Estimate of the value of German national property
within the Czechoslovak Republic
A Memorandum concerning the national property left behind by the Sudeten Germans was submitted to the Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Ehard by the Association for the Protection of Sudeten German Interests in 1947. This Memorandum was assembled by experts at the request of the Bavarian State Chancellery, of the State Refugee Organization and of the German Office for Peace Problems in Stuttgart.
This Memorandum is mainly based on Czechoslovak sources (Statistical Annual Chronicle of the Czechoslovak Republic, Prague, 1938) and on the statistical data contained in German and Czech economic publications, as well as on balances and bases for a valuation, calculated by experts from the various economic branches.
Two different dates have been taken as basis for its elaboration, namely September 30th, 1938, that is one day before the transfer of Sudeten German territories to the German Reich, and May 8th, 1945, the day of Germany's capitulation. The increase in national property value occurring between these two dates may be traced back in the first place to the higher valuation of landed property in Germany, in the second place to the intensification of production and increased output as a result of higher wages.
It was calculated for both dates as follows:
These figures are rendered all the more significant by the comparison of the Sudeten German population with the total population of the Czechoslovak Republic.
According to the census of 1930 there were 3.23 million Sudeten Germans among the 14,729,586 residents in Czechoslovakia (=22.3%). They were therefore not a "minority", but an integral part of the population in Czechoslovakia. In the provinces Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which were the only ones of economic importance, there were 3.08 million Germans to 7.59 million Czechs, the Germans thus representing more than one third of the entire population of these provinces. It is also of vital significance that in the Czechoslovak economy the Sudeten Germans had a higher percentage of persons active in industry. Of every 100 Germans practicing a profession, 54 persons were active in industry and commerce. This is a higher percentage than in any other country in the world (the comparative figures are: 49 in Scotland, 48 in England and Wales, 54 in Switzerland, 48 in Belgium and 40 in Germany proper). According to the figures given by the Czech economist Hajda, published in the journal Prítomnost in 1927, the Germans controlled 66% of the Czechoslovak coal-mining, 80% of the lignite-mining, 70% of the foundries and steel works, 90% of the textile-machinery factories, 80% of the cement works, 90% of the industry of musical instruments, 80% of the artificial silk industry, 100% of the silk factories, 100% of the trimmings industry, 70% of the chemical industry, 90% of the porcelain factories, 85% of the glass works and 89% of the entire textile industry.
In land, the losses of the Sudeten Germans amounted to 1,150,000 hectares of forest (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) and 1,650,000 hectares of farm land. The amount of the social product for which the Sudeten Germans were responsible may be deduced from these figures.
A closer examination of the basic figures of Sudeten German national property gives the following detailed valuations in the various branches of the economy.
This break-down does not take into consideration the following:
· a considerable part of the German share of the property of the Czechoslovak Government and the provincial administrations;
· a considerable part of the mineral wealth which, for want of adequate statistical data, could only be estimated in part;
· collections of works of art, libraries and other cultural assets;
· the paper currency in circulation;
· the value of the metal currency and also the cover of the bank-notes, consisting of gold and foreign currency;
· the labor output of those Sudeten Germans who had been forced to work without payment in pits, internment camps, for Czech contractors and Czech farmers, likely amounting to several billion Czech crowns.
The figures given above therefore represent a minimum and not a maximum value. They are a mere inventory of the properties available and do not take into account incalculable values of tradition, of a culture which is hundreds of years old, of education, of foreign relations, of the world-wide reputation of firms or business branches (e.g. the spas of Karlsbad, Franzensbad, Marienbad), of the so-called "free property" and all those creative powers which set in motion the production of the goods listed above. They do not take into account the great loss of those expellees who, unable to practice their professions, will be subjected to a diminution of their productive capacity.
The Memorandum is of importance for the purposes of Germany's
"Lastenausgleich" (a partial compensation for the German refugees
forcibly expelled from the Eastern countries, as laid down in the Potsdam
Agreement) as well as in relation to the coming negotiations for a peace treaty.
The third law concerning the new order of monetary matters (finances) No. 63,
§ 29 expressly refers to the necessity that the "Lastenausgleich",
carried out by German authorities, should take into consideration "especially
losses which had been caused by Law No. 5 of the Allied Control Commission
and by drawings on behalf of reparations". Undoubtedly this interpretation would
include the national property of those Germans who had been expelled from their
former homeland, and who have paid in advance a considerable part of the
German war reparations by surrendering their entire property.
Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Survivors speak out