Geneva, September 13, 2012
“Apply international law uniformly and not à la carte,” new UN independent expert urges world governments
GENEVA (13 September 2012) – The newly appointed UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, today called on States to move forward to overcome “the many obstacles to the realization of an international order that is more democratic and more equitable.”
“This vision can be achieved by respecting the United Nations Charter as the World Constitution, by applying international law uniformly and not à la carte, by refraining from the threat or the use of force, by promoting a culture of dialogue,” said Mr. de Zayas during the presentation of his first report* to the Human Rights Council. “Civilization is a long journey from exploitation to solidarity,” he emphasized.
The Independent Expert proposed reforms in the international arena, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, and stressed that “a democratic and equitable international order requires not only international efforts but also enhanced domestic democracy and social justice, a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor in all countries, a strengthening of the rule of law, freedom of expression and an independent judiciary.”
“An international order in which only a few powerful players take all the decisions, often disregarding the consequences for the less powerful, is hardly democratic,” he noted. “An international democratic order is one where all peoples have the opportunity to participate in global decision-making. We must build on the principles of self-determination, sovereignty, and respect for national identities and universal human dignity. Progress in democratization at the domestic level is also necessary to ensure a correlation between the true wishes of the people and the governmental measures, including foreign policy, that affect them.”
With regard to an equitable international order, he emphasized that the riches of the planet must be equitably shared and not controlled by a few countries or cartels. “Fair trade is possible, as are transfer of knowledge and technical cooperation based on mutual benefit. Globalization entails certain dangers but it also opens opportunities for international solidarity,” he said.
Mr. de Zayas also referred to the ravages of the international financial crisis, remarking that “markets are not the private playground of financial bankers, but a public trust that requires transparency and accountability.” In his view, “the financial markets can further an equitable international order if they understand their role as a public responsibility and not as a closed-club of casino economics. Depression and unemployment are the results of irresponsible market activities.”
Among the obstacles to the achievement of a more humanistic international order the expert identifies “the status quo mentality and general inertia, which delay necessary reforms, as well as vested interests and privilege. A change of paradigm, away from short-term predator economics and a rethinking of the values that inspire the whole human rights edifice are necessary. A condition for sustainable change is the practical recognition of the human right to peace and a reordering of priorities away from war and toward disarmament and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and post-2015.”
Vienna, March 24, 2012
Press release of the German World Alliance
GWA-Member Prof. Alfred de Zayas appointed UN advisor
Wassertheurer: “Great honour for the German World Alliance"
The German World Alliance is happy to announce that Prof Alfred de Zayas, member of the board of the GWA, has been appointed as
Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order
by the UN Human Rights Council for a period of 3 years, pursuant to a recommendation by the President of the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Laura Dupuy (Uruguay).
The President of the GWA, Mr Peter Wassertheurer, congratulates Prof. Alfred de Zayas and wishes him all the best in his new endeavour on behalf of the GWA.
Wien, 24. November 2011
Pressemitteilung der Deutschen Weltallianz
Die Deutsche Weltallianz (DWA) spricht sich für die Pflege der deutschen Kultur, den Erhalt deutscher Traditionen in der Wissenschaft, der Kunst und für den traditionellen Gebrauch der deutschen Sprache aus. Gerade Deutschland, Österreich, die Schweiz und Lichtenstein sollten dabei den Deutschen, die als deutsche Volksgruppen/Minderheiten in Europa oder anderen Kontinenten leben, ein Vorbild sein.
Es ist wichtig die deutsche Sprache zu pflegen und zu erhalten, darum bitten wir, diese Petition "Zum Schutz der Deutschen Sprache" (Text unten) zu unterschreiben und an Mitglieder, Freunde und Bekannte weiter zu schicken, damit diese auch unterschreiben können. Hinter dem Namen bitte den Wohnort auch eintragen. Unsere Zukunft, auch die der deutschen Zeitungen, der Deutschschulen, der deutschen Vereine und der deutschen Radiosendungen, hängt von der deutschen Sprache ab.
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We wanted to draw your attention to this important petition, "Zum Schutz der Deutschen Sprache" (see text below) and hope that you will sign it. Please forward the petition to your members and friends and ask them to sign also. When signing please list the city where you live behind your name. Your email address will not be shown.
Vielen Dank, Ihr Deutschkanadischer Kongress
Toni Bergmeier, National Präsident
Karsten Mertens, Ontario Präsident
Ernst Friedel, Direktor
Zum Schutz der deutschen Sprache
Wir, die Unterzeichneten, ersuchen die Bundesregierung und die Kultusministerien der Länder, mehr für die Erhaltung und Pflege der deutschen Sprache zu tun.
78 Prozent der Deutschen sind der Meinung, dass mehr für die deutsche Sprache getan werden sollte.
Die deutsche Sprache bietet die geistige Lebensgrundlage, um Kultur und Werte der Gesellschaft zu verstehen, zu erhalten und zu pflegen, in voller Verantwortung für künftige Generationen. (Wir sind nicht dagegen, Fremdwörter zu verwenden, in Fällen, wo deutsche Wörter ungeeignet oder nicht vorhanden sind.)
Wir bitten um mehr finanzielle Unterstützung:
für Organisationen, die es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht haben, die deutsche Sprache zu pflegen und zu erhalten;
für kulturelle Veranstaltungen, die auf deutsch stattfinden;
für Texter, die deutsche Lieder schreiben;
für den deutschen Sprachunterricht im Ausland;
für deutsche Veranstaltungen, die von deutschen Vereinen im Ausland veranstaltet werden.
Wir bitten, dass deutsche Kaufhäuser dazu aufgefordert werden, in ihren Geschäften mehr deutsche Musik zu spielen.
Wir bitten um eine gesetzliche Regelung oder zumindest eine Verordnung für Medien und Schulen, Fremdwörter nach Möglichkeit durch deutsche Wörter zu ersetzen, wenn dadurch die Wortbedeutung nicht verändert wird.
Wir bitten, dass Firmen, die ihre Reklame im Inland auf deutsch gestalten, steuerliche Vorteile erhalten.
Washington DC, October 31, 2011
Press Release by the Germany- United States-Canada Reconciliation Committee
On the occasion of the presentation of a formal letter of apology from a former US Army officer to the German people for the mistreatment of German prisoners after World War II AND on the occasion of the publication of a new edition of Other Losses by James Bacque about those prisoners of war, a public meeting was held at 2:00 pm Monday October 31, 2011 in the Congressional and Monument Rooms of The Courtyard US Capitol Marriott Hotel, 1325 2d St. NE, Washington DC 20002. Tel 202 898 4000
Merrit P Drucker (US army major, retired) has apologized to the German army for the deaths of German prisoners in US army camps after World War II. Following extensive private investigations in the US and Germany, Drucker has sent an e-mail to Lt. Col. Max Klaar (Bundeswehr retired) head of the Verband deutscher Soldaten (German Veterans' Association) regretting the lethal conditions in the US camps where according to Col. Ernest F. Fisher of the US army (retired) some 750,000 Germans died because they were denied available food and shelter. By order of the American commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, German civilians were forbidden on pain of being shot to take food to the prisoners. Drucker has also formed a committee of six people, in Germany, the UK, Canada and the US to pursue further investigations and make amends. Drucker has posted on the German veterans' website a questionnaire asking for details of prisoners� internment which has already elicited many grateful responses. Many Germans have written to Merrit Drucker to thank him for taking a heavy weight of grief and guilt off their minds. Max Klaar was flying over for the occasion to accept the formal letter of apology from Drucker on October 31st. In addition, Max Klaar presented a proposal for a peace treaty between the USA and Germany. It has 14 points.
Other Losses, an Investigation into the mass deaths of German Prisoners of War in the hands of the French and the Americans after World War II by James Bacque, first published in 1989, became a world-wide best-seller, published in 13 countries, but has been suppressed in the US for 20 years. This edition, which contains much new information from the KGB archives in Moscow, was commissioned by Karl Siegler, the son of a former prisoner in a US army camp. Col. Dr. Ernest F. Fisher, formerly a senior historian of the U S Army Center for Military History, who supplied the eloquent foreword to Other Losses was also present. In that foreword he wrote, �Starting in April, 1945 the United States army and the French army casually annihilated about 1 million men, most of them in American camps.� The author spoke and two short films about postwar Germany were shown.
Prague, September 17, 2010
Radio Prague: Plans under way for first museum dedicated to former German minority
16-09-2010 12:46 | Ian Willoughby
The first German speakers settled in the Czech lands in the 13th century, and in the interwar period there were around three million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia. That changed completely after World War II, when almost all of them were forcibly expelled from the country. Now, however, their history is being reclaimed – with plans to open the first museum in the Czech Republic dedicated to the country’s former German minority.
Blanka Mouralová Preparations are underway to open the Czech Republic’s first ever museum dedicated to the region’s former German speaking minority. It will be located in the north Bohemian town of Ústí nad Labem, not far from the Czech-German border. Presenting the project in Prague, organiser Blanka Mouralová said there was no doubt ethnic Germans had left an indelible mark on this part of the world.
“Over a long period of time German speaking inhabitants made up a large section of the population in the Czech lands. You can see their legacy is all areas of life: in industry, but also in culture, in music, in politics, in literature – for example the work of the Prague German speaking authors… For us it would enrich our understanding of our culture if we could return these figures to the interpretation of our history.”
Milena Bartlová, photo: www.ct24.cz Professor Milena Bartlová is an expert in this field, and one of the people behind the museum project. She says many Czechs have a long way to go to accepting their country’s multi-ethnic past.
“Most Czech people today would never admit that German history belongs in their own historical identity. The aim of our museum is precisely to try to enlarge the concept of Czech historical identity to encompass German speaking… people – it wasn’t always a minority. Including the Jews, of course.”
Most of the exhibits being gathered for the new museum are from the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, when many leading industrialists in what is today the Czech Republic were German speakers. Czechs have come to regard several products originally created by Germans as their own, and Professor Bartlová says the museum should help open their eyes.
“We hope to be able to show quite a lot of those emotionally charged objects which relate to the history of industrial production in Bohemia. That means for instance old machines, old cars – because one of the points of the museum is to show, predominantly to the Czechs, how many important personalities, especially from the area of industry and science, were in fact part of the German speaking part of the country.”
The Museum of German History and Culture in the Czech Lands is due to open in Ústí nad Labem in the first half of 2012.
Prague, September 1, 2010
MFD: Police search for graves of Germans massacred in 1945
Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) - The Czech police search for what may be hundreds of further mass graves of victims of post-war massacres of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia, similar to the one recently uncovered near Dobronin, south Moravia, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Tuesday.
In the past days, a man reported to the police, citing a "trustworthy eyewitness," that there are still unknown graves of Germans, who were killed shortly after the end of World War Two, in the garden of the Moravsky Krumlov chateau, south Moravia, MfD writes.
The case reminds of the Dobronin grave, where the remains of six people were found earlier this month. In the case of Moravsky Krumlov, the suspicion is quite fresh. It is therefore impossible to say now how many people are allegedly buried in the chateau garden, MfD writes, citing Eduard Kocvara, from the Office for the Investigation and Documentation of Crimes of Communism (UDV).
Period documents indicate that hundreds of such graves may exist all over the Czech Republic. Maybe the police will have to check tens of cases.
Apart from Moravsky Krumlov, they are checking another similar suspicion in a locality in Bohemia which they would not identify for now, MfD writes.
The UDV has at its disposal hundreds of old reports on cases of post-war violence targeting Germans, which the then Czechoslovak police received in 1947 and whose investigation UDV director Pavel Bret says was free of political influences at the time.
The documents provide a shattering testimony. For example, in the internment camp for Germans in Ostrava, north Moravia, 234 people were shot dead between May 15 and June 20, 1945.
Eighteen people died under suspicious circumstances in Frydek-Mistek, north Moravia, and another 11 people were shot dead in a nearby forest. Nothing is known about their graves, MfD writes.
"The documents also carry the information that the Germans, in retreat, left caches with weapons behind in the Czech Lands and that the Czechs feared that they planned to continue fighting. On the other hand, sometimes it [the massacres] was not a just revenge or justified indignation, but often it had a criminal subtext, such as thefts of gold [from the German victims]," Bret told MfD.
The documents indicate that violent acts were mainly committed by the "revolutionary guards." Their members toured internment camps, where ethnic Germans were waiting for being transferred away from Czechoslovakia, and selected certain inmates under the pretext that they should join a special separate transfer. Afterwards they secretly killed these people.
In addition, the "revolutionaries" did not focus on war criminals or Gestapo members but often on the people who were known as wealthy, MfD writes, referring to period documents.
In this respect, there was a big difference between the areas that were liberated by the Red Army and by the U.S. army, MfD continues.
The U.S. soldiers admitted no violence in the areas they had liberated. The Czechoslovak police could make home searches and arrest people only in the presence of the Americans, it ensues from the period documents.
Although the Czechoslovak police started investigating the post-war cases of violence in 1947, people learnt nothing about most of them as the information was classified. The communist coup in 1948 put a definitive end to the police efforts to clear-up the suspected massacres, MfD writes.
In the areas where violence occurred, people have kept silent on it to date. The information about it has been only borne by German natives. This is also the case of an alleged mass grave near Hostinne, east Bohemia, where German witnesses said soldiers and possibly also civilians were shot dead in 1945.
"Two people said this to me separately. One of them died some time ago, and the other eyewitness, who heard the shooting, died a fortnight ago," the daily quotes Tomas Andel, from Hostinne, as saying.
Copyright 2009 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Dobronín/Dobrenz, August 16, 2010
Massacre of Bergersdorf
Remains found at site of alleged 1945 murder of German civilians
Aug 16, 2010, 17:57 GMT
Prague - Czech police said Monday that they have found skeletal remains at a field near the village of Dobronin, where local Czechs allegedly murdered some 15 German civilians shortly after the end of World War II in 1945.
Investigators and archeologists also discovered remnants of leather clothing buried at the site in the central Czech Republic, police spokeswoman Dana Cirtkova said.
The investigators, who plan to dig at the Dobronin site until Friday, hope to identify the remains with the help of DNA analyses, she said.
Police began investigating the case as a murder in September after being alerted by a local journalist who researched the post-war killing.
The case, which is largely unknown in the Czech Republic, was also described in a novel by German writer Herma Kennel titled Bergersdorf.
In May 1945, a group of local drunken Czechs reportedly paraded some 15 local ethnic Germans to a field by the village where they were forced to dig their own graves.
The Germans were then either shot or beaten to death, the Czech news agency CTK said.
Only one of the alleged Czech assailants is alive, according to the ongoing investigation. The man told police that he does not remember the event, Cirtkova said.
Former Czechoslovakia was home to a large ethnic German minority. Soon after the war ended, some Czechs lynched and massacred their German neighbours out of revenge for Adolf Hitler's regime starting the global war.
In the best-known case, more than 750 German civilians were murdered in the north-western town of Postoloprty. More than 3 million Czechoslovak Germans were later expelled to Germany in an act of collective punishment.
Prague, July 8, 2010
Brünner/Brno death march
Marie Ranzenhoferová – a survivor of the 1945 Brno Death March
12-05-2010 13:33 | Jan Richter
In May 1945, millions of Czechs could breath freely again after six years of Nazi occupation. The German defeat brought about the end of the Nazi rule of terror, and the re-establishment of Czechoslovakia. But for thousands of ethnic Germans, the end of the war meant the beginning of a new ordeal. They were expelled from the country, and many of them were killed during the first day of peace. In this edition of Czech Today, Radio Prague talks to Marie Ranzenhoferová, who survived one of the violent expulsions, known today as the Brno death march.
Marie Ranzenhoferová lives in an ancient house in the former Jewish ghetto in Mikulov, a small town in southern Moravia, just on the Austrian border. She came to Mikulov just like many of the town’s current inhabitants – after the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans. But unlike most of them, she came on foot – in May 1945, she one of several thousand Germans who were being herded from Brno to Austria.
Brno Death March Before the new Czechoslovak government officially sanctioned the transfers of around three million ethic Germans to Austria and Germany, several towns and cities saw violent expulsions of their German-speaking inhabitants. One of them was Brno where, in May 31, 1945, several dozen thousand people were forced leave the city and walk some 50 km south, to the Austrian border. One of them was 24-year-old Marie Ranzenhoferová, who says she had to join the march by coincidence.
“I lived in Modřice, outside Brno, and I had an admirer there whom I rejected. So one day he came to me and said that I had my son with an SS officer, and I had to join the march. But if I went and lived with him, he would turn a blind eye. I told him he could keep his eyes open, that I’d rather go. So on May 31, at noon, he came to pick me up with a machine gun. I walked in front of him, pushing a cart with my baby, and he followed, until I joined the march that was already moving on the road. He then fired a shot, and I cursed him. I said I wished he would drop dead in a ditch, and that’s how we parted.”
Marie Ranzenhoferová was not German. She was born in Brno to a Czech father and a Hungarian mother. Her father soon died, and her mother left for Hungary, so she was left on her own. She briefly lived in Germany before the war, but then came back and worked in a Brno factory. After the war, she was forced to join thousands of others on the road out of the country.
“The first day, we walked as far as Pohořelice. Germans from the nearby villages – Moravany, Želešice, Ořechov, and others, had to join too. All these were farmers whose families had lived there for centuries, and they thought they had to bring all kinds of family treasures with them; they had pots and pans and plates; food of course, but then they were forced to leave them behind, they could not carry them any more.”
Czech and German historians have different opinions on how many people had to leave Brno on that day. The Czechs say some 20,000 local Germans had to join the march while most German historians believe the number was more than double. But all agree the march was organized by young Czechs, workers from the Brno arms works, Zbrojovka.
“These were young men from the Zbrojovka arms factory, they were rude and coarse. But there were also people who came back from Nazi concentration camps, and they were ok. The parts of the march that they supervised were fine, no swearing, no beating, they didn’t pull earrings out of women’s ears. But the Zbrojovka men, they were really bad, drunk and armed like bandits.”
On the first night, the march stopped in Pohořelice, half way between Brno and the border. Women and children were given shelter in some barns. They locked the doors, but this did not protect them. Ms Ranzenhorefová says Romanian soldiers arrived, and all hell broke loose.
“They came on two trucks. They broke in, and began raping the women. There was shooting… it was really horrible. Nobody talks about that. It was worse than the march. There, people were beaten, and they tore their earrings off, and took their rings, some people died, but in the camp, it was like a slaughterhouse. The next morning, at around 4 AM, I got up and wanted to continue walking, and I saw they were loading the trucks with corpses.”
Brno Death March memorial in Pohořelice “I also saw a woman who carried a baby that was crying. One of the guards began yelling at her to make the baby stop. But it didn’t, so he took the baby and threw it into the field. I think he killed it. And I also saw this old man; he said he couldn’t walk anymore, and he sat down on the side of the road. I came up to him and offered help. I took his hand but he was dead. He sat down and died.”
By the time the march reached the border, Marie Ranzenhoferová had had enough. She took broke away from the march, and caused big problems for the guards because several hundred people followed her.
“At a crossroads near Mikulov, there was a hill, and I thought, ‘I am not walking up that hill, and no brat will make me; I will go when I myself feel like it. So I took off, and started walking towards the village of Perná, and some 700 people followed me.”
Thanks to her knowledge of both German and Czech, Marie Ranzenhoferová was able to stay in that village working for the new administration. She later moved to Mikulov, where she’s lived ever since. She even came face to face with the young guard whom she saw killing the baby – and who meanwhile became a respected citizen of Mikulov.
“I was thinking of what I should do – if I should tell anyone. But then I thought – why? What he did could not be undone, so let him live with his conscience, if he had any. But it was already the 1960s, and I don’t think he recognized me. But maybe he did – because whenever we met, he was always somewhat shamefaced.”
Edvard Beneš Some historians believe that the Brno death march was triggered by a speech Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš delivered in Brno on May 12, 1945. In it, he said Germans as a nation must suffer a great punishment for what they did during the war. Marie Ranzenhoferová says that as a politician, he should have been aware of the consequences his words might have.
“President Beneš studied diplomacy at the Sorbonne in Paris, but either he was not much of a diplomat – or else he was a sadist. He must have realized what his speech, and later the decrees, would bring about. Apologies won’t help here. They can apologize as much as they want – but it’s not their fault. Do they want to apologize for the drunk factory guys? Or for President Beneš? I think all the evil came from his policies, I can’t help myself. What should be done? Abolish the Beneš decrees.”
New Braunfels, May 8, 2010
Still speaking German
By Eric J. Weilbacher
Published May 8, 2010Why continue to speak a different language in a land where English dominates?
For many who grew up speaking German in Texas, they did so for their grandparents.
“I grew up speaking German better than English, because at the time you did it for your grandparents,” said Marie Offerman, whose great and great-great grandparents were original New Braunfelsers, settling here in the 1840s. Offerman’s roots here are such that she said, now in her late 80s, she can “go to a funeral every week.”
When Offerman was a child, the school day was in English, but many students in New Braunfels attended German summer school through the New Braunfels Independent School District and the smaller rural districts that existed at the time. For six weeks, Offerman said they would study reading, writing, dancing and singing traditional German songs.
In the mid-1800s, tens of thousands of German immigrants landed in the Texas ports of Galveston, Indianola and elsewhere, and made a trek into central Texas and the Hill Country to found communities such as New Braunfels, Comfort, Round Top and Fredericksburg, building distinct communities and adding their mark to the increasingly diverse Texas cultural landscape.
No one is certain, but there are anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 living speakers of German in central Texas, down from the more than 100,000 estimated at the turn of the 20th century. Those speakers use the distinct Texas German dialect that developed among them, according to the Texas German Dialect Project, a project of the University of Texas at Austin Department of Germanic Languages that interviews and archives recordings, transcripts and translations of interviews with living Texas German speakers. (Full disclosure: the author’s brother was a researcher and interviewer for the TGDP).
The project has interviewed more than 300 living speakers in the seven years since it began, and has more than 200 identified and waiting to be recorded.
But how did the number slip so far in a century, especially given the distinct culture and traditions still observed and practiced throughout those communities in the Hill Country?
For one, the advent of World War II brought the German summer school sessions to a halt, said Dr. Frederick Frueholz.
Frueholz, whose family would be considered newer German immigrants to New Braunfels — they immigrated in 1925 — attended, like Offerman, the German summer school, and also spoke German at home.
“We were blessed in this town with wonderful teachers,” Frueholz said, a 1945 grad of New Braunfels High School. “The Second World War came along and that killed it.
“After the war, there had been so much animosity against the Germans that why teach the students German?”
The internment of many Texas German speakers toward the end of the war, be they actually from Germany or not, also aided in discouraging newer generations to keep up the language.
“I know a lot of the people that went. It was sneaky; nobody knew who was down in Crystal City (internment camp),” Frueholz said. “My parents didn’t get sent off because they needed physicians.”
Frueholz is a retired general practice physician, as were his parents, and there was a time he can recall in New Braunfels when doctors needed to converse with their patients using three languages.
“I spoke German with some of my patients, and spoke Spanish to my patients that spoke Spanish, too,” he said.
Now, Frueholz and Offerman have fewer outlets to practice the language, but they both try to keep it up.
“I have a friend in Germany and we talk all the time. My sister and I still communicate, but she speaks Spanish better than German,” Offerman said.
“Basically, we still see each other at times,” Frueholz said of the group from his school days that attended the summer school classes, but the longer they go without speaking, the rustier they get.
“The older one gets, accuracy has fallen by the wayside,” he said.
Prague, May 6, 2010
Czech Television screens amateur footage of post War execution of German civilians in Prague
MfD: Czech Television to show film on mass execution of Germans
The family was hiding the film on the brutality of the "Revolutionary Guards" (RG, para-military units spontaneously established at the close of World War Two) for a long time, but it decided to publish it 65 years later, MfD.
The documentary "Killing in the Czech Way" will be projected by the programme CT2 at 20:00 on Thursday, it adds.
The film records the atmosphere of the days in May 1945.
Historians say it is a valuable document casting some light on a dark chapter of the Czech anti-Nazi resistance.
Chmelicek shot the film from the windows of his flat.
In it, RG members make Germans march along a street in Prague, pushing them to a ditch and shooting them dead.
Then they drove with a lorry over the mortally or seriously injured German civilians.
The family was keeping the film in hiding for decades. The authorities knew someone had shot the brutal scene, but they never managed to find the author.
The calls for the amateur filmmaker to report to them were fruitless as well, MfD writes.
"My father was afraid that his film on the atrocities committed by the RG would be confiscated. The shots showed the Prague Uprising in quite a different light then official propaganda," Chmelicek's daughter Helena Dvorackova said.
Experts said the May 1945 events should be approached in the right context.
"Naturally, the killing of German civilians is absolutely unexcusable. But we should bear in mind the atrocities committed on Czechs by members of the Waffen-SS or Hitlerjugend during the Prague Uprising," Eduard Stehlik, from the Military Historical Institute, told the paper.
SS members captured two Czech officers who acted as negotiators and drove by a tank over their heads.
Fanatical Hitlerjugend youths were also very active in this field. They put out captured civilians' eyes, slashed their throats and made them living shields in street fights, historians said.
SS members threw hand grenades into the cellars in which Praguers were seeking shelter during the fights at the close of the war.
Historians say that Czech collaborators were often involved in the lynching of Germans. They often deliberately got rid of troublesome witnesses of their denunciating activities.
The uprising started throughout the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on May 5, 1945. Almost 1700 Czechs died during the uprising in Prague.
New Ulm, April 26, 2010
Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge David Minge (left) received a plaque from Hermann Monument Society activist George Glotzbach, to mark Minge's role in declaring Hermann Monument a national symbol of German American immigration and German Americans' contributions to national life. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the legislation to that effect passed by Congress. Minge, who represented Minnesota's Second Congressional District in 1992-2000, was instrumental in passing the legislation. Minge was in New Ulm for an unrelated event Saturday evening.
March 5, 2010
Czech politicians say Beneš decrees are a done deal
Prague, March 4 (CTK) - Benes decrees are part of the Czech legal order, Czech politicians say in reaction to Austrian President Heinz Fischer's statement yesterday that they are "a serious injustice" that the other EU states "have not legalised" even by the opt-out from the EU Fundamental Rights Charter.
Some Czech politicians said the country should protest against Fischer's statement.
President Vaclav Klaus said he regrets that "these painful historical themes are abused" in the pre-election campaign in Austria again.
Fischer will be defending his presidential post next month.
He made the statement in a letter of greetings to the Sudeten Landsmannschaft (SLOe) in Austria, quoted by the Austrian news agency APA.
The decrees were issued by then Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes shortly after World War Two. They provided for the confiscation of the property of collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis. They also formed a basis for the transfer of the former groups from Czechoslovakia.
Klaus said Fischer's statement proves how prudent it was to secure the opt-out for the Czech Republic from the EU Fundamental Rights Charter.
Klaus insisted on the opt-out citing an alleged risk of the Benes decrees being challenged.
"It shows how important it is that this opt-out be codified in a legally binding way as soon as possible," Klaus said in a press release during his current visit to the United States.
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer said the Czech Republic has pronounced its stand on the decrees several times, and there is no reason to change anything in it.
Foreign Minister Jan Kohout also says the decrees are a closed chapter.
"For us the issue has been closed minimally since our entry into the European Union when it was examined whether our legislation, including the mentioned presidential decrees, is compatible with European law and it was noted that it is not in collision," Kohout said.
Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka (Civic Democrats, ODS) said he was surprised at the top Austrian representative attacking the decision made by the great powers which Benes transformed into the decrees.
The decrees were part of the post-war arrangement.
Sobotka recalled that EU representatives agreed with that the European Rights Charter does not apply to the decrees, which Klaus made a condition for his signature of the Lisbon treaty last year.
Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jiri Paroubek said his party has always considered the decrees a valid part of the legal order.
"We dismiss their challenging both at home and on international level," Paroubek told CTK.
He said he hopes that Fischer did not use the statement "serious injustice" in relation to the decrees and that he did not challenge them.
In the opposite case, this would be "a deplorable excess that can unnecessarily harm Czech-Austrian relations," Paroubek said.
Paroubek also recalled that the CSSD, unlike most other parties, supported Klaus's demand for the opt-out in the EU for the sake of protection of Benes decrees.
Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Mirek Topolanek said the election campaign pushes Austrian President Fischer to dangerous populism.
"I would not be surprised if even some Czech politicians took up this favourite election theme," Topolanek said, hinting at the May general election.
He said, however, it is an artificial problem and that there is no threat of Sudeten Germans claiming their property at court.
Jan Kasal (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, said Fischer's statement should prompt a strong protest by the Czech Republic.
"I do not know any political party that would want to return to the Benes decrees. They are part of our legal order whether somebody likes it or not," Kasal told CTK.
Pavel Kovacik, chairman of the Communist (KSCM) deputy group, is of a similar opinion.
"I am personally convinced that the Czech Republic must protest against similar things," he said.
The post-war arrangement must be preserved for good and all, Kovacik said.
"It (the arrangement) must not be dusted off when it suits someone before elections, for instance, and it must not be used to make the atmosphere in Europe nervous," Kovacik said.
Some Czech politicians think that European Socialists should put their things in order.
Fischer is a socialist, but his membership has been suspended at the start of his presidential term.
Greens (SZ) deputy Katerina Jacuqes, Chamber of Deputies European committee chairwoman, said the post-war events really were a serious injustice.
"yesterday, however, the legal state is unchangeable and no political statements can change it," she told CTK.
December 8, 2009
Petition for dual citizenship to circulate in South Tyrol
By Lisa Chapman
South Tyrol People’s Party (SVP) MP Siegfried Brugger has begun to collect signatures on a petition for dual Austrian-Italian citizenship for provincial residents.
He said today (Thurs) he wanted to send "a strong signal to Vienna" about the wishes of the inhabitants of South Tyrol since he could not understand Austrian "scepticism" about dual citizenship.
"It would be a qualitative improvement of our status as a minority party and a new approach in South Tyrolean politics that would be supra-party and promoted on a broader basis," he was quoted as saying in today’s edition of the South Tyrol newspaper Dolomiten.
Brugger’s comments came partially in reaction to recent comments by Tyrol MP Hermann Gahr, the chairman of Parliament’s sub-committee on South Tyrol, who said such a step would "cause an avalanche in other countries."
Brugger, however, claimed dual citizenship would be easier to arrange than the anchoring of Austria’s protective function in the Austrian constitution, which Italy would strongly object to.
Austrian citizenship for residents of South Tyrol was Austria’s business and "absolutely unobjectionable" since Italy already allowed it, he said, adding Austria would be unable to continue to oppose it if residents of South Tyrol demonstrated they were strongly in favour of it.
News of Brugger’s petition initiative follows senior SVP officials’ call yesterday (Mon) for dual citizenship.
South Tyrol SVP Governor Luis Durnwalder and party leader Richard Theiner also called for Austria’s so-called protective function – a largely symbolic status which has no legal force either domestically or internationally in which Austria acts as South Tyrol's protector - to be anchored in the Austrian constitution.
Some Italian politicians have claimed in the past that Austria has used its status as protector to intervene in Italian internal affairs, particularly on issues concerning South Tyrol's political status and budget.
Several SVP MPs called for dual citizenship last month but the move was opposed by the South Tyrol Freedom Party (FPS) which labelled the SVP’s call "embarrassing".
FPS provincial deputy Ulli Mair said that SVP MPs Karl Zeller and Brugger’s proposal for dual citizenship had been "embarrassing" and that the issue should be dealt with by more than one party.
He said the SVP could not claim to represent South Tyrol. "Such an issue should be discussed at a roundtable," Mair said.
South Tyrol has 300,000 residents. The post-World War I Treaty of St. Germain gave Italy sovereignty over South Tyrol, which until then had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
December 8, 2009
November 22, 2009
German World Alliance Press Release
ELLIS ISLAND: WHERE IT BEGAN AND WHERE IT ENDED
On December 8, 2009, the 68th anniversary of the internment of the first German Americans under the U. S. Government’s Alien Enemy Control Program, the German World Alliance, in co-operation with the National Park Service and the support of the German American Internee Coalition (ww.gaic.info), Maj. A.D. Jacobs’ of foitimes.com, The Steuben Society and many other German-American organizations, will host a conference entitled “WHERE IT BEGAN AND WHERE IT ENDED.”
The conference will be held from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Ellis Island, in the lecture hall above the Great Hall. The conference will offer an overview of the Department of Justice internment program, from pre-war planning, to its inception on December 8, 1941 through its end on Ellis Island in 1948, three years after the end of World War II. Talks by former internees will be supported by maps, videos, internment memorabilia and photos of Ellis Island and other World War II internment camps.
The conference will commemorate the thousands of German and Italian Americans and German and Italian Latin Americans who were interned and highlight the fact that their internment remains unknown. It is hoped that Congress will finally pass the Wartime Treatment Study Act which would create an independent commission to analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the internment of German and Italian Americans and Latin Americans.
All former internees and their families are encouraged to attend. The general public is welcome to join former internees and learn about this unknown aspect of Ellis Island’s and America’s history.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION contact:
Kearn Schemm 703 534 9383
Round trip fare on the ferry, which includes admission to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $3 for children 3-17 years old, and free to children 3 and under. The ferries, which leave from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey, operate 7 days a week, from approximately 9:30am to 5:00pm. For ferry schedule and information, call 212-269-5755 or visit www.statueoflibertyferry.com.
To get to Battery Park
* By train, take the 1 or 9 train to the South Ferry station, 4 or 5 train to the Bowling Green station, or the N or R train to the Whitehall Street station.
December 28, 2006
Survey probes 1911 law, Pennsylvania German Program studying decline of Pennsylvania German
BY BARBARA MILLER
LEBANON - When William Unger of Annville was a youngster in the late 1940s, he recalls getting slapped and having his knuckles rapped with a ruler by a fifth-grade teacher for speaking Pennsylvania German. In first grade in 1943, he got beat up by a fellow classmate because he spoke Pennsylvania German, which was the only language spoken in his home. "When someone got me angry, I didn't know how to chew them out in English," he said.....more
December 20, 2006
Czechs becoming more critical to postwar Benes decrees - poll
published by Ceske Noviny
Prague- Czechs are becoming more critical than before to the validity of the postwar Benes decrees under which Sudeten Germans living in Czech border regions were expelled, according to a CVVM agency's poll released to CTK.
While some two-thirds of Czechs supported the validity of the decrees two or three years ago, now it is about one half of the respondents. The number of those who do not have a clear view on the issue has increased....more
December 19, 2006 - New York Times
Bolivian Reforms Raise Anxiety on Mennonite Frontier
By SIMON ROMERO MANITOBA
Bolivia, Dec. 19 — With its horse-drawn buggies, farmhouses with manicured lawns and fields planted to the horizon with soybeans and sorghum, this Mennonite settlement in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands feels like a tropical version of rural Ohio or Pennsylvania.
That placid impression lasts until farmers here start talking about their fears of President Evo Morales’s plans for land reform.....more
December 17, 2006
The many faces of the Sudetenland
By David Vaughan
Usually in Czech Books we discuss poetry or prose, but for this week's programme we look at an intriguing book that fits neither category. Instead it is a collection of interviews, coming from a part of the Czech Republic that has gone through huge and sometimes traumatic changes over the last sixty or seventy years. I talk with two people who were very closely involved in the book, Matej Spurny and Ondrej Matejka.
Matej Spurny and Ondrej Matejka First of all, Matej, tell us a little bit about the book. Its title is "Sudetske osudy", which could be roughly translated as "Sudeten stories".....more
Letter to George W. Bush
The German World Alliance (GWA), the world's largest human rights organization for Germans, with over one million members in the United States, Canada, Austria, Argentina, Columbia, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Serbia and Poland, strongly urges you to refuse to sign this bill into law. The focus of our opposition is that the bill, as written, does not preserve a single site where 11,000 German Americans were incarcerated in the United States during WWII......more
November 27, 2006
The German production company Janus TV GmbH is looking for German immigrants who would like to take part in a documentary. We are currently producing a show airing every Thursday at 8.15 pm CET on “Kabel 1” called “Mein neues Leben”. The show is about German families planning to emigrate. We monitor all the necessary steps und witness their first couple of weeks in their new home countries. Now we would like to extend the concept to people who have already emigrated. We would like to know how they are coping with their new environment:.....more
Biel - Bienne, CH, Wednesday, 08 November 2006
South Tyrolean Parliament rejects abolition of fascist place names
by Peter Josika
A parliamentary motion by the Union for South Tyrol (Union für Südtirol-UFS) to abolish certain Italian place names in South Tyrol has been rejected by the provincial parliament (Landtag) on Tuesday (7th November).
The motion, introduced by the leader of the UFS, Ms Eva Klotz, was to abolish all topographic terms in South Tyrol introduced by two Royal decrees during fascist rule in the 1920s and 1940s. .....more
October 25, 2006
Exhibit examines an unknown story
By Katie Friedman, Times Reporter
Between 1941 and 1948, the U.S. government rounded up anddetained 15,000 German-American civilians, disrupting thousands of homes.(Photos courtesy of the Traces Museum.) A traveling museum, dubbed the Buseum 2, will visit the Monticello Library Monday, Nov. 6.
September 24, 2006
German Parlamentarian Erika Steinbach, President of the German Association of the 15-million community of Expellees in Germany will speak at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh on 29 September 2006. The event is hosted by the Institute of German-American Realtions (IGAR) and the Department of History of Duquesne University. Steinbach, a native of West Prussia (now Poland) will speak about the sucesses in the integration of the post world war II German refugees and expellees, including German President Horst Koehler, who was also born in Poland. Steinbach's Centre Against Ethnic Cleansing (Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen) in Berlin is hosting an exhibit in Berlin which is being visited by tens of thousands of visitors and generating much debate in both Germany and Poland....more
August 23, 2006
GWA commemorates the 65th Anniversary of the genocidal deportations of the Russian-Germans
By Dr. J. Otto Pohl
The 28th August of this year marks the official day of commemoration for the 65th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Germans. On 28 August 1941, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 21-160, “On Resettling the Germans, Living in the Region of the Volga.” This resolution ordered the “resettlement of all the German population, living in the region of the Volga, to other regions.”
August 16, 2006
Czech Republic - do something!
Since the end of communism hundreds of conferences, seminars and workshops have taken place in which the post War treatment of 3.5 million Sudeten Germans has been analysed and discussed. Despite disagreements about the interpretation of certain historical events, there is an overwhelming consensus among Czech, German and international experts that a terrible crime against humanity had been committed.
For the last several years I have actively attempted to work with the State Department regarding compensation for German American victims of Ethnic Cleansing 1944-1950. I have written to both, you and your predecessor in this regard. Each time I write I am directed to another office, and that office like the one before it, simply leads me and German American victims on, doing nothing to assist us.
18 May 2006
Germans of Slovenia demand official recognition
by Peter Josika
On the 10th of May 2006 the umbrella organisation of the German minority in Slovenia, "the Association of German cultural Organisations in Slovenia", sent a formal letter of request to the government demanding official recognition. A copy was also sent to the Austrian embassy in Ljubljana. The minority also appealed for Austrian government support to achieve this objective.
May 11, 2006
Delegation to Deliver Report to U.S. Congress
A newly published report, HERE IN AMERICA? Immigrants as “The Enemy” During WWII and Today, will be pre-sented to the U.S. Congress next week by representatives of the Assembly on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (AWRIC). The report documents a public event held last year and provides background information about the WWII Enemy Alien Program and its relevance for all Americans today.
Mai 3, 2006
Montana Does The Right Thing After 88 Years
Pardons Granted 88 Years After Crimes of Sedition
By JIM ROBBINS HELENA, Mont.
When Steve Milch found out recently that his great-grandfather, an immigrant from Bavaria, had been convicted of sedition in Montana during World War I, he was taken aback. It was something no one in the family had ever talked about.
For the past 88 years, a lot of secrets have been kept in Montana families, especially those of German descent, about a flurry of wartime sedition prosecutions in 1918, when public sentiment against Germany was at a feverish pitch.....more
April 27, 2006
Letter from Congressman Becerra
Dear Dr. Schemm,
Thank you for writing me to express your views on my legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you are aware, I have introduced the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act (H.R. 4901). I understand your concern that German and Italian Latin Americans, who also experienced similar abduction and internment as Japanese Latin Americans, were not included in my bill. ....more
April 27, 2006
Excerpts published with a twist
German Community shocked by National Geographic's comment to GWA Letter
As a response to a story about genocide in its January issue, Kearn Schemm, President of the German World Alliance, wrote a letter pointing out that the article did not mention the genocidal expulsoin of the easten European Germans.
National Geographic did publish a short excerpt of the letter in its May issue. It then quotes "Yahuda Bauer" as saying that the expulsion was not genocide, leaving the reader with the impression that the 100% expulsion of a people from their homeland could somehow be something othe than genocide.
Dr. Schemm's comment: "I am truly shocked at NGs dishonesty. There is truly a double standard for acts against Germans, be it expulsion or internment or whatever."
April 18, 2006
Letter to the Secretary of State
Re: Justice for German Victims of Ethnic Cleansing 1944-1950
Dear Madam Secretary,
For the last several years I have actively attempted to work with the State Department regarding compensation for German American victims of Ethnic Cleansing 1944-1950. I have written to both, you and your predecessor in this regard. Each time I write I am directed to another office, and that office like the one before it, simply leads me and German American victims on, doing nothing to assist us.
April 11, 2006
Westchester Man To Take Possession Of Dracula's Castle
By DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun April 11, 2006
A Westchester County man who is a descendant of the royal family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Dominic von Habsburg, is waiting for the Romanian government to hand him the keys to Dracula's Castle, the 13th-century palace where he grew up before the property was seized by communists.
Mr. von Habsburg fled the communist takeover of his homeland in 1947, when he was 10 years old, and has never returned to his former home, living in Switzerland, Argentina, Italy, and elsewhere before settling permanently in America eight years ago. Last week, Romania's Ministry of Culture said it would return the castle to its previous owners.....more
The Prague Post - March 01, 2006
It's no easy task dispelling the myths about Sudeten Germans. But in order to move forward, this country needs to address its past.Villains or Victims?
By Peter Josika
Two different messages about the Sudeten Germans confront Czechs in their day-to-day lives. They are still taught about the German colonialists who turned Nazi and wanted to destroy the country. And yet one cannot escape reports of postwar death marches, expulsions and mass graves, where Sudeten Germans were victims not perpetrators.
While some politicians prefer to talk about gestures of reconciliation, others stress the irrevocability of the postwar order, and with it, the country's No. 1 taboo issue: the Beneš Decrees.....more
For imitate Publication
(Arlington Feb. 14 2006) The German World Alliance/Deutsche Weltallianz, the world's largest international human rights organization, protecting the rights of Germans, is proud to announce that the "Verband der deutschen Sozial-Kulturellen Gesellschaften" in Polen, the umbrella organization of the German ethnic group in Poland, with 10 constituent organizations and 800,000 members, has joined the GWA/DWA network....more
January 4, 2006
Ohio town rallies behind German student facing deportation
Unable to produce visa, teen is jailed
*GILBOA, Ohio (AP) -- High school student Manuel Bartsch is facing deportation to his native Germany after discovering that his American step-grandfather never completed paperwork eight years ago to make his stay legal in the United States.***
Bartsch, who has been jailed since Christmas, is set to appear at a bail hearing Wednesday in a Cleveland federal court. An immigration judge last week stopped him from being deported until he can have a hearing before an immigration court.....more
December 2, 2005
History Matters: Few know of World War II massacre in Salina
Pat Bagley - The Salt Lake Tribune
The sound of machine-gun fire jolted the young lieutenant from his cot. He stumbled outside, trying to make sense of the pandemonium that greeted him. Screams and moans carried clearly through the night as the chattering gun stopped. Glancing up at the guard tower, he saw smoke rising from the gun barrel. He looked in horror at the riddled tents of German POWs. He shouted to the guard to cease fire - too late - and to come down.
"Send up more ammo!" the guard shouted back. "I'm not done yet!" ....more