Karl Hermann Frank

Karl Hermann Frank (24 January 1898 – 22 May 1946) was a prominent Sudeten German Nazi official in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia prior to and during World War II. Attaining the rank of Obergruppenführer, he was in command of the Nazi police apparatus in the Protectorate, including the Gestapo, the SD, and the Kripo. After the war, Frank was tried, convicted and executed for his role in organizing the massacres of the people of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky.

Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank RF-SS (cropped)
Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia
In office
August 1942 – May 1945
PresidentAdolf Hitler (as Führer)
ChancellorAdolf Hitler
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born24 January 1898
Karlsbad, Kingdom of Bohemia, Austria-Hungary
Died22 May 1946 (aged 48)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Political partyNazi Party
SS career
Allegiance Nazi Germany
RankObergruppenführer
Commands heldHigher SS and Police Leader for Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
AwardsWar Merit Cross with Swords, 2nd and 1st Class[1]

Early life

Born in Karlsbad, Bohemia, in Austria-Hungary (present-day Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic), Frank was taught by his father (a proponent of Georg Ritter von Schönerer's policies) about nationalist agitation. Frank attempted to enlist in the Austro-Hungarian Army in World War I, but he was rejected due to blindness in his right eye.[2] He spent a year at the law school of the German language Charles University in Prague and worked as a tutor to make money.[2]

An extreme advocate of the incorporation of the Sudetenland into Germany, Frank joined the German National Socialist Workers' Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei; DNSAP) by 1923 and was involved in setting up several DNSAP chapters in northern Bohemia and Silesia.[2] In 1925, Frank opened a book store which specialized in National-Socialist literature. Frank joined and helped organize the Sudeten-German Homeland Front (SdH) in 1933, which officially became the Sudeten German Party (SdP) in 1935. He then worked in the SdP public relations and propaganda department.[3]

In 1935, Frank became deputy leader of the SdP and was elected a member of the Czechoslovak Parliament. Coming to represent the most radical National Socialists in the SdP, Frank was made Deputy Gauleiter of the Sudetenland when it became part of Germany in October 1938.[4] Frank officially joined the Nazi Party and SS on 1 November 1938.[5]

World War II

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1972-039-28, Heydrich und K.-H. Frank in Prag
Frank with Heydrich and Böhme, September 1941

In 1939, Frank was promoted to SS-Gruppenführer and appointed Secretary of State of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia under Reich Protector Konstantin von Neurath.[4] Himmler also named him the protectorate's Higher SS and Police Leader, making him its ranking SS officer. Although nominally under Neurath, Frank wielded great power in the protectorate.[6] He controlled the Nazi police apparatus in the Protectorate, including the Gestapo, the SD, and the Kripo.[7]

As Secretary of State and chief of police, Frank pursued a policy of harsh suppression of dissident Czechs and pushed for the arrest of Bohemia and Moravia's Prime Minister, Alois Eliáš. These actions by Frank were countered by Neurath's "soft approach" to the Czechs thereby encouraging anti-German resistance by strikes and sabotage.[8] This frustrated Frank and led to him secretly working to discredit Neurath.[8]

Hitler's decision to adopt a more radical approach in Bohemia and Moravia should have worked in Frank's favor. Hitler relieved Neurath of his active duties on 23 September 1941, though he still remained Reich Protector on paper. Frank hoped to be appointed as Deputy Protector and day-to-day head of the protectorate, but was passed over in favor of Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was brought in to enforce policy, fight resistance to the Nazi regime, and keep up production quotas of Czech motors and arms that were "extremely important to the German war effort".[8] The working relationship between Frank and Heydrich was a good one as they both were ambitious and brutal.[9] They launched a reign of terror in the protectorate, arresting and killing opponents and ramping up the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. According to Heydrich, between 4,000 and 5,000 people were arrested and between 400 and 500 were executed by February 1942.[10]

Massacre of Lidice

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1993-020-26A, Lidice, Ort nach Zerstörung
Destruction of Lidice

When Heydrich was assassinated in 1942, Frank was once again passed over for promotion to Deputy Protector; Kurt Daluege was chosen instead. Daluege and Frank were instrumental in initiating the destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky in order to take revenge on the Czech populace for Heydrich's death. When it came to the population of Lidice, Frank ordered Horst Böhme, the SiPo and SD chief in Prague, to shoot all the men, send all the women to concentration camps, and place those few children considered worthy of "Germanization" in the care of SS families in Germany, with the rest being murdered.[11]

Bundesarchiv Bild 121-1354, Kurt Daluege in Prag
Emil Hácha (in the background), State President of Bohemia and Moravia, Daluege and Frank, September 1942

Under Daluege, Frank continued to consolidate his power, and by the time Wilhelm Frick was appointed Reich Protector in 1943, Frank was the most powerful official in Bohemia and Moravia.[12] In August 1942, he was made a Minister of State as Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia. In June 1943, he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police in Prague. Frank was also made a General of the Waffen-SS.[13]

Anti-partisan operations

In 1944, he personally conducted anti-partisan warfare in Moravia aimed at destroying the Jan Žižka partisan brigade. Despite the deployment of 13,000 soldiers and summary executions of civilians suspected of supporting the partisans, the Germans were unable to destroy the partisan brigade and falsely concluded that the threat had been eliminated.[14]

Trial and execution

Frank was arrested by U.S. Army troops in the area of Rokycany on 9 May 1945. He was extradited to the People's Court in Prague and tried in 1946. After being convicted of war crimes and the destruction of Lidice and Ležáky, Frank was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 22 May 1946 in the courtyard of the Pankrác Prison in Prague, before 5,000 onlookers.[1] He was buried in an anonymous pit at Prague's Ďáblice cemetery.

Personal life

Frank was married twice. On 21 January 1925 he married Anna Müller (born 5 January 1899 in Karlsbad). The couple had two sons Harald, born 20 January 1926, and Gerhard, born 22 April 1931. They divorced on 17 February 1940 and later that year, Müller married Karl-Hermann's successor as deputy Gauleiter of Sudetenland, SA-Brigadeführer Dr. Fritz Köllner. On 14 April 1940 Frank remarried a physician, Karola Blaschek (born 13 August 1913 in Brüx). The couple had three children together, two daughters Edda, (born 16 August 1941) and Holle-Sigrid (born 8 March 1944), and a son Wolf-Dietrich (born 20 August 1942).[15]

References

  1. ^ a b Miller 2006, p. 362.
  2. ^ a b c Miller 2006, p. 356.
  3. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 356, 357.
  4. ^ a b Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 290.
  5. ^ Miller 2006, p. 355.
  6. ^ Miller 2006, p. 358.
  7. ^ Suchánková 2013, p. 11.
  8. ^ a b c Williams 2003, p. 82.
  9. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 359, 364.
  10. ^ Bryant 2007, pp. 140–143.
  11. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 359–360.
  12. ^ Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, pp. 290, 291.
  13. ^ Miller 2006, pp. 355, 359–360.
  14. ^ Hrošová 2012, pp. 93–105.
  15. ^ Miller 2006, p. 364.

Bibliography

  • Bryant, Chad Carl (2007). Prague in Black: Nazi Rule and Czech Nationalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02451-9.
  • Hrošová, Marie (2012), Na každém kroku boj (1st ed.), Nové Město u Chlumce nad Cidlinou: Český svaz bojovníků za svobodu, ISBN 978-80-260-2483-5
  • Miller, Michael (2006). Leaders of the SS and German Police, Vol. 1. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-93-297-0037-2.
  • Suchánková, Kateřina (2013). "Protipartyzánská operace Tetřev v roce 1944" (PDF). Masaryk University.
  • Williams, Max (2003). Reinhard Heydrich: The Biography, Volume 2—Enigma. Church Stretton: Ulric Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9537577-6-3.
  • Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann (1997) [1991]. The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-3068079-3-0.

External links

Alcron Hotel Prague

The Alcron Hotel Prague is a historic hotel in Prague on Stepanska, just off Wenceslas Square, the main plaza in the city center.

The Hotel Alcron was constructed by its owner/architect Alois Krofta, a local businessman, and opened in 1932. Krofta named the hotel after himself, taking the first two letters of his first and last names and adding an "n" to match the Alcron, a boat from Greek mythology. Guests before the war included Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill, while Joachim von Ribbentrop and Karl Hermann Frank stayed in the hotel during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. In 1948, the Alcron was seized by the communist government.

Following the fall of communism, the hotel closed in 1990 and the Krofta family filed claims for restitution in 1992. A legal battle ensued between two of Krofta's ex-wives and one of their daughters. The three women were eventually each given 1/3 ownership, which they each sold in 1995 to an Austrian-based firm, Crown WSF Ltd. In 1996, the new owners contracted Radisson SAS Hotels to manage the hotel upon its reopening. It was completely rebuilt and modernized at great expense, with the historic public rooms restored to their original Art Deco grandeur. It reopened on August 1, 1998 as the Radisson SAS Hotel Prague. Crown secured the right to use the Alcron name two years later, and the hotel was renamed Radisson SAS Alcron Hotel. The hotel was again renovated in 2008. It was again renamed Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in 2009, when the Radisson SAS partnership ended. After 20 years of management by Radisson, the Alcron Hotel became independent and was renamed Alcron Hotel Prague on January 1, 2019.

The Alcron hotel is home to two restaurants and one bar. The Alcron restaurant, recipient of the Michelin star award-wining restaurant (2012 to 2017). The Alcron restaurant has an intimate atmosphere. In 2017, it was ranked #7 in Europe Best Fine Dining restaurant, and #11 in the world! The Bebop Lobby Bar, a world-class bar serving signature Be cocktails as well as rare spirits: Be Alchemyst, Be Glamorous, Be Chef or Be Unique or the rich and sumptuous Macallan No 6. The La Rotonde, a local restaurant which offers combination of the best of the local Czech and European cuisine together with one of the best wine lists in Prague.

Alois Eliáš

Alois Eliáš (29 September 1890 in Prague – 19 June 1942 at Kobylisy Shooting Range, Prague) was a Czech General and politician. He served as Prime Minister of the puppet government of the German-occupied Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia from 27 April 1939 to 27 September 1941, but maintained contact with the government-in-exile. Because of his participation in the anti-Nazi resistance, he was the only head of government to be murdered by the Nazis during the war.

Battle for Czech Radio

An illicit broadcast from the radio studio in Prague helped spark the Prague uprising during the final days of World War II, but German counterattacks led to a pitched battle breaking out. The conflict became known as the Battle for Czech Radio (Czech: Boj o Český rozhlas). By controlling the radio, the Czech resistance was able to inform and inspire the people of Prague to effective action during the Prague uprising. German forces were unable to prevent the Czechs from broadcasting. However, the attempts to appeal to Russians and Americans for aid were unsuccessful.

Carl Duering

Gerald Percy Fox (29 May 1923 – 1 September 2018), better known as Carl Duering, was a German-born British actor whose best known role is as Dr. Brodsky in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. He died in London in September 2018 at the age of 95.

František Moravec

František Moravec CBE (23 July 1895, Čáslav – 26 July 1966, Washington, D.C.) was the chief Czechoslovak military intelligence officer before and during World War II. He moved to the United States after the war.

Kameradschaftsbund (Czechoslovakia)

The Kameradschaftsbund (KB) was a Völkisch organization, founded in 1920s Czechoslovakia. It was a meeting ground of Sudeten German intellectuals, preparing them for taking up leadership roles in a possible future independent Sudetenland.

Walther Heinrich and Heinz Rutha were founders of the movement, and drew heavily on the theories of Othmar Spann. At the end of the 1920s, the movement became also political active; one of the strategies used was the infiltration of the Turnverband, by Konrad Henlein, one of the earliest KB members. Many Kameradschaftsbund members would later obtain top positions in the Sudetendeutsche Partei (SdP), under them Karl Hermann Frank and Walter Brand. After Rutha was charged with homosexual activity in 1937 (he later committed suicide), the KB gradually lost its influence on the SdP; Heinrich was sent to a concentration camp in 1938, and the SdP itself had to openly embrace German National Socialism.

List of Waffen-SS divisions

All divisions in the Waffen-SS were ordered in a single series of numbers as formed, regardless of type. Those tagged with nationalities were at least nominally recruited from those nationalities. Many of the higher-numbered units were small battlegroups (Kampfgruppen), i.e., divisions in name only.

List of rulers of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

This is a list of rulers of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which from 15 March 1939 until 5 May 1945 comprised the German-occupied parts of Czechoslovakia. It includes both the representatives of the recognized Czech authorities as well as the German Reichsprotektoren ("Reich protectors") and the Minister of State, who held the real executive power.

Obrana národa

Obrana národa (ON) (English: Defence of the Nation) was a Czech resistance organization that fought against the German occupation from 1939 to 1945. It opposed Nazi rule in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The group was founded by General Josef Bílý in April 1939.

The Gestapo was able to seek out and destroy the group's leadership on three occasions (February 1940, May 1942 and June 1944), but each time the group was reorganized.

Out Distance

Out Distance was a Czech resistance group during World War II, operating in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (part of occupied Czechoslovakia).

Panenské Břežany

Panenské Břežany (German: Jungfern-Breschan) is a village and municipality in Prague-East District in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic.

The municipality covers an area of 5.79 km² and as of 2010 it had a population of 567.

Panenské Břežany lies in proximity of the capital city of Prague, approximately 14 kilometres (9 mi) north of its centre.

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (German: Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren; Czech: Protektorát Čechy a Morava) was a protectorate of Nazi Germany established on 16 March 1939 following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939. Earlier, following the Munich Agreement of September 1938, Nazi Germany had incorporated the Czech Sudetenland territory as a Reichsgau (October 1938).

The protectorate's population was majority ethnic Czech, while the Sudetenland was majority ethnic German. Following the establishment of the independent Slovak Republic on 14 March 1939, and the German occupation of the Czech rump state the next day, Adolf Hitler established the protectorate on 16 March 1939 by a proclamation from Prague Castle.

The German government justified its intervention by claiming that Czechoslovakia was descending into chaos as the country was breaking apart on ethnic lines, and that the German military was seeking to restore order in the region.Czechoslovakia at the time under President Emil Hácha had pursued a pro-German foreign policy; however, upon meeting with the German Führer Adolf Hitler (15 March 1939), Hácha submitted to Germany's demands and issued a declaration stating that in light of events he accepted that Germany would decide the fate of the Czech people; Hitler accepted Hácha's declaration and declared that Germany would provide the Czech people with an autonomous protectorate governed by ethnic Czechs. Hácha was appointed president of the protectorate the same day.

The Protectorate was a nominally autonomous Nazi-administered territory which the German government considered part of the Greater German Reich. The state's existence came to an end with the surrender of Germany to the Allies in 1945.

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (; German: [ˈʁaɪnhaʁt ˈtʁɪstan ˈɔʏɡn̩ ˈhaɪdʁɪç] (listen); 7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era, and a main architect of the Holocaust. He was chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC; later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.

Many historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite; Adolf Hitler described him as "the man with the iron heart". He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service; SD), an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders. He helped organise Kristallnacht, a series of co-ordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938. The attacks, carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians, presaged the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and deporting and executing members of the Czech resistance. He was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces which travelled in the wake of the German armies and murdered over two million people, including 1.3 million Jews, by mass shooting and gassing.

Heydrich was critically wounded in Prague on 27 May 1942 as a result of Operation Anthropoid. He was ambushed by a team of Czech and Slovak agents who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill the Reich-Protector; the team was trained by the British Special Operations Executive. Heydrich died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Both villages were razed; all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of the women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.

Rudolf Plajner

Dr. Rudolf Plajner (April 5, 1901 in Prostějov, Moravia – June 23, 1987) was declared the Chief Scout of the newly unified Czech Scouts and Guides association called Junák, after its inception on January 22, 1939. Junák was abolished by force and Scouting prohibited by German State Secretary Karl Hermann Frank during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1940. After World War II, the association was reborn. His function was confirmed at the third Junák council or meeting (cs:sněm) in 1968, and served in this function until the end of his life.

Plajner was an RNDr., the Czech doctorate in natural sciences, specializing in math and physics at Charles University in Prague. Between 1929 and 1959 he lived and taught at the cs:reálné gymnázium (high school) in Holešov.

Plajner took part in building Defense of the Nation (cs:Obrana národa) and in other resistance organizations. He was arrested in 1943, and released after two months. He again joined the Czech resistance to Nazi occupation and cooperated with guerrilla brigade "Jan Žižka". For fighting to liberate Czechoslovakia from German occupation during World War II, he received the Czechoslovak War Cross (Československý válečný kříž) from president Dr. Edvard Beneš.

After the war Plajner received several honors and Junák started to work again in 1945, but in 1948 was included in the Socialist Youth Union (cs:Socialistický svaz mládeže, SSM), the Czechoslovakian Communist youth organisation, and dissolved in 1950. Plajner was arrested and imprisoned shortly in 1949 in Uherské Hradiště. Junák shortly renewed its existence between 1968 and 1970 after the Prague Spring.

In the communist period he and members of his family were persecuted. Later in this period he received several state and Scout awards due to his work for the Scouting movement, including the Silver Wolf.

Plajner spent the end of his life in Luka pod Mednikem, now part of Jílové u Prahy, where he wrote a series of books and writings about the history and Scout life of the Junák movement. He published mostly on Scouting topics, and is the author of the Scout handbook Přiručka pro Junáky, Junácké hry pro školy a oddíly (Junák games for schools and troops), Radosti junáckého roku (Joys of the Scout year) and Úsvit českého junáctví (Sunrise of Czech Scouting).

SS-Oberabschnitt Böhmen-Mähren

SS-Oberabschnitt Böhmen-Mähren was the Allgemeine-SS (General-SS) division command which encompassed the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (now the Czech Republic). The members of SS units were German Allgemeine-SS members appointed in Bohemia Moravia and Germans born in CSR. The main purpose was propaganda duties and recruiting for the Waffen-SS. The Oberabschnitt had been formed strictly as a General-SS counterpart to the much more powerful position of Higher SS and Police Leader of Moravia and both positions were intended to be held by the same person.

The Böhmen-Mähren Oberabschnitt was set up in April 1944 from the SS-Abschnitt XXXIX (Prag then Brunn) added by the Sudetenland SS-Abschnitt XXXVII (Reichenberg) and SS-Abschnitt XXXVIII (Karlsbad). The Oberabschnitt headquarters was established in the city of Prague. The Oberabschnitt's sole commander was Karl Hermann Frank who was already holding several high positions in the Nazi government of Czechoslovakia. In the last months of World War II, from February to May 1945, Frank delegated command of the Oberabschnitt to his deputy SS-Oberführer Emanuel Sladek. Oberabschnitt Böhmen-Mähren was formally disbanded when Nazi Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945.

SS and police leader

The title of SS and police leader ( SS- und Polizeiführer) was used to designate a senior Nazi official who commanded large units of the SS, Gestapo and the German uniformed police (Ordnungspolizei), prior to and during World War II.

Three levels of subordination were established for bearers of this title:

SS and Police Leader (SS- und Polizeiführer), SSPF

Higher SS and Police Leader (Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer, HSSPF, HSS-PF, HSSuPF)

Supreme SS and Police Leader (Höchster SS- und Polizeiführer, HöSSPF)

Sudeten German Party

The Sudeten German Party (German: Sudetendeutsche Partei, SdP, Czech: Sudetoněmecká strana) was created by Konrad Henlein under the name Sudetendeutsche Heimatfront ("Front of the Sudeten German Homeland") on 1 October 1933, some months after the First Czechoslovak Republic had outlawed the German National Socialist Workers' Party (Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP). In April 1935, the party was renamed Sudetendeutsche Partei following a mandatory demand of the Czechoslovak government. The name was officially changed to Sudeten German and Carpathian German Party (Sudetendeutsche und Karpatendeutsche Partei) in November 1935.

With the rising power of Nazi Party in Germany, the Sudeten German Party became a major pro-Nazi force in Czechoslovakia with explicit official aim of breaking the country up and joining it to the Third Reich. By June 1938, the party had over 1.3 million members, i.e. 40.6% of ethnic-German citizens of Czechoslovakia. During last free democratic elections before the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the May 1938 communal elections, the party gained 88% of ethnic-German votes, taking over control of most municipal authorities in the Czech borderland. The country's mass membership made it one of the largest fascist parties in Europe at the time.

Sudeten Germans

German Bohemians, later known as the Sudeten Germans, were ethnic Germans living in the lands of the Bohemian Crown, which later became an integral part of the state of Czechoslovakia. Before 1945, Czechoslovakia was inhabited by over three million such German Bohemians, comprising about 23 percent of the population of the whole republic and about 29.5 percent of the population of Bohemia and Moravia. Ethnic Germans migrated into the Kingdom of Bohemia, an electoral territory of the Holy Roman Empire, from the 11th century, mostly in the border regions of what would later be called the "Sudetenland", named after the Sudeten Mountains. This process of German expansion was known as Ostsiedlung ('Settling of the East'). The name "Sudeten Germans" was adopted amidst rising nationalism in the aftermath of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which was a consequence of the First World War. After 1945, most ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia to Germany and Austria.

The area that became known as the Sudetenland possessed chemical works and lignite mines, as well as textile, china, and glass factories. The Bohemian border with Bavaria was inhabited primarily by Germans. The Upper Palatine Forest, which extends along the Bavarian frontier and into the agricultural areas of southern Bohemia, was an area of German settlement. Moravia contained patches of "locked" German territory to the north and south. More characteristic were the German language islands: towns inhabited by German minorities and surrounded by Czechs. Sudeten Germans were mostly Roman Catholics, a legacy of centuries of Austrian Habsburg rule.

Not all ethnic Germans lived in isolated and well-defined areas; for historical reasons, Czechs and Germans mixed in many places and at least a partial knowledge of the second language was quite common. Nevertheless, since the second half of the 19th century, Czechs and Germans created separate cultural, educational, political and economic institutions which kept both groups isolated from each other. This form of separation continued until the end of the Second World War, when the Germans were expelled.

Sudetendeutsches Freikorps

Sudetendeutsches Freikorps (Sudeten German Free Corps, also known as the Freikorps Sudetenland, Freikorps Henlein and Sudetendeutsche Legion) was a paramilitary Nazi organization founded on 17 September 1938 in Germany on direct order of Adolf Hitler. The organization was composed mainly of ethnic German citizens of Czechoslovakia with pro-Nazi sympathies who were sheltered, trained and equipped by the German army and who were conducting cross border terrorist operations into Czechoslovak territory from 1938 to 1939. They played an important part in Hitler's successful effort to occupy Czechoslovakia and annex the region known as Sudetenland into the Third Reich under Nazi Germany.Sudetendeutsches Freikorps was a factual successor to Freiwillinger Schutzdienst, also known as Ordnersgruppe, an organization that had been established by the Sudeten German Party in Czechoslovakia unofficially in 1933 and officially on 17 May 1938, following the example of Sturmabteilung, the original paramilitary wing of the German Nazi Party. Officially being registered as promoter organization, the Freiwillinger Schutzdienst was dissolved on 16 September 1938 by the Czechoslovak authorities due to its implication in large number of criminal and terrorist activities. Many of its members as well as leadership, wanted for arrest by Czechoslovak authorities, had moved to Germany where they became the basis of Sudetendeutsches Freikorps, conducting Freikorps' first cross-border raids into Czechoslovakia only few hours after its official establishment. Due to the smooth transition between the two organizations, similar membership, Nazi Germany's sponsorship and application of the same tactic of cross-border raids, some authors often don't particularly distinguish between the actions of Ordners (i.e. up to 16 September 1938) and Freikorps (i.e. from 17 September 1938).

Relying on the Convention for the Definition of Aggression, Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš and the government-in-exile later regarded 17 September 1938, the day of establishment of the Sudetendeutsches Freikorps and beginning of its cross-border raids, as the beginning of the undeclared German-Czechoslovak war. This understanding has been assumed also by the contemporary Czech Constitutional court.

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