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Czecho-Slovakia Within.
[97]
Appendix A

Only Alterations in the Form of State to be Considered.

Statements made by Herr Kundt, member of the Prague Parliament, to Premier Hodza on August 18th, 1938.

The following quotations from Die Zeit of August 18th, 1938, show that the Sudeten Germans are no longer willing to accept half measures. The report ran as follows:

          "The statement of the Premier that our proposals and the Government drafts are a suitable basis, not only formally, but also actually, for the negotiations is in contrast to the rejecting attitude of the Government and the Coalition Committees. The Government drafts are actually diametrically opposed to the contents of our own draft, and to our conception of the solution to the Nationalities problem. It is, therefore, all the more important, if an agreement is sought, not to discuss partial questions and not to run through the Government draft one paragraph at a time, but to discuss the different points of view, and to see whether and how a common point of view can be reached, from which the partial questions can be arranged.
          "Although the results of our discussion with the Government and the present view of the Government and the Sudeten German Party are still separated by the same gap as before, we are still prepared to negotiate as to how practical alterations in the form of the State, the creation of corresponding conditions, and other similar measures can lead to the solution of the Nationalities problem, and thus of the State crisis on the basis of the eight points demanded by Konrad Henlein at Karlsbad. We wish to point out to you, however, that the patience of our population, who have not as yet seen any sign of goodwill on your part, is not so great as our own. You need not be [98] surprised that Sudeten Germans are driven to feel increasingly great distrust towards you so long as Czech organizations and personages, as well as Government newspapers, show no sign of goodwill, but vie with each other in their attacks on Sudeten Germans and the German people as a whole.
          "It is dangerous, moreover, that the Association of Czecho-Slovakian officers has issued the well-known proclamation, which is diametrically opposed to the assurances of the Government, as well as to the assurances you recently gave. How can the German population believe the assurances of the Government when such a proclamation as that of the officers can appear without being officially disavowed by the Government? Our negotiations can only be continued when not only the statements made at the round table, but also the attitude of the Czech Press, the Czech organizations, and State officials, as well as corresponding measures to create psychological essentials on the part of the Government and the supporting Czech Government parties, prove the announced goodwill to the public.
          "We have not overlooked the repeated emphasis of goodwill on the part of the Premier, and, at the last discussion, also on the part of his colleagues, Meissner, Klapka and Ostrey. But the decisive point is whether this goodwill is really there. For the rest, we return the expressions of goodwill, in the expectation that you, too, will believe in our goodwill, which we have proved despite all the experiences of heretofore. But I must remark that your Press has not acknowledged our good and honest intentions up to now.
          "Unfortunately, I find that the drafts placed before us are in no way other than those expressed in your original statement, and do not approach the actual conditions or our view in any way. Fundamentally, the Government drafts are nothing more or less than a codification of constitutional principles, legal regulations and administrative practice, all of which are the cause of the present state of affairs. We shall also be able to prove that the drafts pay special attention to the way in which the Czechs who have been moved to the German area since 1918 can be safeguarded, whereas the sense of a new arrangement is not the petrification of the injustice which has developed [99] since 1918, but a guarantee of full equality - not only for all citizens, but also for all peoples and groups of peoples within the State.
          "When the Premier, in the name of the Government, tries to prove that there is no purely German area, it is noticeable that he bases this on figures of the position caused by the State and State-assisted measures since 1918. The attitude of the Government is to ignore the demands of our draft of June 7th, and thus to refuse the establishment of national administration units based on the state of the population in 1918. They will never be able to make us accept the results of the Czechishization (sic) action in our German homeland.
          "For the Government to demand the establishment of the national self-administration in the framework of the territorial self-administrative associations of heretofore means that our proposal of the sole practical and necessary form of real self-government is rejected.
          "On the other hand, I assert that it is impossible to bridge the gap between the proposal of the Government and our proposal, since you start out with absolutely different and actually contradictory views. You regard the State as solely your State, which has to serve your needs first of all. You thus regard yourselves as the only nation entitled to lead the State. You grant the other nationalities and groups only a subordinate position with all its attendant results. You thus regard the Sudeten Germans merely as a minority, only give them special protective rights, and create for them extraordinary regulations.
          "We, on the other hand, desire and demand a form of State which grants us no special protective or extraordinary rights, and which does not disqualify us as a minority. We want the German group to be the partner with full rights of the Czech people, and to have our people assured of the same political and legal position.
          "Your view of the Czecho-Slovakian Republic as your national State has resulted up to the present day in the position that the non-Czech nationalities and groups could only have minority rights in all State institutions, and never equality, so that, for example, the non-Czech representatives in Parliament [100] of the nationalities and groups are perpetually minorities, and thus helpless in view of the majority decisions of the Czech Parliament majority. That this is to remain so is emphasized by the statement of the Premier:
      It is clear that Parliament, as the representative of the unitary State sovereignty, cannot be dissolved into Partial organs of State, by which the activity of the central body would be restricted.
          "Your proposal would maintain and strengthen your domination by means of majority decisions, even in the name of self-administration in the different areas. Your drafts, and the words of the Premier, show not the slightest sign of concessions in the direction of the sectioning of the State and central authorities, as proposed by us. The central system is, therefore, to be retained. In this way the democracy in this country remains a dictatorship of the constant national group which is numerically in the majority. We, on the other hand, must stand by our attitude which demands from the State that certain questions specially touching the vital interests of the different nationalities and groups should not be decided by the mechanical, purely arithmetical, and permanent Czech Parliament and Diet majorities alone.
          "We do not go so far as to demand the dissolution of the central Parliament nor do we break up the main central authorities. But we demand the legal and technical measures which ensure the corresponding position of the different nationalities and groups in the central Parliament and in the central authoritative body. Your view of the State means that a Czech majority exists even in each self-governing province. The Czech national State views are, therefore to come into full play in the administration of the areas, so as to guarantee the unrestricted Czech domination in and of the units of the State. We shall prove that the national curiæ in the areas form no obstacle.
          "According to the Sudeten German view of the State, a nationality State can only be practically and lastingly formed when real self-administration is introduced in its borders for the different nationalities and groups.
          [101] "You see in the predominance of the Czechish people the being and vital law of the Czecho-Slovakian Republic.
          "We regard such a state of affairs as unprincipled, impracticable, and as a constant danger to the peace of Central Europe.
          "We wish for a common exercise of rule by practically regulated collaboration of the peoples and groups living in the Czecho-Slovakian Republic.
          "You do not wish to take any cognizance of the nationalities and groups as such in a legal and other sense in the legal scheme.
          "According to your views, the Czech language must be given absolute predominance.
          "In our opinion, the equality of the languages of the nationalities and groups must be established."



 
[102]
Appendix B

The census figures, to which I have already referred, cannot be taken as showing the true percentage of non-Czechs. If 3,400,000 people claimed Sudeten German nationality at a non-secret Czech census, we may be sure their numbers are really higher, but that the others, to prevent dismissal or other forms of persecution, preferred to call themselves Czechs. Seven hundred thousand said they were Hungarians. But who would be surprised if this number were much larger? Supposing a secret census, on the lines of a British election, were taken. What would happen?

One is entitled to assume that these official figures are not reliable. On the contrary, we can be almost sure that there are really about 800,000 Hungarians, 4,000,000 Sudeten Germans, 200,000 Poles, 2,700,000 Slovaks, 600,000 Ruthenians, and 30,000 Rumanians who have become citizens of the Czech Republic against their will. On this basis, which is certainly much nearer the truth than the other figures, we find that in reality the Czechs are a minority. The population is, therefore, made up roughly as follows:

      Czechs 45.5%
      Germans 25.0%
      Slovaks 17.7%
      Hungarians       5.3%
      Ruthenians 3.3%
      Poles 1.7%
      Jews 1.5%
In other words, the Czechs themselves are also a minority, and there is no nationality which numbers 50% in all.

The following statistics, which are undisputed, show that I have good grounds for these assumptions.

[103] Between the years 1880 and 1910 the German population of the area now known as Czecho-Slovakia rose by about 565,000, i.e. by about 19.3%. In the same period, the Czech population rose by 1,200,000 or 24%. If the results of the first Czecho-Slovakian census of 1921 are compared with those of the Austrian census of 1910, a remarkable contrast will be seen between the German and Czech population curves. While the Czech population grew by 345,000 or 16.2%, the Germans fell by 519,000, or 14%.

Such a trend cannot be explained by any natural process. On the other hand, it is obviously the result of different statistic methods. The Austrian census was taken according to the mother tongue of the people; the Czech according to the nationality which the people acknowledged. This "acknowledgment," however, enabled the Czechs to make use of their political and social powers to influence members of the different nationalities. Promises and threats may well have persuaded many of the Sudeten Germans, Hungarians and Poles to "acknowledge themselves" as Czechs. I had a clear example of this recently in Prague, when a man who could not speak more than a dozen words of Czech told me that he "considered himself a Czech" since he was a Czecho-Slovakian citizen. His case was not a proof of pressure on the minorities, for he was a naturalized Czech subject. But he showed me his passport, and said he was proud to be a Czech. Czechs whom I questioned admitted they regarded such a man as a "Czecho-Slovakian," despite the fact that he knew no Czech. The Czechs are pleased to have anyone "acknowledge" themselves to be Czech.

This method of influencing the census figures was clearly possible, since, as already remarked, the census officials in numerous cases filled in the forms themselves. The census of 1930 was officially on the basis of the mother tongue of the people, but the principles of the previous census, the "acknowledgment" of nationality, were often applied. In cases of marriages between a Czech and a non-Czech the whole family was registered as Czech, for example. The establishment of Jews as a separate "nationality" in Czecho-Slovakia also led to a change. Every Jew, even though he had no knowledge [104] of Hebrew or Yiddish, was registered separately, and the Hungarian minority claim they lost 65,000 of their votes in this manner. In mixed areas, the Jews thus have at times a key position, numerically speaking.

One especially noticeable happening was reported in the organ of the Czech Social Democratic Workers' Party, the Pravo Lidu. Two census officials had to be selected in a community with 578 non-Czech and two Czech inhabitants. The result was: two Czech census officials, and 578 non-Czechs who were not selected for the post.

It is clear that the census figures are of the greatest importance, for upon them the size of the various nationalities is based. But the modern statistics do not look correct, even to the most casual observer.

For example, in 1880 there were 2,900,000 Germans in the area now Czecho-Slovakia, while in 1930 this figure had only risen to 3,200,000 or by about 10%. In the same period, the Czech population rose by 45%. It is natural enough for the population to grow, and if we compare the growth of the German population in other areas for the same period, we shall find it is immensely higher than 10%. In 1921, when the Slovaks had not as yet awakened to their fate, similar conditions prevailed between them and the Hungarians. The latter suddenly fell in number, while the Slovak population grew, as compared with 1910. Remarkably enough, the total Slovak and Hungarian population reached in 1921 just the same figure as in 1910.

One might argue that doctoring a few figures would make little difference, but this is an error. Precisely 20% of the population of an area must at least acknowledge one nationality in order to have the right to make use of their own language. Supposing in a given area that of 300,000 people there are 60,000 Sudetens. They may use their own language. It only requires one of them to be registered as a Czech, and the whole situation changes. Naturally, it often enough happens that there are 20.1%, 20.05%, or 19.9%, 19.85% or the like Germans or Hungarians, Poles or others in a district. The small fraction per cent. decides their fate. Registering (say) all who cannot read or write as Czech, since they could not understand what [105] was being done in any case, would often turn a legal minority into a number below 20%. That is why I insist that only impartial foreigners should be in charge of a plebiscite. Whatever nationality in Czecho-Slovakia did it there would be no satisfaction. Even if the figures were correct, the "losing parties" would continue to believe they had been deceived. And one cannot deny that a census official would have the opportunity of falsification, which by no means implies that he would make use of it. As, however, mainly Czechs have been census officials up to now, the other nationalities would never agree to the results. I am convinced that the figures I have already quoted would be confirmed by such a plebiscite.


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