Bohemia 40 (1999), 2

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Bohemia 40 (1999), 2
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München 1999: Oldenbourg Verlag
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Bohemia. Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der böhmischen Länder
Dr. Stephanie Weiss, Collegium Carolinum e.V., Hochstr. 8, 81669 München
Jaroschka, Gabriele


Katharina Eisch
Borderland, no-man’s-land: An Ethnographic approach to the Germans in Bohemia
In the middle of the 1990s, an ethnographic research project dealt with ethnic Germans - now Czech nationals - living even today in the border regions of Bohemia: a group far remote from the big Sudeten German-Czech debates and arguments, a group which has been marginalized since the end of the war. The research focused on the identity and collective memory of this "disappearing minority", so far as they could be ascertained in concrete, visible phenomena of the field as well as in strata more removed from the surface, such as memories, tales and traditions. An open methodology combining processual and dialogic aspects made it possible to resolve the problem of an at first rather irritating rejection of a "German identity" and of the Sudeten German discussion as a whole by the interviewees. What was found was a different, rather unexpected notion of diverging identities, an awareness of the potential for compromise as well as for conflict inherent in ethnically mixed communities, an awareness stemming from own experience, an inherited bi-national competence as well as from the fact that ethnic and national identity constructs had lost all their attraction in the course of the German-Czech catastrophe. In modern Europe this knowledge is more up-to-date and necessary than ever.

Steffen Höhne
Ethnic discourse in the Bohemian lands
This study represents a philological contribution to the analysis of the pre-1848 "German-Czech conflict community". Proceeding from the question how communication about other ethnic groups takes place or how alien ethnic groups are constituted and constructed in the process of communication, it examines a concrete example, the "Laube-Kaufmann controversy" which took place in 1843 in the "Zeitung für die elegante Welt" and in the "Komet" (both Leipzig-based), in an attempt to sketch the communicative process of creating, stabilizing, and altering national and ethnic categories. How do social groups create and change specific dispositions of recognition (what people know), of emotion (what people feel), of intention (what people want), and of prescription (what people ought to) - this is the main question.

Freia Anders-Baudisch
Nazi Special Courts in the "Reichsgau Sudetenland", 1940 - 1945, and their jurisdiction
This article is based on an examination of the jurisdiction of the Nazi Special Courts at Eger (Cheb), Leitmeritz (Litomerice), and Troppau (Opava), which functioned in the so-called Reichsgau Sudetenland between 1940 and 1945. They conducted mainly trials pertaining to the law against insidious anti-state activities, the decree on extraordinary measures concerning radio broadcasts, the ban on contacts with PoWs, the decree on wartime economy and the decree against "anti-social elements". Apart from describing difficulties and conflicts arising as a consequence of installing the Nazi legal system in occupied territory, the author singles out the Eger court to furnish quantitative data and representative verdicts, thus demonstrating possible connections between the sanctions routinely applied, progressive changes, the social position of the convicts and the composition of the judiciary. Apparently, the Eger court may serve as a dependable model for the development of the institution of the Special Courts as a quasi-legal instrument for enforcing Nazi perceptions of society and racial hierarchy using the means of traditional bureaucracy, contributing as it did, the further into the war the more, to the realisation of the hegemonial ambitions of the German Reich and to jurisdiction becoming more and more arbitrary.

Karl Braun
The library in Theresienstadt, 1942 - 1945: the role of a reading institution in the "final resolution of the Jewish question"
The present study represents the intersection of different research approaches in cultural science: the general research into the extermination of European Jewry undertaken by the Nazis, research into culture and way of life in the Theresienstadt (Terezín) "model ghetto", and, in the sphere of reading research, examining organizations, institutions and conditions of reading on the background of the genocide.
The principal target of the study is the question whether meaningful cultural work is possible in the face of the reign of totalitarianism and violence. The object selected is the "Jewish settlement" Theresienstadt, with its special role in the Nazi extermination plan being taken into account. Theresienstadt, set up in 1941 as "family and destination camp" (no transports further east) for the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia with "self administration" by Prague Zionists, became the "Jewish old-age ghetto" of the whole Reich in 1942. The project of the Prague Zionists was jeopardized by difficulties resulting from the Czech Jews being mixed with German and Austrian Jews. The specific organization of the Theresienstadt library under Emil Utitz, however, had its merits as an attempt at reaching a settlement between differing national groups by purposeful cultural work.

Stefan Laube
The Organization Todt in Prague
The longer the war continued, the greater became the economic and strategic importance of the Bohemian region for Nazi Germany’s wartime economy, which was in the process of becoming a planned economy. In the Protectorate, important plants of the machine-building industry were situated, while in the Reichsgau Sudetenland, the synthetic oil plant at Brüx (Most) was the focus of Allied bombing and Nazi countermeasures. A cornerstone of these reactions was the Organization Todt. Assigned to the Ministry of Armament, but enjoying a great deal of independence, it combined technical know-how and entrepreneurial skills with rather military views and manners.
The author examines the Organization Todt in order to illustrate some aspects of the wartime economy and the occupational regime in the Protectorate during the last year of the war which have been neglected so far. First, there is the question of organizational structure, in particular how to draw a line between the Prague-based "Einsatzgruppe VII" of the Organization Todt, which was also responsible for Silesia, on one hand and "Wehrmacht", SS, Party branches and civil service in the occupied territory on the other. But moral issues, such as the relentless exploitation of non-nationals for the illusory military objectives of the Nazi regime, come to the fore as well. Including prison inmates and Jews, the use of forced labor in the Bohemian lands by the OT amounted to 70 000 persons. The circumstances in which these had to serve are a focal point of the present contribution.

Gerhard Trapp and Peter Heumos
Antibarbaros - Johannes Urzidil’s Contributions in the Media of the Czechoslovak Government-in-exile, 1940 - 1945
During his London exile from August 1939 until January 1941, Johannes Urzidil continued his journalistic work with critical contributions of a cultural and political nature which were unequivocally directed at the Nazi regime. Obviously, they were written in the expectation that the Czechoslovak republic would continue to exist in a democratic way, including the German part of the population, once the war had ended. As had been prearranged with representatives of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London, his contributions in "Cechoslovak v Anglii" and other media of that government started to appear in March 1940. At first, Urzidil remained loyal to the politics of Edvard Benes and kept his distance to the social democratic Sudeten German exile in Britain headed by Wenzel Jaksch. Even after Urzidil arrived at his permanent exile in New York in February 1941, he continued to contribute to the CvA with the consent of Benes. The changing positions of the government-in-exile concerning the ethnic Germans in the ČSR after the war and the Sudeten German exile are mirrored in the rapidly decreasing frequency of Urzidil’s contributions, climaxing in Urzidil terminating his co-operation as of November 1945. His contributions, of which there were 51, appeared until 1941 in German, later in Czech, some of them under the pseudonym "Antibarbaros".

Joachim Lilla
Representation of the "Reichsgau Sudetenland" and of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in the German Reichstag
For the by-elections to the German Reichstag in December 1938, a so-called "Führer list" was compiled containing the election proposals for the Sudeten German region and listing all 67 officially approved candidates. The first three slots were occupied by Adolf Hitler, Konrad Henlein, and Karl Hermann Frank. The remaining 64 parliamentarians were listed alphabetically. To whom of them the 41 open Reichstag seats were allocated was up to NSDAP floor leader Frick. Remarkably, after the founding of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the nominees representing the new administrative body came from the region itself, a principle which by then was hardly observed any more in the "Old Reich".
Reichstag membership appears to have been remarkably attractive in view of the lack of significance of this institution in the period 1939 - 1942. The principal reason for this may bee seen in the fact that with the Reichstag membership came worthwhile financial benefits as well as a lot of prestige.
Going by the "Führer list", this contribution presents brief biographies for all Sudeten German Reichstag members, including the ones representing the Protectorate.

Robert Luft
Changes ahead for "Bohemian Studies" in Germany?
The scientific environment is experiencing changes, with the result that traditional demarcations between subjects, according to faculty affiliation and methods of research, are disappearing. Regardless whether the subject will continue to exist independently, with several subdivisions, or evolve into something resembling Bohemian area studies, the fact of the ongoing change is enough of a reason to give the interdisciplinary study of Bohemian history, culture, and contemporary developments some thought, and to attempt to take an inventory along institutional lines. Only if it comes up with fresh approaches and manages to overcome the hitherto dominating preoccupation with things exclusively Bohemian, will Bohemian studies gain attention in the general scientific discourse. A way to get there could be projects which either devote themselves to phenomena which can rightly be called exemplary, or have an interdisciplinary, comparative approach. In the framework of the humanities and cultural and social studies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Bohemian studies, with its subject which is often closely related to German developments, could make a valuable contribution to the elucidation of structures, connections and patterns of thought on a European scale.

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