Amnesty For All Crimeshe book Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans is an avalanche of horror under which a reader can almost suffocate. It takes a real effort of will to read the reports of the people who survived this time of horror. Yet these reports that were collected after 1945 are actually rather subdued, compared to their reality - not only because language simply has no means to adequately reflect the bestiality of the Czechs and the torment they inflicted on their victims.
Two factors become apparent in an overall examination of these events:
1. The orgy of murder seemed to break out spontaneously, but it had been planned - not in its extent and degree of perversion, perhaps, but certainly in principle. The expulsion had been planned by Benes as early as 1942. Wenzel Jaksch, the Sudeten German Socialist leader, knew it and for that reason distanced himself from Benes in exile.
When the German defeat had become inevitable, Benes, in his radio address to the Czech people, already publicly announced the liquidation of the Germans in Czechoslovakia. As of May 5, radio broadcasts incessantly urged the Czech population to kill and plunder.
And the Czech people took this urging very seriously indeed.
2. And that is the second factor to consider in assessing these events: the participation of the widest conceivable circles of the Czech population in these mass crimes. All the survivor reports show this clearly.
The Benes Decrees provided a "legal foundation" for the genocide. Any and all crimes against Germans were sanctioned. The amnesty decree stated:
An act intended as vengeance for the actions of the occupiers and their accomplices is not unlawful, even if under other circumstances it would be a crime as per legal regulations.
So anything and everything was permissible to do to the Germans. They were less than animals for slaughter. The "green light" for the mass murder was followed by other decrees ordering the confiscation of any and all German and Magyar property, whether movable or not. This was applied to such an extent that the people remaining on their farms almost starved to death because they were not permitted even to dig the potatoes they themselves had planted.
One year after the armistice, the murdering still raged on. The Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans reports numerous cases where mass executions in the camps still took place even in 1946. At that time, however, they were no longer being carried out before the public eye.
While it is repeatedly mentioned that the Russians often curbed the Czechs' bestial frenzy, there are few accounts of "good deeds" by the Americans.
Frau Eleonore Hochberger of Kosolup near Pilsen reports that the Czech Revolutionary Guardsmen had behaved in a relatively restrained manner at first. It was not until they realized that they need not worry about interference from the Americans - that they might do with the Sudeten Germans as they wished - that the torture and murder began in the American-occupied parts of Czechoslovakia as well. Frau Hochberger, whose husband was tortured to death in the prison Bory, tells of her desperate attempts to obtain help from the American commandant. He did not even consent to hear her. His interpreter, however, informed her frostily: "We Americans haven't come to help the Germans, we came to liberate the Czechs from you. We don't care a fig what they do to you."
The American officials and officers were aware of the massacres, and in many cases reacted cynically: don't blame the murderer, blame the victim.
In the publication Tragedy of a People that appeared in New York in 1946, Captain Mike Short wrote: "It is terrible here in the Sudetenland. The Czech cruelties are beyond all measure. We are not permitted to intervene in any way, we are even ordered from higher-up to tolerate anything and everything the Czechs do."
Admittedly, the atrocities in the American-occupied regions never reached the same scale as they did elsewhere in Czechoslovakia, and there are exceptions where even Americans stepped in to curb the Czech monstrosities.
This unspeakably awful fate struck three million Sudeten Germans, and a total of 15 million Germans. And hardly anyone ever so much as mentions it.
The specific instructions for the expulsion varied from case to case, but the inhuman psychological cruelty was uniform. The following are some examples of the expulsion orders.
On June 14, 1945 at 10:00 p.m., after curfew for the Germans, the following order from the military commandant was announced in Bohemian Leipa, in the German and Czech languages. The sleeping populace naturally did not learn of it until the morning of June 15.
The order stated: "In the city communities of Bohemian Leipa, Alt-Leipa and Niemes, all inhabitants of German ethnicity and with no regard to age or sex are to leave their homes at 5:00 a.m. on June 15, 1945 and to march through the Kreuzgasse and Bräuhausgasse [streets] to the gathering point by the brewery in Ceske Lipe.
"Every individual to whom this expulsion order applies may take: a) food for seven days, and b) the barest necessities for personal use, in a quantity which he or she can personally carry.
"Valuables such as gold, silver and all objects made of these materials (rings, brooches etc.), gold and silver coins, bank books, insurance policies, cash with the exception of 100 RM per person, as well as cameras, are to be placed into a bag or wrapped in a paper parcel, accompanied by an exact written inventory listing of the contents."
And here comes the threat: "I stress that every person will be closely body-searched. The contents of any luggage will also be closely examined. Any attempt to hide objects of the aforementioned nature on one's person, whether in clothing or in shoes, or elsewhere such as in hand-luggage, is futile and will be punished by death."
And indeed, men, women and children were searched down to their bare skin. These inspections often lasted days and nights on end.
The order saw to everything: pets shall remain where they are, the order continues, and a list of the animals is to be included with the identifying address and house keys that must be handed in at the gathering point.
And then, the main point for the state that lusted after the expellees' wealth: non-movable property and assets, such as machinery, agricultural equipment and tools, are to remain where they are. Any damage inflicted intentionally on such property or assets will be severely punished. Similarly, any transfer of the items mentioned to other persons for purposes of safe-keeping will be punished.
The expulsion order of Kraslice, for example, stated: Persons who are to be transported shall leave their homes in perfect order. Permitted: hand-luggage of at most 10 kilograms. All remaining items are to be left in their proper places in the home. The luggage may not be bundled in carpets or slipcovers.
The order then announced inspections, and severe penalties. As a particular nicety for the expelled housewives, the order stipulated that beds were to be left with freshly changed sheets to welcome the robbers.
When a brute commits murder with a knife or gun, his action can be expressed and fully exposed in the spotlight of public attention. However, a monster in human form that tortures and kills so cruelly that even to write about it curdles the ink in one's pen - the details of such a person's deeds remain in semi-dark. The real extent of his crime can never be illumined because it is simply inconceivable to imagine it in anything but a watered-down form.
To date, Czech history has profited from this "dilution effect".
This book has dispensed with emotionalism in its accounts, and deliberately retained the simple, almost monotonous wording of the witness statements and transcripts. After all, who could possibly describe realistically the screaming of tortured people, or what battered lumps of flesh must have felt as they had to dig their own graves before the submachine guns of their murderers? One's breath catches at the thought of the agony of the mothers whose children were nailed to poster boards in Prague.
But the horror need not even be bloody. What kind of degenerate humanity is it that "fed" the German wounded from buckets full of human excrement before beating them to death - as happened in Wilson Train Station in Prague?
All this is so unspeakably gruesome - but is it right that this flood of degeneracy and cruelty should be graciously covered up with the mantle of silence because the crime is too terrible to be faced?
And what this book describes is only a drop in the ocean of death and agony and perverted madness!
The bottom line is that, in that year of the "Final Solution" in Czechoslovakia, 241,000 Sudeten Germans died a violent death or succumbed to starvation-induced typhus. There is hardly a Sudeten German family that has not lost at least one relative to these events. The number of murdered Blitzmädchen, nurses, and Wehrmacht members (wounded or not) who fell into the hands of the Czech murderers will never be precisely known. 200,000 is a conservative estimate.
The books of Father Emanuel Reichenberger - especially Europa in Trümmern, which already appeared in the first post-War years, published by Stocker-Verlag - reveal a kaleidoscope of horror. Father Reichenberger, whom the National Socialists had forced to emigrate to the United States, became the expellees' foremost spokesman. The famous Sudeten German author Bruno Brehm wrote of this emigrant who tried to make the victors' world face their post-War crimes: "He began to shout into the world's ears, which it covered with both hands, for though it had listened so eagerly for atrocities committed by the Germans, it now cared not to hear about the heinous atrocities committed against them."
Bruno Brehm wrote these words in 1953! Almost half a century later, little has changed.
The mass media remain silent. The "White Book" compiled under the Adenauer Administration and documenting the crimes in Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia has been placed under lock and key by our current Socialist government at Bonn. Its publication is prohibited!
The Austrian Federal President traveled to Prague, and one Austrian newspaper lauded him as "courageous President". What for? Because he had visited the Archbishop? Does that take courage? The expellees might justly have expected some other sign of courage from him. But such a sign has not yet come - neither from Vienna nor from Bonn.
The incomprehensible already begins with the eerie alliance between Western Democracy and Bolshevism. Regarding their cooperation in the expulsion and butchery of 18 million Germans, Father Reichenberger observed: no democrat was bothered by the concurrence with Stalin's bloody dictatorship and no Christian by the collaboration with the Antichrist. Roosevelt strove to gain Stalin's unreserved trust. Father Reichenberger had already realized the reason for this during his exile in London, and later in the United States. As Brehm wrote: Reichenberger soon saw that in America very little if any distinction was made between Germans and National Socialists, and that it was the Germans as a whole whom one hated, the Germans as a whole whom one wanted to destroy, and the Germans as a whole whom one believed capable of all evil and on whom one wished all evil. This was the attitude that led to the fact that after 1945 Czechs who had participated in massacres of Germans could live with impunity in the American-occupied zone of Germany.
One infamous example is the case of the Czech Antonin Homolka. One of his recorded acts in the blood frenzy of May 1945 was that he had snatched a German mother's baby out of its carriage, wedged the child head-down between his knees, grabbed hold of both legs and literally tore the baby's body apart. In 1949 he was arrested in Stuttgart by German police, but the Americans ordered his release and transfer to an IRA-controlled migration camp.
In those days crimes committed by the Germans were all that mattered - the crimes committed against them mattered not.
Fine - but how is the situation today, 50 years later, in Bonn and Vienna? How is the state of affairs in our television and almost all mass media? Is their silence about what happened in 1945 a sign of collective paranoia? A fear of being accused of attempting to distract from Belsen and Auschwitz by telling the truth about Allied crimes? After all, it is the spirit of re-education that only Germans are ever to sit in the prisoner's dock of history. That is why schoolchildren are only ever taught about the Holocaust and never about the Banat, never about Prague.
In fact, the gigantic post-War crime of the expulsion of 15 million people and the murder of almost 3 million Germans has been successfully prevented from seeping into our collective present-day awareness.
There are not a few contemporaries who try to see the barbaric butchering of the German men, women and children in Czechoslovakia as something like an understandable reaction of the Czechs to Lidice.
In Lidice 132 men were executed. There is no just or reasonable relationship, and no comparison at all, between the extent of this reprisal and that of the outbreak of insane chauvinism manifested by the Czechs.
Certainly, none of this would have happened without Hitler. But what kind of judges are they who are by far more cruel, bestial and inhuman than the accused?
Anyone who tries to hush up and justify the happenings in Czechoslovakia and in the East and
Southeast in effect sanctions this genocide.