan Svěrák, which tells the story of a Czech cellist, played by Jan's father Zdeněk, who is left to raise a young Russian boy after his mother abandons him.