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Sign of the Times:

Even Fellow Countrymen Deny the Brünn Massacre!

Report by Eleonora Bolter-Schwella, Karlsruhe, Germany

I spent Christmas 2000 in South Bohemia, in Budweis. The members of our bus tour group were almost exclusively locals from Karlsruhe and surroundings. Our excursions took us through cities enjoying protection as historical monuments: Krummau, Prachatitz with its marvelous sgraffito facades, past Renaissance castles to Neuhaus and Teltsch. In all the towns we visited, evidence of their German past was visible in the form of inscriptions, damaged or faded by the passage of the years, on the venerable old houses. The squares and thoroughfares visited by the tourists sported colorful and renovated house facades, a pleasing sight; but outside the main centers of attraction, decay and destruction had left their mark.

Prompted by the fragments of German inscriptions, I felt called to alert my fellow tourists to the German history of the Sudetenland. For my troubles I was met with ignorance, even a lack of understanding, and was informed that, hey, we were in "Czechia"! My references to formerly German territories and the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans were not taken seriously. This is Czechia. Why should Germans ever have lived here, I was told. I was shocked by such a degree of ignorance on the part of fellow German citizens. After repeated attempts at enlightenment I was just about to give up, when I became aware of a Brünn-born fellow tourist my own age. I expected that he would support my position. I raised the subject of the Death March of Brünn - but was immediately interrupted, with the claim that a forced march with loss of life, brought about by massacres, had never taken place. The gentleman claimed to have been on the march in question as a child. Elderly and ill people and children had sometimes remained lying exhausted in the ditches, he admitted; and perhaps they may have died afterwards. But the only ones ever to be beaten and possibly killed, he said, were Czech collaborators who had previously dealt with the Nazis, and the accounts of the so-called death march were part invention, part gross exaggeration. After this dispute I gave up on my efforts to educate my fellow travelers about historical facts. The tour guide from Prague constantly evaded my questions and objections anyway. In all her comments on the sights she never once mentioned the region's German past and the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans with a single word.

The tour agenda also included a visit to a museum of Christmas cribs (nativity scenes). According to the posted prices, admission was 10 Czech crowns, a very modest sum. When our Czech tour guide returned from the counter and announced that admission for foreigners was 30 crowns, I protested loudly and left the building. Aside from three or four persons, all the other tour members followed my lead. This was not a matter of money, it was a matter of principle. In Germany such an "anti-foreigner" policy would not be tolerated. We had a similar experience in a restaurant, which we visited as German tour group and where we were charged DM 15.00 for a bowl of cabbage soup and a plate of barley, a meal worth perhaps DM 2.00.

It is more than sad that the majority of the German people take no interest in their true history, that some fellow Sudeten Germans ignore the truth, and that our politicians favor the admission to the European Union of a candidate nation that meets none of the requirements for it.

[Emphasis added by The Scriptorium.]