Klaus fears no one will protect Czech interests when he leaves


Note: I feel sorry for the Sudeten Germans. They had lived there for a thousand years. Only a century before they were kicked out, Bohemia and Moravia had been largely German areas. Granted, most of the famous Germans from there were Germanised Czechs – eg, Stamitz, Benda, Vanhal, Krommer, et al. But the Germans have every reason to feel put out by the Benes Decrees.

However, I do like the Czechs. They have the most attractive culture in all Central Europe. Their music is a fine appendage to the German tradition, and has outlived it. Their films are a continual delight. I like even the dumpier parts of Prague, and have fond memories of visits to places like Olomouc and Stary Smokovec. For this reason, I think they should keep the Sudetenland.

And that’s as good a reason as any for taking personal sides in a foreign territorial dispute. SIG

ČTK 15 November 2012

Vienna, Nov 14 (CTK) – Czech President Vaclav Klaus, saying yesterday he minds the unceasing debate on the post-war transfer of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia, told Czech journalists he is afraid that no strong protection of Czech interests will be made in the country when his term expires next year.

The transfer was a relatively marginal event in the tragic period of European history, Klaus said on the second day of his three-day state visit to Austria.

“It really annoys me to hear the unceasing debate on the post-war transfer. I must say I simply cannot accept this transfer theme. I am ready to accept a debate on the theme of Nazism, Nazism and Austria, Austria and World War Two, the transfer – but only all these together in this package, not picking up one relatively marginal event in this tragic episode of European history, Klaus said.

He said he is afraid that no one will be strongly defending the Czech interest in this issue after he leaves the presidency in March.

About three million Germans were transferred from Czechoslovakia, mainly its border regions (Sudetenland), after World War Two on the basis of then president Edvard Benes decrees, stripping them of Czechoslovak citizenship and confiscating their property.

The Austrian Sudeten German Landsmannschaft (SLOe) accused Klaus on Monday of carrying on Benes’s “chauvinist policy of genocide,” the Austrian APA news agency reported.

The SLOe criticises Klaus for insisting on the Benes decrees. It said by his previous statement that the Sudeten Germans’ transfer is “a logical consequence” of the Nazi crimes he proves that he is motivated by the idea of collective guilt and revenge where one crime is repaid with another.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer said after his meeting with Klaus on Tuesday eyes should not be closed to the crimes committed in the 20th century, including after World War Two.

Every crime must be seen as a crime and its historical context must also be perceived, Fischer said.

Klaus met Prime Minister Werner Faymann in Vienna yesterday and together with Fischer opened a Czech-Austrian economic forum.

Klaus said his talks with Austrian politicians and business representatives are very positive, but he complained about the behaviour of representatives of the Austrian Green Party during his visit to parliament on Tuesday.

Klaus said he has almost forgotten that someone can behave so aggressively as the Greens do.

“I do not think at all that any representative of a political group would talk so aggressively to the president of a foreign country in our parliament where I was receiving foreign delegations for four years,” Klaus said.

He said the Austrian Greens’ “stubbornness” over the Czech nuclear power plant in Temelin is “really unbelievable.”

The Czech Republic plans to complete the plant with building another two blocs by the year 2025. APA reported on Tuesday that several Green MPs, including their federal spokeswoman Eva Glawischnig, unfolded posters calling for the Czech republic to quit nuclear energy.

Klaus said in Vienna on Tuesday the Czech Republic is not succumbing to irrational fanaticism, it is going to use nuclear energy and it will extend Temelin.

Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.

10 responses to “Klaus fears no one will protect Czech interests when he leaves

  1. Firstly, the GreeNazis don’t want anyone to use any sort of modern concentrated energy source, whether nuclear, coal, oil, gas (and shale-gas really really gets up their noses) except for themselves. They will simply have to go, one day. Don’t know when, but they’ll have to go if Man is to have any semblence of a chance to get off this planet and go to “do” other additional ones. This move will also be liberty’s Last best Hope, rather as the USA once was, but is no longer.

    Secondly, I am with Klaus on this business of the Sudeten Germans. It’s true that their expulsion would have of course amounted to thousands and thousands of individual tragedies, each one lost in the general “noise floor” of tumult and disruption in 1945. Most of thise poor families and so on would have been utterly blameless. However, they had the opportunity in the late 1930s to oppose Henlein and his prot-Nazi pot-stirrings…and they did not. They, by virtue of the fact that no opposition to Henlein was seriously offered, simply hept their heads down and went along silently with the drift of Berlin’s unstated objective, which was to stir up anti-Czechoslovak pressure within and without the Sudetenland(s).

    You could argue also that the majority of German citizens inside Germany-proper did likewise. I have often tried to make the point, particularly when thanklessly defending the actions of RAF Bomber Command, that poor choices, such as the Germans sort of rather clearly made in early 1933, can have unpleasant and disastrous future consequences. It was no individual German voter’s fault, I suppose, that the NSDAP ended up being able to form a government and then immediately wasted no time in emplacing a terror-regime. It worked out what the people wanted to be told, told it to them, got voted in: and this adumbrated Tony Blair exactly, but 60-odd years earlier.

    I can’t see what the motive for Austria is right now, to get involved in this spat. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

  2. Hitler’s tanks broke down on the road to Prague.

    The taking of the Czech factories was vital to the Nazi war machine.

    The Czech defences were in the Sudetenland. The betrayal of 1938, by Chamberlain, was a shameful episode in British history – and it led to the growth and development of the National Socialist warmachine.

    Strong elements of the German armed forces were actually willing to strike against Hitler and the National Socialists – if Britain and France stood firm, but after the N.C. betrayal, the standing of Hitler vastly rose, making a coup against him impossible.

    As for now……….

    What happened in 1945 was wrong – as was what happened (under Nazi rule) from 1938 to 1945.

    However, a cycle of revenge (as Irish history for so many centuries shows) is madness. The music of hate has to stop – and those who hold the land now have to keep it.

    After all if one says “the Czechs stole X land in 1945” one can also say “Germans took land by force in previous centuries”.

    It must stop – those who hold the land now are NOT guilty of any crimes (those Czechs are long dead) and even those Czechs who did commit crimes had vastly worse crimes committed against them by the Nazis from 1938 to 1939.

    Sadly the Germans in this area, mostly, choose to support the government of Germany – which was the National Socialist government.

    I repeat there are crimes on BOTH sides – but the cycle of confiscation and counter confiscation must stop.

  3. Sorry Mr Davies but I can’t enlighten you concerning Austrian motives and I seldom, if ever, feel sorry for the Germans Dr Gabb. I do though agree with your own feelings regarding the Czechs. I feel perfectly at home in Prague too. Ten years ago, when I last visited, it seemed a lovely city with a broad, clean river tied about it like a glittering ribbon. It’s cafe’s are good places to sit and talk with friends both summer and winter. People noisily coming and going. The aroma of fine tobacco, the intermittent clatter and clinks, the sudden bursts of laughter being the only sounds braking above the mostly discreet chatter. A little like, I imagine, London was a hundred or so years ago. Eating traditional grub in Rules today, still gives off somewhat similar vibes… I like to imagine anyway.

  4. This makes me wish to visit Prague.

  5. Prague is lovely. I knew it in 1989/90/91, a little (it was difficult to get in in 1989 so I did it via an engineer chum in Slovakia who lived in Nitra…Vlado, are you watching this blog maybe still?) – I hired a car in Vienna and sort of drove over the border to Bratislava, so maybe I can even predate Sean’s arrival there…?

    We hoarded my “petrol coupons”, which were what visitors had to buy at inflated prices relative to the actual petrol price in Czechoslovakia, and we drove to Prague from Nitra, and back. I was impressed mightily with the apearence of a full NATO-style airstrip, (with hardened shelters for Mig-29s) consisting of about two miles of the motorway, on which we drove, somewhere between Brno and Prague. It was at “Velky-Baranov” – I remember where it was, now. (I think it means “big male sheep”….I learned to speak Czech later over a number of visits, but with a rather strong South-Moravian accent later, and in their dialect, so I may be mistaken here.) The communists obviously feared us that much, that they turned their motorways into air force bases. Sad, really.

    The petrol queues at all gas-stations, all the time, confused me. I assumed that the rationing-system would ensure that everybody had the fuel he needed, when he needed it. But a pair of skis (about 180 cm) in that funny multistory department store in Prague (I can’t remember its name now), where a sort of Rosa Kleb would refuse to give you a basket or even let you in from the on-street-customer-queue, until another customer had left, cost the equivalent of $5. With bindings fitted.

    • I always enjoyed the dumpiness of post-Communist Bratislava. Also, it was the only place I’d ever visited where almost no one else spoke English. About a week after my arrival, I had a most painful attack of a complaint that afflicts one in the nether regions (Graece: αἱμορροΐδες), and was reduced to seeking help in Latin from a pharmacist. After that, I made sure to learn the local language.

  6. Yes, Sean, that can be very painful and debilitating (I know for I have had it once, and Caesar himself states that he suffered from it at one point during his Belgian campaign.) We are in good company therefore.

    One incident in Bratislava in mid-1992 did upset me. My very good chum Jan Zdarsky (I wonder if he reads this still? He must be about 39 or 40) from Vyskov near Brno, with whom I stayed many times, and together we pursued “kosicky” sometimes, in a light-hearted way, went with me and three of my yuppie chums from London, on a buying-expedition for “long playing records” of Czech and Slovak classical music, made very lovingly by the technology of the day, and which were now, in our terms, ridiculously cheap.

    We found a shop bursting at the seams with “LPs”. I and my chums fell upon this, and came out with carrier-bags full of delicious Czech and Slovak classical and romantic music, on vinyl, for what, to us, was pennies.

    Poor Honza was rather upset, perhaps to see what we could do, for what for us was seemingly so little money. He berated us (remember this was 1992) for “you come here, you people can buy anything and everything, and to you we are just shit”…He was actually in tears, and I felt awfully bad. After a trip to the nearest bar, everything calmed down, for we tried to explain that in time, perhaps three to four years, Czechoslovakia would return to the world of economic normality. He didn’t really believe us then, but perhaps does now. All was well, for about six months later, he and we were getting monumentally pissed all together, mostly the same group of individual miscreants, in a mountain bistro in the Bohemian Highlands near Kraliky, to celebrate the “Velvet Divorce”, about which you people all know. Honza was in good form, and complemented me with a huge bear-hug on entering a country (Czechoslovakia) while yet never being able to leave it, ever, for it had dissapeared at that moment, and I would be leaving a different one (The Czech Republic…). I treasure that moment for always, and will carry it to my dying day.

    Sadly, I missed attending Sean’s wedding in Slovakia, which was about a week later, for I had to drive back to London to attend to the mismanagement of my business and (then) only source of income.

    • I well remember the Supraphon shop in Venturska Ulica. I loaded up with CDs of Dvorak and Smetana.

      As for the wedding, you were missed. But we may repeat the whole thing for the Silver Anniversary. Next time, we hope to find a Best Man who doesn’t collapse half way through the ceremony….

  7. If you decide you are pleased to ask me, I promise not to collapse! If not, I’ll just get mildly inebriated in your joint and several honour. Will Jan Carnogursky be coming?