The Reichsgau Sudetenland ( Czech Říšská župa Sudety ) or abbreviated Sudetengau ( Czech Sudetská župa ) was formed from most of the areas of Czechoslovakia incorporated in 1938 and existed in the German Empire from 1939 to 1945. The administration of the territory was headed by the Reichsstatthalter Konrad Henlein . The Reichsgau Sudetenland was divided into the administrative districts of Eger , Aussig and Troppau and covered 22,608 km² in October 1938 and 29,140 km² in December of the same year as a result of further area corrections.
Area and population
On May 17, 1939, the Reichsgau Sudetenland covered an area of 22,587 km² and, according to the census, had 2,945,261 inhabitants.
The Sudeten German territory of Czechoslovakia was awarded to the German Reich by the states participating in the conference as a result of the British-French appeasement policy against the will of the Prague government in the Munich Agreement of 1938 . From October 1 to October 10, 1938 around 24 divisions of the Wehrmacht occupied the areas of Czechoslovakia bordering Germany and the former Austria. The new borders of the German Reich were not drawn according to the real or alleged population composition of the annexed areas, but according to economic and strategic aspects. The specific territorial definition was made by the “Berlin Committee”, in which the foreign ministers of the signatory states Germany, France , Great Britain and Italy were represented. The result was announced in the German-Czechoslovak border agreement of November 21, 1938. With these areas, Czechoslovakia lost a third of its population, its main industrial facilities and all of its border defense systems .
Immediately after the German invasion, the army received executive power . The five Army Group Commands involved initially deployed chiefs of the civil administrations (CdZ) until on October 1, 1938 Konrad Henlein was appointed " Reich Commissioner for Sudeten Germany". The CdZ organizations were poorly planned and did not prove themselves. They were faced with a power struggle between individual imperial authorities and had to be asked to stay in office for an additional week because Henlein's civil administration was not yet operational. Henlein was able to easily remove the influence of the military commanders through his direct access to Adolf Hitler . On October 20, 1938 the executive power of the army ended and Henlein took over the administration as Reich Commissioner.
From the end of October 1938 until the end of the Second World War in May 1945 , Henlein was head of the Reichsgau Sudetenland. Deputy Gauleiter were Karl Hermann Frank (October 30, 1938 to March 15, 1939), Fritz Köllner (March 25, 1939 to March 3, 1940), Richard Donnevert (March 12, 1940 to August 15, 1943) and from autumn 1943 Hermann Neuburg was managing director until the end of the war .
The Czech population in January 1938 was around 319,000. In October 1938 193,793 Czechs (= 60.75%) took German citizenship in order to be able to remain in their homeland. The Czechs, who no longer wanted to live under German rule, were resettled to the Czech-Slovak Republic ( Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia from March 1939 ). Both the German state and many German private individuals appropriated their property after compensation payments had been made. However, the Germans only paid a minimum amount to those affected.
Immediately after the " smashing of the rest of the Czech Republic ", § 1 of the law on the structure of the Sudeten German territories of March 25, 1939 established the formation of the Reichsgau Sudetenland on April 15, 1939. Its administrative structure was regulated by the law on the structure of the administration in the Reichsgau Sudetenland (Sudetengaugesetz) of April 15, 1939, which came into force on May 1, 1939. Then the new Reichsgau Sudetenland was formed from the majority of the Sudeten German areas. Smaller border sections in the northeast were assigned to the Prussian province of Silesia (the " Hultschiner Ländchen " was given to the district of Ratibor in the administrative district of Opole ), parts of the south-west and south were assigned to the administrative district of Lower Bavaria - Upper Palatinate of Bavaria and the Reichsgauen of Upper Danube and Lower Danube . The "Sudetengaugesetz" eliminated the existing structure of the administration.
The seat of office became the North Bohemian Reichenberg (Liberec), at the same time the seat of the governor. Shortly thereafter, the city was given the name “Gauhauptstadt”. The previous Reich Commissioner Konrad Henlein was appointed Reich Governor and Gauleiter in Reichenberg.
After the “Sudetengaugesetz” laid the foundations for the new authorities, the previous associations were broken up. Nazi organizations recorded the population. The Sudeten German Party (SdP) was absorbed into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP). All other parties were banned.
In May 1945 the Red Army and the US Army took control of the rest of the territory of the Czech Republic, including the Sudetenland, that had not yet been conquered by the anti-Hitler coalition . In the period that followed, a new Czechoslovak government took over the administration and began to expel the German population.
coat of arms
On September 9, 1940, the Reich Ministry of the Interior awarded the Reichsgau Sudetenland a coat of arms, which was reminiscent of the historical parts of the Gau area and was also intended to help justify the alleged "reunification" of these parts of the Bohemian countries with the (Greater) German Reich . This coat of arms is described as follows:
- “Half-split and divided; at the top in red a black, silver-armored eagle, at the top at the back split by silver and black and covered with a red or silver-armored eagle, the right half of which is black with a silver crescent clasp and the left half of silver and red; a silver slanting grille in red below. "
The ( heraldic ) upper right field showed the Premyslid eagle coat of arms , which was used by the Bohemian dukes and first kings until the middle of the 13th century , in a slightly different color . This symbol indicated the fiefdom of the Bohemian rulers from the Roman-German Empire. The (heraldic) upper left field contains (also with changes in the color scheme) the Silesian and Moravian eagles. The inclined grid in the lower field was a symbol of the former imperial city of Eger .
The Sudetenland was divided into the three administrative districts of Aussig , Eger and Troppau with the corresponding number of urban and rural districts. While the boundaries of the administrative districts were completely redefined, the boundaries of the districts remained essentially the same as those of the earlier Czechoslovak political districts.
The city of Karlovy Vary was designated the provisional seat of the Eger administrative district . Incidentally, the seats of the other districts were in Aussig and Troppau.
In general, the official German-language names from the time of the first Czechoslovak Republic continued to apply. Renaming of locations only took place in a few exceptional cases. For example, the municipality of Dobrzan was given the new name Wiesengrund in 1939 .
Tabular overview (May 1939)
|designation||District name||Area in km²||Population
(May 17, 1939)
|district||Ratibor plus Hultschiner Ländchen||316.76||52,967|
|Reg.-Bez.||Lower Bavaria and Upper Palatinate||1,675.46||90,332|
|district||Bruck an der Leitha||35.03||16,526|
|district||Waidhofen an der Thaya||273.53||10,445|
|district||Krummau on the Vltava||839.67||49,392|
|Sudeten German areas||28,995.92||3,408,449|
|Source: Statistics of the German Empire , Volume 552, Issue 1|
- Volker Zimmermann: The Sudeten Germans in the Nazi state. Politics and mood of the population in the Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938–1945) (= publications by the Institute for Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe. Volume 16 / Publications by the German-Czech and German-Slovak Commission of Historians. Volume 9). Klartext, Essen 1999 ( urn : nbn: de: bvb: 12-bsb00055195-9 ).
- Ralf Gebel: Home to the Reich. Konrad Henlein and the Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938–1945 (= publications of the Collegium Carolinum. Volume 83). 2nd edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-486-56468-4 ( urn : nbn: de: bvb: 12-bsb00092896-5 ).
- Udo Benzenhöfer , Thomas Oelschläger, Dietmar Schulze, Michal Šimůnek: “Child Euthanasia” and “Youth Euthanasia” in the Reichsgau Sudetenland and in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (= studies on the history of medicine under National Socialism. Volume 5). GWAB, Wetzlar 2006, ISBN 978-3-9808830-8-5 .
- Jörg Osterloh: National Socialist persecution of Jews in the Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938–1945 (= publications of the Collegium Carolinum. Volume 105). Oldenbourg, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-486-57980-0 ( urn : nbn: de: bvb: 12-bsb00092914-7 ).
- Freia Anders: Criminal Justice in the Sudetengau 1938–1945 (= publications of the Collegium Carolinum. Volume 112). Oldenbourg, Munich 2008 ( urn : nbn: de: bvb: 12-bsb00092918-9 ).
- Reichsgau Sudetenland Territorial history 1939–1945
- Administrative history ( Memento from January 13, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
- Daniel-Erasmus Khan , The German State Borders , p. 97 .
- Joachim Lilla : Overview of the NSDAP Gaue, the Gauleiter and the Deputy Gauleiter between 1933 and 1945 at http://www.zukunft-brauch-erinnerung.de/
- this regard: Matthias Lichter, Senior Councilor in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, wrote in his work The Citizenship Law in the Greater German Reich ( http://d-nb.info/574892435 ) on § 2 of the treaty between the German Reich in his work published in 1943 by Carl Heymanns Verlag Berlin and the Czechoslovak Republic on citizenship and options issues of November 20, 1938 ( RGBl. II p. 896), regarding the possibility of mutual population exchange granted until July 10, 1939 at the request of the other government: March 1939 it was additionally agreed between the Reich government and the then Czechoslovak government that - subject to a different agreement - both sides would not apply § 2 for the time being. "
- Rolf Jehke: Stadtkreis Reichenberg
- Section 2, Paragraph 1 of the Act on the Structure of the Administration in the Reichsgau Sudetenland of April 14, 1939 .
- Description and illustration on Karl Heinz Prehm's private website, accessed in December 2009.