CZECHOSLOVAK SOCIETY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
THE SUDETEN-GERMAN LIE AND THE SURVIVAL INSTINCT
Benjamin Kuras, London
"The Sudeten-German Lie" has now joined the two most perverse attempts at re-writing modern history. They are "The Auschwitz Lie" (Nazi extermination camps are Jewish propaganda smearing the German nation) and "The Palestinian Lie" (Western invaders called sionists are carrying out genocide on defenceless descendants of the ancient Philistines who were always the only rightful owners of the whole of Palestine). The perverse about all three is, above all, that they are turning victims into perpetrators. All three are made of the same stuff and have the same aims, methods and tactics.
"The Auschwitz Lie" is a criminal offence in some European countries including Germany. "The Palestinian Lie" is, with active or tacit support of most of the world bracing itself for another mass murder of several million Jews. The Sudeten-German Lie has as its ultimate aim nothing less than the good old disappearance of a sovereign Czech state. It has the additional perversity of flogging the Czech nation with collective guilt for the actions of a small percentage of Czechs while at the same time refusing collective responsibility for infinitely worse actions of a much greater percentage of its own people. And demanding compensation from the third generation, impoverished victims of communist tyranny which they themselves through their loyalty to Nazism brought into post-war Central Europe and which they themselves were spared thanks to the transfer for which they are now claiming compensation.
It is no accident that the Sudeten-German Lie is so virulently focusing on the Benes Decrees. Their annulment would have only one possible constitutional result: The Czech state, as a descendant of Czechoslovakia, would cease to exist under international law. Since Germany never annulled the Munich Agreement and revoked the validity of the Potsdam Treaty, the only legal code left to govern Czech relations with Germany and Austria would be the laws of the Protektorat of Bohemia and Moravia as part of the German Reich.
Few international and European institutions are likely to desire a return to that state of affairs, so the Sudeten-German Lie tries to make the Czechs themselves annul the laws which guarantee their national integrity. Any perverse lie may be used to serve that purpose, and let us quote just a few:
Czechoslovakia was a totalitarian state where Germans were discriminated against as much as Jews were in Hitler's Germany. Munich was caused by arrogant Czech domestic and international policies. Czechs actively participated in the Holocaust. The village of Lidice was wiped out by the Czech police. Only a tiny minority of Sudeten Germans collaborated with Hitler, and even that only out of fear and under coercion, their transfer was therefore an act of revenge against innocents. In their "satanic murderous orgies and sadistic dance of death" (Austrian press quote) after the war the Czechs massacred 240,000, or even 340,000. The Czech president Benes, a "genius of evil" (Austrian government politician quote) was guilty of genocide. With the expulsion of three million fellow citizens, the bolshevised Czechs eliminated a democratic element, thereby facilitating the installation of communism on their own nation.
In style and tone, the Sudeten-German Lie is taking on the familiar features of Hitler's anti-Czech ranting of the late 1930s, and at least in Austria it is beginning to apply Goebbels' slogan that a lie often repeated will be believed. For this reason, it is flogging the Czechs with insults designed to bring them to self-doubt and guilt, referring to some abstract European jurisprudence in which there is no place for the Benes expulsion decrees, and appealing to their desire to catch up with Europe as fast as possible by giving up their sovereignty. Hence so many attacks on perceived Czech lack of democratic values, backwardness, absence of European culture, residues of communist thinking, outdated patriotism, primitive nationalism and vulgar chauvinism. Czech national self-interest is a ballast, national pride is an embarrassment from centuries past, national self-preservation instinct is an obstacle on the way from the post-communist morass.
While one or another Czech national trait could certainly drive everyone barmy, the following facts remain: Czechoslovakia was the most democratic and humane country east of France. In its last democratic elections in 1938, Sudeten Germans gave, without coercion, 88% of their vote to Henlein's Nazi party whose programme was the destruction of Czechoslovakia, its incorporation into the Reich and germanisation of the entire Czech territory. On Hitler's invasion, over 90% of them freely took up Reich citizenship. Approximately the same percent were expelled, no longer as fellow citizens but as citizens of a defeated enemy state. The highest figures documented by Czech and German historians are 40,000 dead in wild attacks by communist-inspired Czech mobs. For those, let the Czechs bear as much shame as the Sudeten Germans bear for their participation in the deaths of some 300,000 Czechoslovak citizens. Their confiscated property has been Czechoslovakia's only compensation for the five years of occupation. Czechs were no great heroes, but no history of the Holocaust lists a single Czech whose acts would justify anyone's accusation of the nation's participation in the mass murder of Jews.
If anyone still needs a testimony to the perversity of the Sudeten-German Lie, let him try this:
"Within a few years, the Sudeten Germans succeeded in undermining Czechoslovakia's stability so essentially, and to disrupt its internal affairs so completely, that it became ripe for liquidation. All that was made possible only thanks to all Sudeten Germans' becoming national socialists ... History will one day declare its verdict: The Sudeten Germans carried out their duty faithfully and of their free will. " Konrad Henlein, March 4th, 1941.
As long as the Sudeten-German Lie was recited only by nostalgic old men at their beer gatherings, there was no need to take any notice. But once it is taken up with the same verve by members of the Austrian Government, mainstream Austrian press, and a candidate for German Chancellor, Czechs will have to wake up to the discovery that a mere thirteen years after regaining independence, their national integrity is again in peril. Unless they have completely lost their self-preservation instinct, they will have to start defending themselves with some of the following:
On the home front: Issue in large quantities and at government's expense a comprehensive publication outlining all the proven historical and legal facts of the Sudeten-German issue, and arrange their publication in all media and educational establishments. Bring civil lawsuits or criminal charges against the main disseminators of the Sudeten-German Lie in the Czech media - thereby forcing them either to prove their accusations or retract - under laws on the protection of the country's security, defamation of a nation or race, false accusations of murder, etc.
On the international front: Bring lawsuits or charges in Austria and Germany against the main local disseminators of anti-Czech lies, under European laws on defamation of a nation or race. Demand from the EU, NATO, and superpowers assurances that the Potsdam Treaty remains effective and guaranteed for the purpose of Czech-German-Austrian relations. Withdraw EU membership application on grounds of justified fear of being under threat from two of EU member states. Apply for membership in EFTA through which the Czech Republic would gain free trade with EU without compromising its sovereignty.
In all frankness, I would love to advise the Czechs to join the British Commonwealth. But that is now run by men like Mugabe.
Kuras is an Anglo-Czech writer, author of Czechs and Balances, As
Golems Go, and Is there Life on Marx?
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