The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Tomáš Zdechovský, MEP (EPP, KDU-?SL).

The chairman of Czech Christian democrats Pavel B?lobrádek took part in the Sudetenland Congress last weekend and I am very grateful to him for this gesture. Nobody in his right mind will defend Nazi atrocities, such as the burning of Lidice, the repression of the Heydrichiad and others. As a result, the German population was expelled from the Czech border, which must be understood precisely in the context of the time.

On the other hand, the end of World War II has passed 72 years ago and we should appreciate the Sudetenlandean expatriate association’s gesture, which has completely renounced property claims in the Czech Republic. We have been living with the Germans for centuries in the neighbourhood and this neighbourhood has been beneficial for most of the time. That must be recognised. In the Middle Ages the Germans established cities and imported a more advanced Western culture for example.

It is good, therefore, to talk with each other and to learn what connects us, rather than a constant remembrance of old mistakes and the opening of old wounds. The quarrels, which have done much damage in the past, are of no benefit. Even former German President Christian Wulff has already made clear that in the past, the Germans have done much more harm to the Czechs than the other way around. I second that.

I would also like to point out that the Sudeten German Compatriot Association is not a single monolith, but that there are people of different opinions, Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, etc. Many German Christians, who lived before World War II in the territory of Czechoslovakia, became victims of Nazi terror, too. Among them were the bookseller Eduard Schlusche, priest Karl Schrammel or the sister Mary Helene Kafka, who paid for their own resistance against fascism with their lives. However, there were also Czechs, who actively collaborated with the Nazis. We can mention the protectorate minister of education and National Enlightenment Emanuel Moravec for example.Nothing is black and white. It would be too somplistic to paint us Czechs as good and worthy and the Germans as damaging and evil.

Czech-German relations are now at a very good level. Both on the political level and amongst the populations of both countries. There are many cases where Sudeten Germans are coming to their former homes and are making friends with current residents. I think we need to talk with our former German countrymen. This does not mean, of course, that we must agree with them, but hate is not a solution. That is why I am glad that Pavel B?lobrádek will go to the Sudetenland Congress.

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