President rejects call for apology to Sudeten Germans


President Václav Klaus has rejected a call to apologise for injustices committed against ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia after World War II, saying that apologies were not the means of addressing differences over who bore responsibility for the war and related acts. On Saturday the chairman of the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, Franz Pany, questioned why Prague had not made a similar gesture to that of Queen Elizabeth II on her recent visit to Ireland. The Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft represents ethnic Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II.

But Mr Klaus reacted by saying that some on the German side had rejected all apologies until now. He also said calling for an apology on the anniversary of the destruction of the village of Lidice by the Nazis 69 years ago was highly insensitive. On Saturday, some 3,000 people in the Czech Republic attended a memorial ceremony in Lidice, near Prague, where 69 years ago all male inhabitants aged 15 and higher were shot and all women and many children were sent to concentration camps. The destruction of the village was one of the most infamous acts of reprisal by the Nazis for the assassination of the acting Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich.