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Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (RG 84)

Czechoslovakia

By the Munich Agreement signed in September 1938 by Great Britain, France, and Germany, Czechoslovakia, under President Eduard Benes, agreed to cede the Sudetenland to Germany. By the end of the year the Sudetenland was incorporated into the Reich, the district of Teschen was seized by Poland, portions of southern Slovakia was acquired by Hungary, and the rest of Slovakia became a vassal state of Germany. The rest of Czechoslovakia, i.e., Bohemia and Moravia, was occupied by the German Army on March 15, 1939.  It was established as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia with Baron von Neurath named as Reichsprotektor.  Benes would eventually go to London and form a government-in-exile.  His Provisional Government was fully recognized by the Allies.

The Germans set about exploiting Czechoslovakia. On June 21, 1939, von Neurath issued a decree placing Jews under German jurisdiction and setting in motion the expropriation of their property.  Czech Jews began being deported to Poland in October 1939.

Hitler, disappointed in von Neurath's ability to sufficiently control political and economic unrest, sent in September 1941 Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), to serve as von Neurath's deputy.  Heydrich unleased a reign of terror. In the fall of 1941, the Germans established a central ghetto for Protectorate Jews at Theresienstadt.  This ghetto would become a transit stop for Jews being deported to the death camps in Poland.  In 1942 over 50,000 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt and most were later deported to Auschwitz and other death camps.  In May 1942 Heydrich would be assassinated by members of the Czech resistance.

Despite his death Jews were continually exploited and exterminated.  By war's end about 10,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia survived, out of a pre-war population of nearly 120,000.

Germany economically exploited the Protectorate and by the time Soviet forces entered Prague in May 1945, more than 350,000 people died as a result of Nazi oppression.

Slovakia, which was declared an independent state in March 1939 was led by Father Jozef Tiso, its Prime Minister and then President.  Slovakia became an Axis partner. Almost immediately anti- Jews laws were enacted.  In March 1942 Slovak Jews began being deported to concentration and extermination camps.  Most would die.  Out of a pre-Final Solution population of 90,000, somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 survived the war.

The Germans exercised great control over the economic and financial life of Sudetenland (completely incorporated into the Reich), the Protectorate, and Slovakia.  This was particularly true in the banking business and in mining and industry.  The Deutsche Bank, the Dresdner Bank, and the Allgemeine Deutsche Credit-Anstalt took over in all 144 branches in Prague.  The Czechoslovak National Bank was replaced by a Reichsbank-controlled bank. The Reichswerke Hermann Goering acquired a significant hold on the Czech economy, acquiring coal and steel mills, as well as two of the top three iron works and three large Czech armaments concerns, including the Skoda Works.  I.G. Farben acquired most of the Czech chemical plants.

As Germany increased its economic and financial grip and Germany suffered military setbacks the Slovaks became less pro-German and open fighting against the government broke out in August 1944.  This uprising resulted in German military forces occupying Slovakia.  Russian forces would enter Slovakia in January 1945, but it want not before April 1945, that Slovakia was liberated. (63)

Records of the Prague Embassy

General Records 1945-1949 (Entry 2377)
Boxes 1-9

1945

Box # File # File Title or Subject
2 350 Recovery of Czech Property
  350 Recovery of Czech Property-Heeres Museum
  350 Dutch Tapestries stolen by Germans
  711 War Criminals
  711 Atrocities-German Jews in Czechoslovakia
  711 Jewish Situation
3 840.1 Race Problems [Jews]
4 851.6 Banks, Bankers

Classified General Records 1945, 1949-1952 (Entry 2378A)
Boxes 1-23

1945

Box # File # File Title or Subject
1350Restitution
2711War Criminals
 711.3Enemy Property
4840.1Jewish Situation in Czechoslovakia
5851Safehaven Reports

Records of the Prague Consulate General

General Records 1936-1940 (Entry 2383)
Boxes 1-92

&Confidential File 1935-1936 (Entry 2384)
Box 1

Miscellaneous Records 1932-1946 (Entry 2385)
Boxes 1-2

London-American Mission to the Czechoslovakian Government in Exile

General Records 1941-1945 (Entry 2382)
Boxes 1-17

1942

Box # File # File Title or Subject
2711Atrocities

1943

Box # File # File Title or Subject
4711Atrocities
 711Jewish Situation

1944

Box # File # File Title or Subject
6711War Crimes
 711Atrocities

1945

Box # File # File Title or Subject
11711World Jewish Congress
 711Atrocities
 711War Criminals
 711.3Enemy Property
13840.1Race Problems [Jews]
 840.3Fine Arts
15851.6Banks, Bankers

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