Decree of President Dr. Benes of August 2, 1945
concerning the right to Czechoslovak citizenship of persons of German and Magyar nationality
(Decree No. 33)
With regard to the proposal of the Government and in accordance with the Agreement with the Slovak National Council, I decree:
1. Czechoslovak citizens of German or Magyar nationality who acquired German or Magyar citizenship under the regulations of the foreign occupational forces shall have lost their Czechoslovak citizenship by so doing.
2. The other Czechoslovak citizens of German or Magyar nationality shall lose their Czechoslovak citizenship on the day this edict comes into force.
3. This edict does not apply to Germans or Magyars who, during the time of increased threat to the Republic (§ 18 of the Edict of the President of the Republic, dated June 19, 1945, concerning the punishment of National Socialist criminals, traitors and their accomplices and concerning the Special People's Courts), registered as Czechs or Slovaks during the official census.
4. Czechs, Slovaks and persons of other Slav nationalities who during that time professed themselves Germans or Magyars under pressure or under extenuating circumstances shall not be adjudged Germans or Magyars insofar as the Ministry of the Interior, after a thorough examination of the facts quoted, approves the attestation of national reliability as issued by the appropriate District National Committee.
1. Persons to whom the provisions of § 1 are applicable, and who prove that they remained loyal to the Czechoslovak Republic, that they never committed any offence against the Czech and Slovak people, and that they either participated actively in the fight for liberation or suffered under the National Socialist or fascist terror, shall retain Czechoslovak citizenship.
2. The application for a certificate stating that Czech citizenship may be retained can be submitted to the appropriate District National Committee within 6 months of the day this Edict comes into force and, if the applicant resides abroad, can be submitted to the appropriate consular authorities. The result of the application shall be decided by the Ministry of the Interior after considering the recommendation of the Provincial National Committee and, in Slovakia, the proposal of the National Council. The persons in question shall be considered as Czechoslovak citizens until a final decision is made, provided that the District National Committee or the authorities representing it issue a certificate stating the circumstances mentioned above.
3. The retention of Czechoslovak citizenship in the case of Czechoslovak military persons of German or Magyar nationality shall be decided on ex officio in the shortest possible time by the Ministry of the Interior after considering the recommendation of the Ministry of National Defence. Until the official decision is made they shall be considered as Czechoslovak citizens.
Persons who have lost their Czechoslovak citizenship under § 1 may apply to the appropriate District National Committee or the authorities representing it for restitution within 6 months of the date which will be appointed in the promulgation of the Ministry of the Interior and published in the Compilation of Statutes and Enactments. The Ministry of the Interior, after considering the recommendation of the Provincial National Committee - in Slovakia, after considering the recommendation of the Slovak National Council - shall decide the result of such an application after an objective consideration of the case; it shall not approve an application, however, if the applicant has violated his duties as a Czechoslovak citizen. Provided that no Government Decrees stipulate otherwise, the general regulations concerning the acquisition of Czechoslovak citizenship shall apply also to these cases.
1. For the purposes of this Edict, married women and juveniles shall be judged separately.
2. Applications under § 3 submitted by the wives and underage children of Czechoslovak citizens are to be judged with lenience; until a final decision is made the applicants are to be considered as Czechoslovak citizens.
Czechs, Slovaks and members of other nations, who applied for German or Magyar citizenship during the time of the increased threat to the Republic (§ 18 of the Edict of the President of the Republic No. 16/1945, Compilation of Statutes and Enactments) without being forced to do so by reason of pressure or special circumstances, shall lose their Czechoslovak citizenship as of the day on which this Edict comes into force.
This Edict shall become effective as of the date of its publication. It will be carried out by the Minister of the Interior conjointly with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence.
Dr. Beneš Fierlinger
Masaryk Nosek General Svoboda
Documents on the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Survivors speak out