Prague (the capital of Czechoslovakia) – before the Nazi German invasion of 1938 – was renowned as a centre of multiculturalism, artistic creativity, political progressiveness and diverse counter-cultural attitudes. This tolerant integration of different languages and thought processes probably expressed everything that is good and forward-thinking about the Germanic and Slavic peoples on every level of philosophical understanding, artistic expression and humanistic interpretation. Indeed, the very term ‘Bohemian’ is often used to refer to this blend of dedicated artistic pursuit and generation of high-culture. Bohemia was the 17th century name used to refer to what is now the Western area of the modern Czech Republic. Artists associated with this care-free life situated in and around Prague include the Austrian (expressionist) artist Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), the composer Leos Janacek (1854-1928) and the novelist Franz Kafka (1883-1924), etc. Prague was the epicentre of a rarefied synthesis of the philosophical and artistic tendencies of both Western and Easten Europe. As the atmosphere was one of humanistic tolerance of difference, even religious variation and distinctiveness receded into the background of cultural concerns and religious intolerance – so prolific everywhere else – seldom raised its head.
Czechoslovakia was a problem for the Nazi Germans as its almost effervescent culture represented a ‘defiance’ and ‘contradiction’ to the intolerant racial theories concocted by Adolf Hitler. Czechoslovakia in general, and Prague in particular, demonstrated the exact opposite to the world-view as expressed (and advocated) through the Hitlerite ideology of Germany’s Nazism (i.e. ‘National Socialism’). Whereas Hitler’s racist thinking asserted that the Germanic people were (biologically) composed of a ‘superior’ race, with all other races (except for the Scandinavians) were the product of ‘inferior’ racial strains. Hitler believed that the culture of the superior race(s) supersedes and eclipses al other types of cultural expressions are deficient, redundant, regressive and decadent.
As a consequence, Prague – with its functioning integration of Germanic and Slavic culture – represented a living contradiction to the thinking of Adolf Hitler and could not be tolerated by the Third Reich. Hitler decided that he must ‘rescue’ the ethnic Germanic population of Czechoslovakia from the corrupt cultural milieu within which it was being forced to exist. Hitler saw it as his historical ‘duty’ to perform this task for a substantial portion of the German ‘Volk’ that lived outside of the boundaries of geographic Germany. Asa consequence, Britain and France (and a distant US), politically agreed to let Hitler militarily annex Czechoslovakia on the grounds that a large ethnic German population existed that every right to ‘unite’ with Germany-proper. Of course, in true imperialistic fashion the Czeck people were not consulted and never voted for his change – their country was just ‘given away’ by the other countries of Europe without any form of consultation. Hitler was given permission to march his armies in and take immediate charge. This ridiculous act of political terrorism inflicted by Britain and France upon the people of Czechoslovakia would mean ‘death’ for the tolerant Bohemian culture – and for millions of Czech Jews, the disabled, Romany, homosexuals and Communists who had previously lived together for decades without any trouble or problems.
This move also spelt doom for all ‘mixed’ marriages and their offspring – as ‘mixing’ was identified as being one of the greatest threats to the continued existence of the German race. The SS Officer and supposed ‘expert’ upon race – Reinhard Heydrich – was tasked to putting an end to this cultural and racial degeneracy once and for all. This pogrom was to begin with the superior races being separated and sealed-off from the inferior races – and the inferior races ‘moved away’ so that they could not culturally or biologically ‘infect’ the purity of the Germanic race. All decadent and degenerate art, literature and music was to immediately stop being disseminated, perpetuated, enjoyed and/or consumed. Libraries were to be ‘emptied’ of any and all books pertaining to Jews, Marxism, free-thinking ad any types of international ideology.
In 1938, Czechoslovakia was decreed a ‘Protectorate’ of Nazi Germany – which meant that the geographical location was declared a part of – and extension – of sovereign German territory, rather than a separate ‘colony’ or an external ‘occupied’ region, etc. As a consequence, a form of ‘direct rule’ was initiated from Berlin that saw the Hitlerite control of the media, education system, welfare system, economy and culture extended into Czechoslovakia. All the Nazi laws were applied without mercy or consideration for difference or non-familiarity. The designated ‘Aryan’ German population was disentangled from the polluting influences of the Jews, Slavs and Gypsies, etc. Everyday Nazi German culture was implemented throughout the country – a move which even involved the re-interpretation of the religion of the area. The life story of the Patron Saint of Czechoslovakia – Saint Wenceslas (Václav) – (known as ‘Good King Wenceslas’ in the West) was re-written for the sake of Hitlerite racial propaganda. In this ‘revised’ version of events – Saint Wenceslas – was re-branded as Germanophile who advocated the superiority of the Aryan race and the expulsion of all Slavs and Jews from the territory!
Not only this, but this ‘Nazi’ Saint’ is supposed to have ‘prophesised’ the joining of Czechoslovakia to the German Motherland – with the implication that Adolf Hitler may well be the ‘reincarnation’ of this Saint who was on a ‘divine’ mission of ensuring racial purity and spiritual clarity! Through a number of bizarre Church rituals enacted in Prague, this story was cemented into the consciousness of the Czech people as the ‘new’ orthodoxy.
Hitler always contested that his regime was essentially ‘Christian’ – but that this association did not prevent the various clerics, priests and monks who were suspected of supporting Bolshevism (or opposing Nazism) from being arrested and deported to the Death Camps where they were often used (as the victims) of bizarre ‘medical’ experiments (confirmed as happening at the Nuremberg Trials) – or simply ‘gassed’ along with the Jews, etc. This reality existed despite the Catholic Church fully supporting the policies of fascism throughout the world – and ‘blessing’ the Nazi German invasion of the USSR even though its objective was known to be ‘genocidal’.
The Nazi Germans occupied Czechoslovakia between 1938-1945 – some eight years – where mass pro-Nazi propaganda and mass deportations were the norm. An example of this ‘new’ history involved texts such as Josef Pfitzner’s widely-read (1940) book entitled ‘Das tausendjährige Prag’ or ‘The Thousand Year Prague’. (Josef Pfitzner – the Deputy Mayor of Prague – was sentenced to death for his pro-Nazi criminal activities between 1938-1945 – and was publically hanged Infront of a crowd of 50,000 watching people on Thursday September 6th, 1945).
Much of this tyranny, however was formulated and carried-out by SS Officer Reinhard Heydrich who died from his wounds on June 4th. 1942. He had been critically wounded in an attack in Prague carried-out by three British-trained Czech Commandos (on May 27th, 1942) who had been (along with others) earlier parachuted into Czechoslovakia (from an RAF aeroplane flown from the UK). A number of Orthodox Church priests knew of this special operation are were later ‘executed’ by the Nazis for housing, feeding and protecting these British-Czech Commandos prior to the their successful mission.
These Commandos (alongside four of their Comrades) afterwards retreated from the area of ‘contact’ with Reinhard Heydrich and held out in a Chruch crypt (fighting a battle with 700 SS Guards for several hours before the crypt was flooded and these ‘elite’ soldiers were finally killed. The ‘Liberation’ of Czechoslovakia was the last major battle of WWII – which saw the Soviet Red Army ‘crush’ the Nazi Germans and their Hungarian and Slovakian allies. This battle was fought between May 6th – May 11th, 1945.
Robert Gerwarth: Hitler’s Hangman – The Life of Heydrich Tantor Audio, (2016)