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German language areas (light red) in Austria-Hungary ( Distribution of Races in Austria-Hungary , in: The Historical Atlas , by William R. Shepherd , 1911) - supplemented by borders from 1918 and 1919
Excerpt from the “Peoples Map of Austria-Hungary”, Andrées Weltatlas from 1880, ›Germanic‹ red, ›Slaven‹ green

Sudetenland or Sudetengebiet (in the Czech Republic today mostly as Pohraničí - " border area " - or simply as Sudety - "Sudeten") is an auxiliary term used mainly after 1918 for a heterogeneous, non-contiguous area along the borders of what was then Czechoslovakia to Germany as well Austria , in which mainly Germans lived according to language, culture and self-identification (see German Bohemia and German Moravians ).

Explanation of terms

The mountain range of the Sudeten , the northern border mountains of the Austrian countries of Bohemia , Moravia and Sudeten Silesia to German Saxony and Silesia, gave its name to the topographical name "Sudetenland" in the 19th century . This definition of the term was also followed by the naming of the Sudetenland province , which was founded on October 29, 1918 by German-speaking representatives from the region in accordance with the peoples' right to self-determination and the 14-point program (the Austrian province of Sudetenland was proclaimed one day later), with the aim of joining German Austria and the German Reich in order to evade foreign control by the new Czechoslovak state . Its troops and the Paris suburb treaties made the Sudetenland part of Czechoslovakia.

The term has been used as a term for the German-populated areas of Bohemia and Moravia since the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic ; the term " Sudeten Germans " is derived from this for the former German-speaking residents of the Sudetenland, the German Bohemians and German Moravians .


The Sudetenland are not identical to the Sudetenland, so they are based on the Sudeti montes of antiquity, which - perhaps erroneously - were identified with the area from the Jizera Mountains to the Eagle Mountains . The term encompassed the entirety of the historical countries Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia. This meaning of Sudetenland can be found, for example, until 2000 in the former name of the Historical Commission for the Bohemian Lands (HKBL), which was founded in 1954 as the Historical Commission of the Sudetenland and whose name at the time, on the occasion of an amendment to the statutes in 1981, was used to prevent misinterpretation "Sudetenland in the sense of the entirety of the Bohemian countries" was added to the declaration deemed necessary.

The term related to ethnicity

"Sudetenland" gradually developed from 1918 onwards to the collective name for the areas of Bohemia , Moravia and Czech Silesia , in which residents of German nationality , descent and / or mother tongue formed a majority (own name: German Bohemia , German Moravians , later named Sudeten Germans ). This also applied to areas that were far from the Sudeten mountain range.

Province of German Bohemia

See: Province of German Bohemia

Sudetenland Province

The Germans in the northern outskirts of Austrian Silesia , North Moravia and Northeast Bohemia proclaimed the German-Austrian province of Sudetenland in October 1918 , which was much smaller than the area later designated by the same term. This "Province of Sudetenland" declared in November 1918, at the same time as the newly formed provinces German Bohemia, German South Bohemia and German South Moravia, through their deputies elected to the Imperial Council of Austria in 1911 in the Provisional National Assembly for German Austria, their accession to the Republic of German Austria . (The Germans in South Bohemia and South Moravia wanted to join the neighboring federal states of Upper Austria and Lower Austria .) The desire for self-determination could not be enforced against the victorious powers of World War I : While the German war returnees disarmed the Austro-Hungarian army, the Czechs founded and claimed the army of their new state the historical borders of the crown lands of Bohemia , Moravia and Austrian Silesia, the entire area of ​​which was to include the Czech part of Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovakian sovereignty was actually enforced in November and December 1918 and confirmed on September 10, 1919 by the Treaty of Saint-Germain .

Reichsgau Sudetenland

Reichsgaue around 1941
Reichsgau Sudetenland

In the northern largest part of the Czech peripheral areas incorporated on October 1 and 2, 1938 according to the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, the Reichsgau Sudetenland with the capital Reichenberg was created by law of April 14, 1939 . It essentially consisted of the former province of Sudetenland and the former province of German Bohemia and until the end of World War II on May 8, 1945.


The area has the same history as Bohemia and Moravia and Silesia . The so-called Sudetenland as a whole never represented a separate administrative unit until 1939. However, in November and December 1918, a province of this name existed for a few weeks, which included Northern Moravia and Sudeten Silesia. The term “Sudetenland” as a term for German (speaking) areas also emerged only at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. From the middle of the 19th century, however, the Bohemian countries as a whole were occasionally referred to as "Sudetenlanders", for example in the formulation the Germans of the Sudetenlanders .

History until 1918

Settled by the Celts at the beginning of traditional history (see ancient historiographers ), in the 1st century AD the Germanic Marcomanni inhabited and ruled Bohemia as a tribal union under a king. They traded with the Romans, but repeatedly rejected their efforts to expand into their area ( Marbod ). When Germanic peoples from all over Central Europe took over more and more power and land in the Roman Empire during the Great Migration , many Germanic peoples also left Bohemia. In the 6th century the land was settled by Slavs. After its founding legend, Bohemia began to be conquered under the Czech forefather on Mount Říp . They are said to have come from across the Tatras , less likely to come from Croatia . The settlement archeology today unanimously assumes that when the first Slavs arrived, the area was still inhabited by Germanic people. According to the excavation finds, both groups lived peacefully side by side for many centuries after the arrival of the Slavs.

Since the 12th century, Bohemia and Moravia , politically united under the Bohemian Crown, were part of the Holy Roman Empire , but more independent than most of the imperial estates (Bohemia was the only kingdom besides the three kings).

In the 12th and 13th centuries, waves of German immigrants came to the two countries. Their immigration was concentrated on the outskirts and on the cities that were often founded with immigration assistance or by immigrants. They brought with them the urban culture that was developed in Germany at the time, with all of its characteristics such as guilds, handicrafts and, above all, German city ​​law of various forms. However, some of the later German-speaking areas were mostly populated by Czechs until the Thirty Years War . After the depopulation through the acts of war and the subsequent epidemics (such as the plague ) and famines, German new settlers were recruited according to plan. Medieval or early modern inscriptions on tombs or on buildings are therefore mostly in Czech or Latin in these areas, as are the old documents in the city archives. The area around the former Free Imperial City of Eger is a special case here . The town and the surrounding area were pledged to Bohemia in 1322, but the pledge was never redeemed, so that in 1806 the area finally became part of the Kingdom of Bohemia .

Until 1806, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia belonged to the Holy Roman Empire , from 1804 to the Austrian Empire . When this became Austria-Hungary through the Austro-Hungarian settlement of 1867 , Bohemia, Moravia and Austro-Silesia belonged to the western half of the empire, Cisleithanien , the kk Austria (kk =  imperial-royal ; the word royal now referred to the Bohemian crown ). Since 1848, however, there were already considerations about the Czech-Austrian compromise , which was unsuccessfully pursued until the First World War.

The Germans of these three crown lands , there themselves a minority, valued the factual predominance of Germans in old Austria . The Czechs fundamentally denied that the Reichsrat had jurisdiction over the Bohemian Lands and therefore often persisted in the multinational parliament in Vienna with a policy of obstruction. The attempt by the Imperial and Royal Prime Minister Kasimir Felix Badeni to oblige the administrative authorities of the Bohemian states to be bilingual as a matter of principle met with furious opposition from many Germans in old Austria (not just the German officials who had to learn Czech) and led to riots in Vienna. It was therefore already clear during the First World War that the Czechs would found their own state after the end of the war; they said this quite openly in the Reichsrat in 1917.

The years 1918/1919

When the Danube Monarchy was dissolved, a German-Austrian National Assembly was formed on October 21, with the participation of the German Reichsrat members of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia, and on October 30, a provisional constitution was passed for the newly founded state of German Austria , which became a republic on November 12, 1918 proclaimed (later Republic of Austria ). On October 28th, Czechoslovakia had already been proclaimed. The predominantly German-speaking border areas of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia were claimed by both states at the same time. The occupation of these areas by Czech troops , especially from the end of November 1918, prevented the full establishment of the new provinces of German Bohemia and Sudetenland (= North Moravia and Sudeten Silesia). In December the regional governments went into exile .

The Germans of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia (later collectively referred to as Sudeten Germans ) had planned to unite in four provinces :

  1. German Bohemia (Governor Raphael Pacher , then Rudolf Lodgman von Auen )
  2. Böhmerwaldgau (should come to Upper Austria )
  3. German South Moravia (should come to Lower Austria )
  4. Sudetenland

In an interview with the then leading French daily Le Matin on January 10, 1919, the founding president of the ČSR, Masaryk , stated :

“Our historical boundaries pretty much coincide with ethnographic boundaries. Only the north and west edges of the Bohemian quadrangle have a German majority as a result of the strong immigration during the last century. A certain modus vivendi will perhaps be created for these foreigners , and if they prove to be loyal citizens, it is even possible that our Parliament [...] will grant them some kind of autonomy. In addition, I am convinced that a very rapid de-Germanization of these areas will take place. "

On February 16, 1919, the elections for the constituent national assembly took place in German Austria . The Germans of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia were prevented by the Czechs from holding these elections in their settlement areas. On March 4, 1919 , the constituent national assembly met for its first session in Vienna. On this occasion, demonstrations for the right to self-determination under international law and belonging to German Austria took place in many places in the German settlement area . 54 Germans and two Czechs were shot dead by Czech gendarmes. On March 5, 1919, Karl Renner calculated in the National Assembly that 3.5 million Germans had been denied the right to self-determination.

The Treaty of Saint Germain in September 1919 finally confirmed Czechoslovakia in its sovereignty over the disputed areas. The victorious powers had decided not to divide up the historical territory of the Bohemian crown lands . The mountains of the "Bohemian Quadrangle" formed a militarily useful obstacle against possible attacks by the German Empire and Austria, which the victors blamed for the First World War. Contrary to US President Wilson's 14-point program , a referendum (such as in Upper Silesia) was not planned.

At that time only around 82,000 Czechs lived in what would later become the Sudetenland. (In the period between 1920 and 1935, around 237,000 Czechs still settled in the Sudetenland, originally from the Czech-Slovak border regions , from Poland and Hungary .)

From 1919 until the Munich Agreement

Soldiers of the Czechoslovak Army in front of the "Gasthof Wiesner" in Schönlinde (Krásná Lípa) , September 1938

In the new multi-ethnic state of Czechoslovakia, all peoples had their own political parties , representation in parliament, their own school system, and members of parliament gave their lectures in their respective mother tongue. The Sudeten Germans (German Bohemians) formed the second largest population group in the First Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR) after the Czechs and before the Slovaks . Especially to make the majority of the state people appear larger, the Czechs and Slovaks were considered to be one people, although the Slovak language was promoted. The German population, like the Hungarians , Poles and Ruthenians , were granted minority rights, but no regional autonomy .

At times the tensions eased and in two elections in the 1920s the majority of German citizens of Czechoslovakia voted for parties that supported integration. Many Sudeten Germans still refused to belong to Czechoslovakia. This attitude also dominated in numerous city councils (cf. memorial plaque at the Eger spring ).

On October 1, 1933, the Sudeten German Party (SdP) was founded around Konrad Henlein . Initially, the party only advocated greater autonomy for the Sudetenland, based on contractual assurances from Czechoslovakia. After consultation with Adolf Hitler , the party later increasingly oriented itself towards Hitler and the National Socialists ( NSDAP ) in the neighboring German Reich .

“The landslide electoral victories of Konrad Henlein's“ Sudeten German Party ”in 1935/36 made it clear that seventy to eighty percent of the population of the Sudeten area were under their influence. [...] the population of the border areas [...] became more and more bitter because of the Prague government's refusal to give the emergency areas the necessary economic aid and to employ the German population according to their strength in the railways, post offices and other government services, and therefore the Henlein propaganda more open-minded. "

In November 1937, shielded from the public, Hitler explained to the commanders-in-chief of the Wehrmacht that the annexation of Austria and the overthrow of Czechoslovakia were the next steps on the way to living in the east . In April 1938, Hitler reaffirmed his plan to the Wehrmacht to "destroy Czechoslovakia in the foreseeable future by means of a military action". The SdP was a willing partner on this path to the “solution to the German spatial issue” that he had proclaimed. Henlein was commissioned to confront the Czechoslovak government with maximum demands by the Sudeten Germans in order to fuel the domestic Sudeten crisis .

Under increasing pressure, Czechoslovakia announced its mobilization in May 1938, with reference to knowledge of an imminent German attack . The allies France and England were forced to act and expressed their support. Germany, for its part, accelerated the crisis and put the armed forces in readiness.

“[...] two weeks before Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier met in Munich, Henlein turned his back on his state and the democratic legal system. On September 14, 1938, he broke off his negotiations with the Prague government and arranged for his party leadership to cross the border to Bavaria [...] On behalf of the Sudeten Germans, he declared: “We want to go home to the Reich!” At the same time, he [...] formed the Sudeten German Freikorps . Its members [...] undertook about 300 "actions" from Germany in Czechoslovakia in the two weeks before the Munich Agreement: 110 people are said to have lost their lives. "

“In September 1938, Hitler did not succeed in seizing the Sudeten area by means of a putsch by his shock troops. Such an action [...] failed due to the resistance of the Sudeten German opponents of Hitler, the Czech minority and the state executive. Most importantly, the putsch did not find mass support from the German population. "

The German Social Democratic Labor Party in the Czechoslovak Republic issued an appeal to its compatriots in September 1938, drawn up by its chairman Wenzel Jaksch :

“Fellow citizens! All or nothing! [...] In a violent decision a world rigid with arms will rise up again against the German people. The Sudeten Germans will be the first to be killed. Their homeland would be destroyed in the clash of world forces, their future wiped out. [...] Consider it in this fateful hour. [...] "

The prediction of ruin by war can be described as prophetic for the Sudetenland in the light of later events.

On September 21, 1938, Czechoslovakia then issued a declaration of consent to the cession of the Sudeten German territories.

The Munich Agreement and "dealing with the rest of the Czech Republic"

Adolf Hitler during a parade on October 4, 1938 in Graslitz ( Kraslice ) on the occasion of the annexation of the Sudetenland
Residents of Eger ( Cheb ) showing the Hitler salute after the Anschluss

With the Munich Agreement concluded under the mediation of Benito Mussolini , the British government under Neville Chamberlain and the government of the French Republic under the leadership of Édouard Daladier prevented the armed conflict that Hitler was actually striving for, but not his goal. The Czechoslovak government of President Beneš was not involved in the negotiations. After the agreement was concluded on September 30, 1938, the incorporation of the Sudetenland was completed on the following days, October 1 to 10, 1938. The incorporated or "connected" area had 3.63 million inhabitants, of which about 2.9 million Germans and 0.7 million Czechs.

“When the Western powers and the Prague government finally surrendered, tens of thousands of German anti-fascists fled to the interior of Bohemia and Moravia to continue the fight from there. Most were, however, driven back by the authorities and thus delivered to the Nazi terror. "

On April 14, 1939, the Reichsgau Sudetenland was created from most of the Sudeten German areas with 2.94 million inhabitants in 3,167 municipalities . The southern parts with 543 communities and about 690,000 inhabitants were added to the Gau Bayerische Ostmark in Bavaria and the Reichsgauen Oberdonau (Upper Austria) and Niederdonau (Lower Austria); The municipalities of Engerau and Theben near Pressburg / Slovakia also came to the Reichsgau Niederdonau . In the east, the 38 municipalities of the Hultschiner Ländchen with 52,967 inhabitants were subordinated to the Ratibor district in the Prussian province of Upper Silesia .

One month before the constitution of the Reichsgau Sudetenland on March 15, 1939, the " remaining Czech Republic " was occupied and the day after the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was established. The border between the Protectorate and the Sudetenland was only allowed to be crossed with state approval, so-called passage certificates; however, the customs border to the Protectorate was lifted on September 18, 1940.

Collective naturalization of the German people

In the 1910 census, 3,489,711 Austrian nationals present in Bohemia, Moravia and Austria-Silesia stated German as the colloquial language .

The German nationals expropriated and expelled in 1945/46 on the basis of the so-called Beneš decrees in the 3710 municipalities of the Czech Republic, ceded to the German Reich in accordance with the Munich Agreement in 1938, acquired German citizenship in accordance with the treaty between the German Reich and the Czechoslovak Republic on citizenship and option questions of November 20, 1938 ( RGBl. II p. 896) with effect from October 10, 1938, the members of the German people in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, established in violation of international law in 1939, in accordance with the ordinance on the acquisition of German citizenship by former Czechoslovak citizens of German ethnicity of April 20, 1939 (RGBl. I p. 815) in conjunction with the ordinance regulating citizenship issues vis-à-vis the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia of June 6, 1941 (RGBl. I p. 308) with effect from March 16, 1939.

The legal validity of the collective naturalization was controversial after the Second World War. Their legal assessment by the Federal Constitutional Court of May 28, 1952 ( BVerfGE 1, 322 ) led to the law regulating questions of nationality of February 22, 1955 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 65 ). Section 1 of this law finally stated that the granting of German citizenship to members of the German people and the like through collective naturalization. a. are legally effective in the Sudeten areas and the former Reich Protectorate, unless the persons concerned have expressly rejected German citizenship or are still rejecting it.

Interpretations and reactions

Removal of the Czech place name Šumperk (Mährisch Schönberg), October 1938

Through the Munich Agreement (mostly referred to by the Czech side as "Munich Diktat", Czech .: Mnichovský diktát , or "Munich Treason", Czech .: Mnichovská zrada ) of September 29, 1938, the German population of the Sudetenland saw their disintegration of Austria- Hungary's right to self-determination, which was sought after in 1918 but was prevented by the Treaty of St. Germain , was redeemed twenty years late. (This is how the former State Chancellor Karl Renner - he came from South Moravia - argued in March 1938 when he welcomed the " Anschluss " to the German Reich.) A right to self-determination that, at the time of its realization, also led to the Sudetenland fell into the hands of the National Socialists. Regardless of this, the annexation of the predominantly German-populated peripheral areas of Bohemia to the German Empire as Reichsgau Sudetenland was accompanied by the approval of the vast majority of the population. The former Czech Prime Minister Miloš Zeman caused a political uproar in 2002 when he went so far as to speak of the Fifth Column of the Third Reich in connection with the Sudeten Germans.

A few months after the conclusion of the Munich Agreement, the former President Edvard Beneš , who had since resigned and resided in London, developed initial ideas aimed at regaining the areas that were forcibly ceded and expelling the German population living there.

Second World War

Immediately after the start of the Second World War , the former Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš founded the Czechoslovak National Committee, which was recognized by both the British and French governments. After the German victory over France in June 1940, the British recognized Beneš's group as the Provisional Czechoslovak Government and Beneš as President. In this position, Beneš increased his efforts towards the complete re-establishment of Czechoslovakia including the Sudetenland. On June 9, 1942, the Soviet Union was the first state to accept that the post-war borders of Czechoslovakia should correspond to the state before the Munich Agreement and the territorial integrity of the First Czechoslovak Republic should be restored. A few weeks later, the British War Cabinet decided to repeal the Munich Agreement . It stated that "in the final determination of the Czechoslovak borders [...] it would not be influenced by any changes made in 1938 or after". On September 29, 1942, General de Gaulle, representing Free France , agreed to this view. Together with the decision to repeal the Munich Agreement, the British cabinet declared its approval "of the general principle of transferring German minorities in Central and Eastern Europe to Germany after the war, where this appears necessary and desirable". From March 1943, the American President Roosevelt also declared his approval of transfers; Beneš received Stalin's consent in December 1943. Beneš also formulated the implementation of concrete measures as early as 1943 for the most part. These are the laws and ordinances later known as the Beneš decrees .


Coat of arms of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft

After the end of the Second World War, work began on putting the program developed and prepared in exile in London into practice. Beneš promulgated the decrees that ordered the expropriation and disenfranchisement of the Sudeten Germans and Hungarians (the disenfranchisement of the Hungarians was lifted in 1948). Germans who could not prove their anti-fascist sentiments beyond doubt were marked with an "N" (for "Němec" = German) and were forcibly resettled . Others were initially taken to labor camps, e.g. B. to work in coal pits, graduation towers and on farms free of charge and with minimal food. With regard to the Hungarians, only a partial population exchange was carried out against Slovaks from Hungary. Even Germans with demonstrably anti-fascist sentiments were often forced to “voluntarily” leave the country.

A total of three million of the just over 3.2 million Sudeten Germans were expelled. The number of Sudeten German fatalities fluctuates between 30,000 and 240,000 depending on the investigation, with the Federal Archives in 1974 reckoning with 60–70,000 deaths. According to various population balances, the number of Sudeten Germans fell by over 200,000 between the beginning of May 1945 and the two censuses in the Federal Republic and the GDR from August and September 1950.

The former Sudeten German, later Austrian communist Leopold Grünwald commented:

“The expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia was justified with an alleged collective guilt [...] [...] About the many facts that refute this legend - the anti-fascist resistance in the occupied Sudeten area and in the German-speaking areas of Slovakia during the war (1942 –1945) - nothing was known in the world. In addition, the leaders of the compatriots , who were still often arrested in the German national mentality, showed no interest in saving their honor through the deeds and victims of the "patriotic journeymen", the German social democrats and communists. "

“The injustice of the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from their homeland appears particularly blatant in the light of the balance sheet of the anti-fascist struggle in the Sudeten area. This shows that the number of victims of resistance against the Nazi regime [...] in relation to the number of inhabitants in the Sudeten area was far greater than in Germany or Austria, for example. According to this relation, the extent of the resistance movement in the Sudeten area was higher than in other German-speaking countries. "

After the eviction

After the displacement of around three million Sudeten Germans, the term borderland became increasingly common in Czech usage , even if these areas were often relatively far from the border or deep inland, as was the case, for example, with some earlier language islands . The Bohemian and Moravian peripheral areas were affected by radical change after the war due to the displacement and influx of large numbers of new citizens. After the completion of the largest migratory movements, the population consisted of around one million newly settled Czechs from the Bohemian-Moravian interior, 600,000 Czechs who had already lived before the war, 200,000 so-called repatriates - from abroad (Ukraine, e.g. Volhynia- Czechs , Austria, Western Europe ) Immigrant Czechs -, 200,000 newly settled Slovaks, 200,000 remaining Germans (they were legitimized by the so-called Gottwald certificate), many of whom emigrated in the following years, and several thousand members of other nationalities such as Roma (some sources speak of several 100,000 settled Roma, see also the main article Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia ), Hungarians and Romanians . Thus, around 2.5 million people lived in the areas concerned, with some structurally stronger places experiencing very strong population growth, while other, more structurally weak places were shrinking or were not repopulated at all.

Most of the new citizens ended up in places with which they had no relation whatsoever. They were awarded the contract for the respective property that had previously been expropriated by Sudeten Germans or Hungarians free of charge through an award procedure carried out by the government among the Czech and Slovak population. Individuals forcibly took houses in the presence of the previous occupants. Furthermore, around 44,000 Hungarians were deported to the abandoned Sudetenland for labor service . After a year or two, Hungarians were allowed to return to southern Slovakia, which around 24,000 of them did. Many new citizens were seen by those in power as politically “unreliable” or “difficult to socialize”, while others were attracted by the prospect of a career jump or opportunities for social advancement. One of the goals of the communist government was, among other things, to be able to form a population in the areas that was “free” of earlier bourgeois traditions, taking appropriate ideological aspects into account.

The redistribution of the vacated real estate resulted in a considerable increase in prosperity for many Czechs “to compensate for injustices committed by the National Socialists”. To this day, this issue has caused tensions between the governments of Austria, Germany and Hungary on the one hand and the Czech government on the other. On February 27, 1992, a treaty on friendly cooperation was concluded between Czechoslovakia and Germany , also to defuse this point of conflict.

After the completion of the extensive migration process of the post-war period, the new society in the Czech border region consisted of over two thirds of new settlers on average, which resulted in a complete change in the ethnic , cultural and economic structure of the regions. A high fluctuation in the population has been observed to this day. In the first few years, the widespread and still politically instrumentalized view prevailed that life in the border area was a provisional arrangement, as a return of the Sudeten Germans had to be expected. Very many houses were never repopulated and either demolished or left to decay, especially if they were very close to the state border. Some places turned into weekend house settlements and were in restricted areas. After the opening of the border, there was (or still exists today) in the regions close to the border concerned an economy that was one-sidedly geared towards rather undemanding shopping and tank tourism , an occasionally strong red light and border crime, which is being dealt with increasingly successfully, and an above-average rate Unemployment .

Détente policy

Defusing tensions is also one of the most important goals of the joint German-Czech declaration on mutual relations and their future development from January 1997 . The Sudeten German organizations were not satisfied with this. Prime Minister Milos Zeman described the Sudeten Germans in 2002 as "Hitler's fifth column" and as the destroyers of Czechoslovak democracy.

Today, many Sudeten Germans meet once a year on Sudeten German Day . While in the beginning the injustice suffered was in the foreground, today the unifying European idea plays a bigger role.

Czech President Václav Klaus announced in October 2009 that his country would only sign the EU Reform Treaty of Lisbon if the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights for the Czech Republic were suspended. The reason for this are fears that displaced Sudeten Germans could file claims for restitution and compensation in international courts.

The most recent times have been marked by signs of relaxation between Czech dignitaries, institutions and cultural workers on the one hand and Sudeten German organizations and the Free State of Bavaria as the political representative of Sudeten German institutions on the other. Friendly contacts between private individuals had existed for a long time. In the past few years, Czech politicians have visited Sudeten German organizations, and various gestures of reconciliation have been exchanged. In the Czech Republic, cultural workers and associations such as Antikomplex are concerned with coming to terms with their shared history. There is also an increasing number of city and club partnerships.

On May 15, 2016, a Czech minister visited the Sudeten German Day for the first time. In Nuremberg in German language held and addressed to "Dear compatriots," Speak the Culture Minister Daniel Herman was important for the German-Czech relations.


Since today there are no longer any closed Sudeten German settlements and thus language areas, the Sudeten German dialects are acutely threatened with extinction. The various Sudeten German dialects can be divided into five dialect landscapes:

  • Middle Bavarian (South Moravia, Lower and Middle Bohemian Forest , beautiful stallion, the language islands of Budweis, Wischau , Brno and Olomouc)
  • Northern Bavarian or Upper Palatinate (Western Bohemia with the Egerland, Iglauer Sprachinsel)
  • East Franconian (smallest linguistic landscape; it ranges from NW Bohemia over the Ore Mountains to the Bamberg area and is also represented in the beautiful stallion and in central northern Moravia)
  • Upper Saxon (Northern Bohemia west of Tetschen (-Bodenbach) and as a mixed dialect with Northern Bavarian in the Iglauer Sprachinsel)
  • Lusatian - Silesian (Northern Bohemia east of Tetschen (-Bodenbach), Eastern Bohemia, Northern Moravia, Sudeten-Silesia )

The vocabulary is described in the Sudeten German dictionary . Linguistic geography is currently being researched by the Atlas of Historical German Dialects in the Territory of the Czech Republic .

Significant places

See also


  • Alfred Bohmann : The Sudeten Germanism in numbers. Edited by the Sudeten German Council , Munich 1959.
  • Wenzel Jaksch : Europe's way to Potsdam. Guilt and Fate in the Danube Region. 2nd edition, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1959.
  • Wilhelm Weizsäcker : Source book for the history of the Sudetenland. Edited by Collegium Carolinum , Verlag Robert Lerche, Munich 1960.
  • Documents on the Sudeten German Question 1916–1967. Edited by Ernst Nittner on behalf of the Ackermann community (initially under the title: Documents on the Sudeten German Question 1918–1959 , Munich 1959), Munich 1967.
  • Horst Glassl , Adolf Kunzmann (ed.): Political-cultural contributions to the Sudeten question (= series of publications by the Ackermann community, issue 20). Ackermann community, Munich 1965.
  • Emil Franzel : Sudeten German history. Mannheim 1978, ISBN 3-8083-1141-X .
  • Fritz Peter Habel: A political legend. The mass expulsion of Czechs from the Sudeten area in 1938/39. Langen Müller, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-7844-2589-5 .
  • Hermann Raschhofer, Otto Kimminich: The Sudeten Question. Your international law. Development from the First World War to the present. 2nd, supplementary edition, Olzog, Munich 1988.
  • Ernst Schremmer: Sudetenland in color: No beautiful country at that time (illustrated book). Adam Kraft Verlag, Mannheim 1985, ISBN 3-8083-1082-0 .
  • Rudolf Meixner: History of the Sudeten Germans. Helmut Preußler Verlag, Nuremberg 1988, ISBN 3-921332-97-4 .
  • Rudolf Hemmerle : Sudetenland Lexicon . Adam Kraft, Mannheim 1984 (special edition, Würzburg 2001, ISBN 3-88189-395-4 ).
  • Zdeněk Beneš, Václav Kural (ed.): Understanding history. The Development of German-Czech Relations in the Bohemian Lands 1848–1948. Gallery, Prague 2002, ISBN 80-86010-66-X ( PDF ( memento of January 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive )).
  • Zmizelé Sudety: The vanished Sudetenland . Antikomplex, Domažlice 2003 (4th edition 2004, ISBN 80-86125-7 3-4 ).
  • Steffen Prauser, Arfon Rees: The Expulsion of the 'German' Communities at the End of the Second World War. Department of History and Civilization. European University Institute, Florence (December 2004), p. 18.
  • Jörg Osterloh: National Socialist Persecution of Jews in the Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938–1945 . Oldenbourg, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-486-57980-0 .
  • Samuel Salzborn : Shared memories. German-Czech relations and the Sudeten German past (=  The Germans and Eastern Europe , Vol. 3). Lang, Frankfurt am Main [a. a.] 2008, ISBN 978-3-631-57308-2 .
  • Alena Wagnerovà: Heroes of Hope - The other Germans from the Sudetes 1935–1989. Structure, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-351-02657-8 .
  • Horst W. Gömpel, Marlene Gömpel: … arrived! Expelled from the Sudetenland, taken in Northern Hesse, united in the European Union. (With many eyewitness reports, photos and documents.) Helmut Preußler Verlag, Nuremberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-934679-54-2 .

Web links

Commons : Sudetenland  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Sudetenland  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sudetenland. In: Westermann Lexicon of Geography, Vol. IV, Sp. 450.
  2. Jiří Malíř, Ralph Melville: The "Sudeten German Historiography" 1918–1960. On the prehistory and founding of the Historical Commission of the Sudetenland (=  publications of the Collegium Carolinum ; vol. 114). Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58374-8 , p. IX .
  3. Quoted from Hans Lemberg ( Memento from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Collegium Carolinum , Munich 1993.
  4. Tobias Weger : “Volkstumskampf” without end? Sudeten German Organizations, 1945–1955 (=  The Germans and Eastern Europe. Studies and Sources. Volume 2). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-631-57104-0 , pp. 44-46 .
  5. Josef Seliger
  6. ^ Jörg K. Hoensch : History of the Czechoslovak Republic 1918–1978. 2nd edition, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1978, ISBN 3-17-004884-8 , p. 30.
  7. ^ Stenographic minutes of the Constituent National Assembly for German Austria, 2nd session, March 5, 1919, p. 26 (
  8. See also TG Masaryk: Das neue Europa . The Slavic point of view .
  9. ^ Leopold Grünwald: The Sudeten German Resistance Against Hitler (1938–1945). In: ders. (Ed.): Sudetendeutsche - victims and perpetrators. Violations of the right to self-determination and their consequences 1918–1982 . Junius, Vienna 1983, p. 41.
  10. ^ A b Eva Hahn , Hans Henning Hahn : "We want to go home to the Reich" - The Sudeten German Landsmannschaft and its unexplained tradition. In: Die Zeit , No. 8 of February 14, 2002, p. 90.
  11. ^ A b Leopold Grünwald: The Sudeten German Resistance Against Hitler (1938–1945). P. 42.
  12. ^ Facsimile in Leopold Grünwald: The Sudeten German Resistance Against Hitler (1938–1945). P. 43.
  13. Gregor Schöllgen , The Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany , 3rd edition 2004, p. 125 f. ; see. to Daniel-Erasmus Khan , the German state borders , Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2004, p 97, n. 19 .
  14. ^ Khan, The German State Borders , p. 90 ; it is also written of “incorporation”, for example ibid., p. 97 .
  15. ^ Jörg Osterloh: National Socialist Persecution of Jews in the Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938–1945. Oldenbourg, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-486-57980-0 , passim.
  16. More details from Walter Fr. Schleser , The citizenship of German people belonging to German law , in: The German citizenship , 4th edition, Verlag für Standesamtwesen, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-8019-5603-2 , pp. 75-106 .
  17. Jörg K. Hoensch: History of Czechoslovakia , Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-17-011725-4 , p. 119 f.
  18. Detlef Brandes : Purification of foreign elements. The expulsion and forced resettlement of Germans from Czechoslovakia. In: Stephen Aust, Stephan Burgdorff (ed.): The flight. About the expulsion from the east. Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-89331-533-0 , p. 126.
  19. Sudeten Germans and Czechs , approved booklet to the video Reg.No. 89905, 2001.
  20. ^ Leopold Grünwald: The Sudeten German Resistance Against Hitler (1938-1945) , p. 44 f.
  21. ^ Leopold Grünwald: The Sudeten German Resistance Against Hitler (1938–1945). P. 54.
  22. Pohraničí českých zemí na pokračování (Dosídlování v padesátých letech 20. století), Lubomír Slezák  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ).@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  23. Czech Republic - Eurosceptic plays for time , Focus Online , October 12, 2009.
  24. ^ Wording of the speech ( Memento from September 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ); see also the Ackermann community magazine Der Ackermann , issue 2/2016, p. 6, which qualifies Herman's appearance as "historical".