Edict of the President of the Republic, dated May 19, 1945
Concerning the Invalidity of Transactions Involving Property Rights from the Time of the Oppression and Concerning the National Administration of Property Assets of Germans, Magyars, Traitors and Collaborators and of Certain Organizations and Associations
(Decree No. 5)
Upon proposition of the Government I decree:
1. All transfers and transactions involving property rights, regardless of whether they involve movable or immovable, public or private property, are invalid provided that they have been made under the pressure of the occupation or under the national, racial or political persecution after October 29, 1938.
2. The manner in which claims arising by virtue of the provision of Subsection 1 shall be raised will be prescribed in a particular edict of the President of the Republic, provided that it has not been prescribed in this edict.
1. The property of persons upon whom the country cannot place reliance, being within the territory of the Czech Republic, will be placed under national administration in accordance with the further provisions of this edict.
2. Property transferred by such persons after October 29, 1938 shall also be deemed to be property of persons upon whom the country cannot rely, unless the person acquiring such property had no knowledge of the fact that property of such nature was involved.
All enterprises and all property assets shall be taken under national administration wherever this is required in the interests of continuous production and economic life. This applies especially to production plants and other enterprises which have been deserted and to property assets relinquished or to such facilities or such property assets which are in the possession of, or administered by, or leased to persons upon whom the country cannot rely.
The following shall be considered to be persons upon whom the country cannot rely:
a) Persons of German or Magyar nationality,
b) Persons whose activities have been directed against the governmental authority, independence, integrity, democratic-republican system, security and strength of the Czechoslovak Republic, who instigated such activities or tended to induce other persons to take such actions, and intentionally supported the German and Magyar occupiers in any manner whatsoever. As such supporters shall be considered, for example: The members of Vlajka Rodobrana, the Advance Battalions of the Hlinka-Guard, the leading officers of the Association for the Cooperation with the Germans, of the Czech League against Bolshevism, of the Curatory for Education of the Czech Youth, of the national Central Association of Employees, of the Association for Agriculture and Forestry, of the German-Slovak Association, and of other fascist organizations of similar nature.
Those juristic persons shall be deemed persons upon whom the country cannot rely, whose administration has intentionally and knowingly served the Germans or Magyars in carrying on the war, or has served fascist or Nazi purposes.
As persons of German and Magyar nationality shall be considered those who on the occasion of any census since 1929 acknowledged their German or Magyar nationality or who became members of national groups or organizations or political parties in which persons of German or Magyar nationality were united.
1. Competent to take property under national administration are:
2. In the event that the estimated value of the property listed under e) and f) is in dispute once it is placed under national administration, then said value shall be determined finally by a higher authority.
3. In communities and districts in which an administrative commission or an administrative officer has been appointed in place of the národní výbor (National Committee), the former are competent to establish the national administration.
1. A decision within the meaning of § 7 which relates to enterprises listed in § 7 a), b), c), d), shall be rendered upon consent of the works-council or of other representatives of the employees of the enterprises. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, then a higher authority shall have the power of decision.
2. The decision concerning agricultural and forested estates of more than 50 hectares shall be rendered upon hearing of the competent National Committee.
In emergency cases, especially if a deserted estate is involved or if persons the country cannot rely on control the estate or the enterprise, the Okresní národní výbor (District National Committee) is authorized to appoint a temporary national custodian for the time until the decision of the authority competent according to § 7 has been rendered, even if it would not otherwise be competent to do so.
1. The competent Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee), in Slovakia the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council), upon hearing the works-council, may modify ex officio the decision of the Okresní národní výbor (District National Committee) or of the Místní národní výbor (Local National Committee) concerning the establishment of the administration or the appointment of national custodians and take other measures, if the public interest requires it.
2. The competent Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee), in Slovakia the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council), shall also take measures to establish the national administration in cases where the Okresní or Místní výbor (District or Local National Committee) has been unable to do so.
The national administration shall be terminated as soon as the reasons for its establishment cease to exist. It shall be terminated by the authority by which it was established.
1. All co-operative enterprises and organizations (agricultural, consumers and banking co-operatives etc.) shall be under temporary national administration. Such temporary national administration shall secure the election of a new leading organ within 4 weeks in addition to the proper operation of the enterprise.
2. Those competent to place cooperatives under national administration are: the Místní národní výbor (Local National Committee) if the scope of their operation does not go beyond the local area, the Okresní národní výbor (District National Committee) if the scope of their operations goes beyond the local area but does not exceed the district area, and the Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee) - in Slovakia the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council) - with respect to any other cooperatives.
3. Before the cooperatives are placed under temporary national administration, their members shall be heard, if possible.
4. The temporary national administration shall be terminated as soon as the members of the cooperative have elected a new administrative organ.
The competent Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee) - in Slovakia the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council) - may also place business institutions, economic, cultural and interested organisations and institutions under national administration, for good reasons shown.
1. The decision concerning the imposition and release from national administration, and the appointment of the national custodian and the cancellation thereof, shall be announced in writing.
2. A copy of the decision shall be forwarded to the Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee), in Slovakia to the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council).
The decision according to §14 is carried out ex officio:
a) with respect to immovable property, by the competent court, which has to make the entries in the land register evidencing the placing under national administration,
b) with respect to mining rights, by the competent court or office, which shall make the entries in the mineral land registers or records evidencing the placing under national administration,
c) with respect to enterprises (business institutions) registered in the commercial register, or in Slovakia by the firms register, by the competent court, which shall make the entries evidencing their placing under national administration.
1. A national custodian can only be a person who is possessed of high moral standards, upon whom the country can rely, and who has the necessary training and practical knowledge.
2. As a rule persons shall not be appointed national custodians who are debtors or creditors of the enterprise (business institution) or property unless the authority competent according to § 7 decides otherwise, for good reason given.
3. As a rule the national administration shall consist of competent employees of the business institution concerned.
4. A member of the Národní výbor (National Committee) competent according to § 7 shall not be appointed national custodian.
1. In cases of smaller properties, small enterprises, small factories and similar objects a single national custodian may be appointed for several enterprises or properties.
2. If the extent of the national administration requires it, the authority competent according to § 7 may appoint a five-man commission national custodian which shall manage the administration in accordance with the majority principle.
Upon their assumption of office the national custodians shall take an oath before the authority competent according to § 7 that they will perform their duties accurately and with the diligence of a prudent manager in accordance with economic, national and other interests.
In the performance of their functions the national custodians have the position of public authorities within the meaning of § 68 of the Criminal Code of May 27, 1852, No. 117 R.G.Bl., § 461 of the Law, Article V/1878 and § 5 of the Law, Article XI/1914.
1. Legal transactions of the owners, possessors and managers of properties subject to national administration, which affect the substance of such properties and have been carried out after this Edict had become effective, are invalid.
2. It is the duty of the owners, possessors and managers of properties placed under national administration, not to interfere with the transactions of the national custodians.
The national custodian administers the property placed under national administration and has the right and the duty to engage in all transactions necessary for its normal conduct of business. It is his duty to act with the diligence and care of a prudent manager and he shall be liable for damage resulting from negligence in the performance of his duties.
1. The national custodian has the duty to give account to the authority competent according to § 7 with respect to his management, at such times as determined by such authority, and to provide necessary information or explanations requested at any time.
2. Transactions of the national custodian which are not incidental to the normal conduct of business, as well as transactions of particular importance, leases, negotiation of loans, mortgages, liquidations and similar transactions require approval in advance by the authority competent according to § 7.
3. The authority competent according to § 7 supervises the management of the national custodian.
4. It is the duty of the national custodian to follow the rules which have been established for him by the authority competent according to § 7 or by the superior of the Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee), or by the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council) in Slovakia, or by the competent Ministry in cases where the activities of the enterprise (business institution) extend to the whole country.
The national custodian is entitled to be reimbursed for expenses incurred and to a compensation the amount of which shall be fixed by the authority competent according to § 7. These expenditures shall be charged against the property placed under administration.
1. Property placed under national administration which was owned by workers, farmers, tradesmen, owners of small and medium-sized enterprises, officials, by persons who have a liberal profession and persons in a similar social position and which property has been lost by them in consequence of national, political or racial persecution shall be released from the national administration and be returned immediately to the former owners or their heirs provided that they are not persons referred to under § 4.
2. Persons referred to under § 4 Subsection a), provided that they are workers, farmers, tradesmen, owners of small or medium-sized enterprises, officials or have a liberal profession, and persons in a similar social position, or their heirs, may also request the release of their property from the national administration and the return thereof to them, provided that they offer sufficient proof that they have been victims of political or racial persecution and that they have adhered faithfully to the democratic-republican system of the Czechoslovak Republic.
3. Decisions on such requests are rendered by the authority competent according to § 7.
4. Any other property confiscated remains under national administration pending the enactment of new laws.
1. Appeal against the decision of the Místní národní výbor (Local National Committee) may be filed with the Okresní národní výbor (District National Committee) which renders the final decision.
2. Appeal against the decision of the Okresní národní výbor (District National Committee) rendered by the latter as first instance may be filed with the Zemský národní výbor (Provincial National Committee), or with the Slovenská národní rada (Slovak National Council) in Slovakia.
3. An appeal shall have no dilatory effect.
a) Whoever violates or evades the provisions of this edict, especially anyone who interferes with or makes impossible the authorized transactions of a national custodian, or
b) a national custodian who intentionally or by reason of gross negligence violates any of the duties imposed upon him under the aforegoing provisions,
shall be punished by imprisonment not to exceed 5 years and by a fine not to exceed 10 million Kčs, and his property shall be ordered confiscated in whole or in part if the circumstances call for it, provided that the act does not constitute an offense subject to more severe punishment.
The Government shall be authorized to allot the financial means required for the operation of the enterprises (business institutions) placed under national administration provided that such operation is necessary and in the interests of the economy.
1. This edict shall become effective on the day of its publication.
2. It will be carried out by the Government.
Dr. Eduard Beneš Zd. FierlingerGottwald, Srámek, David, Ján Ursíny, Siroký, Václ. Nosek, Dr. V. Srobár, Pietor, Dr. H. Ripka, J. Duris, Dr. Soltész, A. Procházka, Svoboda, Nejedlý, gen. Hasal, Frant. Hála, J. Stránský, V. Majer, B. Lausman, Dr. V. Clementis, téz za min. J. Masaryka, gen. Dr. Ferjencik, J. Lichner
Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Survivors speak out