Expulsion of Germans From Czechoslovakia

The expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II was part of a series of evacuations and expulsions of Germans from Central and Eastern Europe during and after World War II.

During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Czech resistance groups, based on Nazi terror during occupation, demanded the deportation of Germans from Czechoslovakia. The decision to deport the Germans was adopted by the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile which, beginning in 1943, sought the support of the Allies for this proposal. The final agreement for the expulsion of the German population however was not reached until 2 August 1945 at the end of the Potsdam Conference.

In the months following the end of the war "wild" expulsions happened from May till August 1945. Czechoslovak President Beneš on October 28, 1945 called for the "final solution of the German question" (Czech: konečné řešení německé otázky) which would have to be "solved" by deportation of the ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia. The expulsions were executed by order of local authorities, mostly by groups of armed volunteers. However in some cases it was initiated or pursued with the assistance of the regular army. Several thousand died violently during the expulsion and more died from hunger and illness as a consequence. The expulsion according to the Potsdam Conference proceeded from 25 January 1946 till October of that year. An estimated 1.6 million ethnic Germans were deported to the American zone of what would become West Germany. An estimated 800,000 were deported to the Soviet zone (in what would become East Germany).

The expulsions ended in 1948 when about 160,000 to 250,000 ethnic Germans remained in Czechoslovakia. After the mid 1950's many were allowed to emigrate to Germany.

The following groups of ethnic Germans were not deported:

  • anti-fascists
  • persons crucial for industries
  • those married to ethnic Czechs

The West German government in 1958 estimated the death toll be about 270,000 This figure has been cited in historical literature since then. Recent research by a joint German and Czech commission of historians in 1995 found that the previous demographic estimates of 220,000 to 270,000 deaths to be overstated and based on faulty information, they concluded that the actual death toll was at least 15,000 persons and that it could range up to a maximum of 30,000 dead if one assumes that some deaths were not reported. The Commission statement also pointed out that German records show 18,889 confirmed deaths including 3,411 suicides. Czech records indicated 22,247 deaths including 6,667 unexplained cases or suicides. The German Church Search Service was able to confirm the deaths of 14,215 persons during the expulsions from Czechoslovakia (6,316 violent deaths, 6,989 in internment camps and 907 in the USSR as forced laborers).

Read more about Expulsion Of Germans From Czechoslovakia:  Plans To Expel The Sudeten Germans, Germans in Czechoslovakia By The Time of The Armistice, Chronology of The Expulsions, Results, Legacy

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