Sudeten deaths

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MATTHEW Day wrote about 19,000 “war deaths” attributable to the deportation of Germans from (then) Czechoslovakia after the SecondWorld War (Analysis, 19 December).

He and the figures bandied about by the current Sudetenland Landsmanschaft are forgetting that, in 1938-39, of 836,000 Czechs who lived in the border regions given by the Munich Agreement (agreed by France and Great Britain) to Nazi Germany, 517,000 were 
forcibly driven out of the Sudeten with an immediate effect and 310,000 were kept as forced labour.

The estimated 20,000 deaths which occurred among the 517,000 Czechs who were forcibly removed from the Sudeten can be directly attributed to the expulsion.

After the war, a number of ethnic Germans were deported already in 1945, in the first wave of revenge expulsions, and that was when most of the estimated 19,000 deaths occurred.

There were two more waves of organised deportation, which was allowed by the Potsdam Agreement, in 1946 and 1947, without direct casualties, the total of all those expelled being 2,170,598.

The death statistics are inaccurate and nobody can estimate how many deaths were the result of revenge, age, disease, injury, suicide or accidents, and how many people died not in the liberated Czechoslovakia but later in Germany and Austria.

Of the 3.1 million ethnic Germans who lived in occupied Czechoslovakia until 1945, some 500,000 died during the war in the army service.

The majority of deported Germans (66 per cent) ended in the American Occupied Zone.

The total Second World War death toll among the citizens of Czechoslovakia was some 340,000, of which 274,000 occurred in concentration camps, 8,500 were executed, 28,000 died in prisons or death marches, 10,600 soldiers died on the Eastern Front and 2,200 soldiers and airmen died on the Western Front.

Other deaths, difficult to enumerate, occurred during bomb raids and the passing of the front. Mr Day mourns the suffering of eight Germans who were buried in a small north Bohemian town. Does he mourn the millions who died in German concentration and extermination camps and prisons, without graves or trace?

(Dr) Paul Millar

Honorary Consul-General of the Czech Republic in Scotland