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ten million Czecho-Slovaks from being again exploited in the interests of
German imperialism was to secure their complete independence. On entering
the Reichsrat on May 30, 1917, all the Czech deputies, united in a single
"Bohemian Union," made a unanimous declaration that it was their aim to
work for the union of all Czechs and Slovaks in an independent, democratic
state. To-day Dr. Kramár is in complete agreement with the Radicals who
formerly were his most bitter opponents. In fact four Czech nationalist
parties (the Young Czech, Realist, State Right and Moravian People's
Parties) united in February, 1918, as a single body under the name of "The
Czech State-Right Democracy." The president of its executive is the former
Young Czech leader Dr. Kramár, who was sentenced to death in 1916, but
released in July, 1917. The executive committee of the new party included
all the leaders of the four former parties, namely, Dr. Stránský, Dr.
Herben, M. Dyk, Professor Drtina, and others.

In their proclamation published in the _Národní Listy_ of February 10,
1918, the executive declared that:

"The chief aim of the new party will be to engage in a common national
effort for the creation of an independent Bohemian State, the
fundamental territory of which will be composed of the historical and
indivisible crown-lands of Bohemia and of Slovakia. The Bohemian State
will be a democratic state. All its power will come from the people.
And as it will come from the Czech people, it will be just towards all
nationalities, towards all citizens and classes."

In a speech to the Young Czech Party before its dissolution, Dr. Kramár
openly declared that "at the moment of the outbreak of the war it became
quite clear that, despite all tactics of opportunism, our party remained
true to the programme of Czech independence. It became at once evident to
all of us that _the chapter of our former policy was forever closed for
us_. We felt with our whole soul that the Czech nation would not go through
the sufferings of the world war only to renew the pre-war tactics of a slow
progress towards that position to which we have full historical rights as
well as the natural rights of a living and strong nation...." And again, in
an article in the _Národní Listy_ of December 25, 1917, Kramár wrote under
the heading "By Order of the Nation":

"We have sought with utmost sacrifice to find a compromise between our
just claims and the international situation which was unfavourable to
us. The war has completely changed all our policy, removing the
possibility of a compromise to which we might have been disposed, and
we cannot once more roll up our flag now so proudly unfurled, and put
it aside for the next occasion."

As we shall show also later on, there is not the least doubt that the
necessity for the independence of Bohemia was proclaimed not by a few
extremists, but by all the Czech parties with the approval of the
entire nation.

When Kramár in 1917 again took over the leadership of the Young Czech
Party, which led to the amalgamation of four nationalist parties, a change
took place also in the leadership of the Czech Social Democratic Party
which hitherto was in the hands of a few demagogues and defeatists, such as
Smeral, who dominated the majority of the members. The return of the
Socialist Party to its revolutionary traditions and its entire approval of
the Bohemian state right and the national policy of Czecho-Slovak
independence means a complete and absolute consolidation of the whole
Czech nation.

As the Social Democrats became quite loyal to the Czech cause, the National
Socialist Party lost its _raison d'être_. Owing to the great sufferings of
the working class during the war, it became imbued with Socialist ideas.

On April 1, 1918, the Czech National Socialist Party held its eighth annual
conference in Prague, at which it adopted a resolution endorsing
international Socialism and changing its name to "The Czech Socialist
Party." The conference was attended also by two representatives of the
Czecho-Slav Social Democratic Party, J. Stivin and deputy Nemec. The
National Socialist leader, deputy Klofác, welcomed the representatives of
the Social Democrats "whom we have for years past been struggling against,
but with whom the trials of this war have united us." He declared that his
party accepted the Socialist programme and would join the new Socialist
International. On September 6, 1918, the executive committees of the two
parties elected a joint council. Its object is to work for the
consolidation of the Czech working classes and for the formation of a
united Czech Labour Party, composed of Social Democrats as well as of the
former National Socialists. A similar process of consolidation is taking
place also among the other parties, so that soon there will probably be
only three Czech parties, on the basis of class difference, viz.
Socialists, Agrarians and Democratic Nationalists (_bourgeoisie_), all of
whom will stand behind the programme of full Czecho-Slovak independence.

The most significant demonstration of the Czech national sentiment took
place at Prague on January 6, 1918, at a meeting of all the Czech deputies
of the Reichsrat and of the diets of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia,
with which we deal in another chapter, and at which a resolution was
unanimously carried demanding full independence and representation at the
peace conference.

Finally, on July 13, 1918, a National Council or Committee was formed in
Prague on which all the parties are represented and which may rightly be
described as part of the Provisional Government of Bohemia.

The whole Czech nation to-day is unanimously awaiting the victory of the
Entente, from which it expects its long-cherished independence. The
Czecho-Slovaks are only waiting for a favorable opportunity to strike the
death-blow at the Dual Monarchy.



Austria-Hungary declared war not only on her enemies outside her frontiers,
but also on her internal enemies, on her own Slav and Latin subjects. From
the very first day of war terrorism reigned supreme in Bohemia, where the
Austrian Government behaved as in an enemy country. Three political parties
(the National Socialist, Radical and Realist Parties) were dissolved and
their organs suppressed. Fully three-quarters of all Czech journals and all
Slovak journals were suspended. Political leaders were arrested,
imprisoned, and some of them even sentenced to death. Many leaders have
been imprisoned as hostages in case an insurrection should break out. Over
20,000 Czech civilians have been interned merely for being "politically
suspect," and about 5000 were hanged in an arbitrary way by military
tribunals, since juries had been abolished by an imperial decree. Other
Slav districts were no better off: the Polish Socialist deputy Daszynski
stated in the Reichsrat that 30,000 persons were hanged in Galicia alone,
and another deputy stated that the number of Slavs (Austrian subjects) who
were executed by Austria exceeded 80,000. Czech troops were marched to the
trains watched by German soldiers like prisoners of war. Thousands of them
were massacred at the front. The property of those who surrendered was
confiscated, while the families of those Czech leaders who escaped abroad
were brutally persecuted. It is impossible for us to give a detailed
description of all the persecutions committed by Austria on the
Czecho-Slovaks, but the following is a brief summary of them: -

_(a) Czech Deputies and Leaders imprisoned and sentenced to Death_

The most important perhaps was _the case of Dr. Kramár,_ one of the most
moderate of the Czech leaders. Dr. Kramár was arrested on May 21, 1915, on
a charge of high treason as the leader of the Young Czechs; together with
him were also arrested his colleague, deputy Dr. Rasín, Mr. Cervinka, an
editor of the _Národní Listy_, and Zamazal, an accountant. On June 3, 1916,
all four of them were sentenced to death, although no substantial proofs
were produced against them. Subsequently, however, the sentence was
commuted to long terms of imprisonment, but after the general amnesty of
July, 1917, they were released. Among the reasons for which they were
imprisoned and sentenced to death were the following, as given in the
official announcement, published in the Austrian press on January 4, 1917:

Dr. Kramár before the war was "the leader of Pan-Slav propaganda and of the
Russophil movement in Bohemia." He was also alleged to have kept up a
connection with the pro-Ally propaganda conducted by the Czecho-Slovaks and
their friends abroad during the war, and the Czech military action against
Austria on the side of the Entente. Dr. Kramár was further blamed for the
"treasonable" behaviour of Czech regiments who voluntarily surrendered to
Russia and Serbia, and for the anti-German sentiments cherished by the
Czecho-Slovaks for centuries past. Obviously in striking Dr. Kramár Austria
meant to strike at the Czech nation. The "proofs" for the high treasonable
activity of Dr. Kramár before and during the war were the following:[1]

(1) Dr. Kramár was (before the war) in communication with Brancianov,
Bobrinski, Denis, Masaryk, Pavlu and others, who now preach the
dismemberment of Austria-Hungary.

(2) In his articles in the _Národní Listy_, published during the war, Dr.
Kramár advocated the liberation of small nations as proclaimed by the
Entente. His organ, "the _Národní Listy_, laid special stress on news
favourable to our enemies and on the state of disruption of Austria, and
indirectly invited Czechs to passive resistance."

(3) A copy of _La Nation Tchèque_ was found in Dr. Kramár's pocket at the
time of his arrest.

(4) Dr. Kramár had a conversation with the Italian consul in April, 1915,
which is "an important cause of suspicion."

(5) In a letter to the Governor of Bohemia, Prince Thun, Dr. Kramár
admitted that, always faithful to his political principles, he refrained
from everything that might appear as approval of the war.

This was the evidence brought up against Kramár, on the ground of which he
was to be hanged. These are the "proofs" of his responsibility for the
distribution of treasonable Russian proclamations in Bohemia, repeated
manifestations of sympathy with the enemy, and the refusal of Czech
deputies to take part in any declarations or manifestations of loyalty.

Equally characteristic is also _the case of the National Socialist leader,
deputy Klofác_, who was arrested in September, 1914. Owing to lack of
proofs the trial was repeatedly postponed, while Klofác was left in prison.
A formal charge was brought against him only when the Reichsrat was about
to open in May, 1917, so as to prevent him from attending the meeting.
Nevertheless he was released after the amnesty of July, 1917. Writing in
the _Národní Politika_ about his experience in prison, deputy Klofác says:

"Many educated and aged political prisoners were not allowed out to
walk in the yard for five months or more, which is contrary to all
regulations. They were also not allowed to read books given to them by
the judge, and they had to do the lowest work. One student who refused
to wash the floor was beaten and confined to a dark cell. No wonder
that many committed suicide. Dr. Vrbenský could tell how he used to get
excited by the cry of the ill-treated prisoners. Even his nerves could
not stand it. It is quite comprehensible, therefore, that Dr. Scheiner
(the president of the 'Sokol' Union) in such an atmosphere was
physically and mentally broken down in two months. Dr. Kramár and Dr.
Rasín also had an opportunity of feeling the brutality of Polatchek and
Teszinski. In the winter we suffered from frosts, for there was no
heating. Some of my friends had frozen hands. We resisted the cold by
drilling according to the Müller system. This kept us fit and saved us
from going to the prison doctor, Dr. A. Prinz, who was a Magyar and
formerly a doctor in Karlsbad. If a prisoner went to this 'gentleman,'
he did not ask after his illness, but after his nationality, and for
the reason of his remand imprisonment. On hearing that a prisoner was
Czech and on remand for Par. 58_c_ (high treason), he only hissed: 'You
do not want any medicine. It would be wasted, for in any case you will
be hanged.'"

Besides Klofác, the following four National Socialist deputies were also
imprisoned: Choc, Burival, Vojna and Netolický. The accused were condemned
on July 30, 1916, for "failing to denounce Professor Masaryk's
revolutionary propaganda."

_Professor Masaryk_, who escaped abroad in 1915, was sentenced to death in
Austria in December, 1916. Unable to reach him, the Austrian Government
revenged themselves on his daughter, Dr. Alice Masaryk, whom they
imprisoned. Only after an energetic press campaign abroad was she released.
A similar fate also met the wife of another Czech leader, Dr. Benes, who
escaped abroad in the autumn of 1915 and became secretary general of the
Czecho-Slovak National Council.

_Dr. Scheiner_, president of the "Sokol" Gymnastic Association, was
imprisoned, but was again released owing to lack of proofs. A similar fate
also met the Czech Social Democratic leader _Dr. Soukup_, who was for some
time kept in prison.

_(b) Monster Trials, Arbitrary Executions, Internment of Civilians, etc_.

A notorious reason for imprisonment, and even execution, was the possession
of the so-called Russian Manifesto dropped by Russian aeroplanes, being a
proclamation of the Tsar to the people of Bohemia promising them the
restoration of their independence. Mr. Matejovský, of the Prague City
Council, and fifteen municipal clerks were sentenced to many years'
imprisonment for this offence in February, 1915. In May, 1915, six persons,
among them two girls, were condemned to death in Kyjov, Moravia, for the
same offence. On the same charge also sixty-nine other persons from Moravia
were brought to Vienna and fifteen of them sentenced to death. One of the
Czech girls who were executed for this offence was a Miss Kotíková, aged
twenty-one, who, according to the _Arbeiter Zeitung_ of September 8, 1917,
refused to say from whom she had received the manifesto, and through her
heroic attitude saved the lives of others.

Without a fair trial and without evidence, the editor of the National
Socialist organ _Pokrok_ in Prostejov, Mr. Joseph Kotek, was sentenced to
death on Christmas Eve of 1914. The sentence was passed at noon, confirmed
at half-past four and carried out at half-past six. As no one could be
found to act as hangman, Kotek was shot. The reason given for the verdict
was that the accused editor of the _Pokrok_, which was suppressed as being
dangerous to the State, delivered a speech at a meeting of a co-operative
society in which he said that all Czechs were unanimous that they knew that
Austria was losing the war and that they prayed to God that her downfall
might be soon. He was further alleged to have said that it was doubtful how
Europe would be divided after the war, but that in any case the
Czecho-Slovak countries would be made independent as a wedge between
Germany and Austria, and that if Germany won the Czechs would be
germanised, like the Poles in Germany. The accused admitted that he did
speak about the reorganisation of Europe, but not in the words used by the
prosecution. But, as the _Arbeiter Zeitung_ said, even if he did say what
the prosecution alleged, as a civilian he should never have been sentenced
to death by a military tribunal. According to Czech papers, Kotek was
buried among ordinary criminals outside the cemetery. The grave of the
innocent martyr was not even marked with his name, and his wife was not
allowed to visit it, because the military authorities forbade the sexton of
the church to allow any one to see the graves of those executed for
high treason.

_Dr. Preiss_, the manager of the Czech bank, Zivnostenská Banka, which has
its branches in Galicia, Rumania, Serbia and elsewhere, and four of his
colleagues were imprisoned, because the Czechs would not subscribe to
Austrian war loans and Dr. Preiss had done nothing to induce them to do so.

As regards the horrors of the internment camps, in which over 20,000
innocent Czechs, men, women and children, were confined, we will only quote
the revelations of the Czech National Socialist deputy Stríbrný, who
declared in the Reichsrat on June 14, 1917:

"This war was begun by the Austrian Government without the consent of
the Austrian Parliament, against the will of the Czech people.

"In Bohemia, the most brutal cruelties have been perpetrated by the
Austrian authorities against the Czech population. An anonymous
denunciation suffices to bring about the arrest and imprisonment of any
Czech man, woman or child. Thousands of Czech citizens have simply been
seized and placed in internment camps on the ground that their
political opinions are dangerous to the existence of Austria.

"Such prisoners were led away from their homes handcuffed and in
chains. They included women, girls and old grey-haired men. They were
conveyed from their homes to internment camps in filthy cattle trucks
and were cruelly ill-treated with a strange persistence. On one
occasion forty-three Czechs, who were being conveyed to a camp of
internment, were killed on the way by a detachment of Honveds
(Hungarian militia) which was escorting them to their place of

"The conditions under which the Czechs were interned at the Talerhof
Camp, near Graz, were absolutely outrageous. They were beaten and
tortured on their way there. Immediately after their arrival many were
tied to stakes and kept thus day and night in absolutely indescribable
sanitary conditions. Many were done to death by their guards. When the
thermometer showed 20 degrees of frost, old men, women and girls were
left to sleep in the open air, and mortality increased amongst them to
a frightful extent. Two thousand unhappy victims of Austria's brutal
tyranny lie buried in the cemetery attached to the Talerhof Camp of
internment. Of these, 1200 died of epidemics."

Other information concerning the same camp of Talerhof fully corroborates
this statement. In a letter to his friends, a Czech interned at Talerhof
wrote as follows:

"Many of my friends died from bayonet wounds; out of 12,000 at least,
2000 have so perished. The majority of us did not know why we were
interned. Many were hanged without a trial on mere denunciation. Human
life had no value for them. The soldiers had orders to strike us with
bayonets for the slightest movement....

"We were covered with insects. One day an order was given that
everybody should undress to be rubbed with paraffin. Some ladies who
objected were undressed by force before our eyes, since men and women
slept together, and the soldiers rubbed them with paraffin.

"A Ruthene who protested against the ill-treatment of women, who were
forced to do the lowest work, was bayonetted. He was lying for five
days between two barracks more dead than alive. His face and body were
all green and covered with lice and his hands were bound. Then the
Austrian officers and soldiers ill-treated him till he died."

In consequence of the general political amnesty, over 100,000 political
prisoners in Austria were released. Thousands of them emerged from prison
or internment camps reduced to mere skeletons by the systematic lack
of food.

According to reports published in the Austrian press, one of the Ukrainian
prisoners, named Karpinka, was left in solitary confinement without any
fire in winter, so that his feet were frost-bitten and had to be amputated.

A Czech named Jarý, who was condemned to twelve years' hard labour, came
out with consumption contracted through the rigour of his imprisonment.
Many others were reduced to such weakness through starvation that they had
to be carried out of the prison.

(c) _Persecution of the Press_

Among the Czech journals suppressed in Bohemia at the beginning of the war,
the following deserve to be especially mentioned:

_Ceské Slovo_, organ of the National Socialist Party; the editors have been
imprisoned. _Cas_ ("Times"), organ of Professor Masaryk (Realist Party);
the editors Dusek and Hájek were imprisoned. _Samostatnost_, organ of the
State Right (Radical) Party; the editors were imprisoned or sent to
the front.

The _Národní Listy_ (Kramár's organ) was twice suspended, and in May, 1918,
suppressed altogether because it "fostered sympathies for the Entente."

The _Lidové Noviny_, organ of Dr. Stránský (Moravian People's Party), was
also several times suspended during the war.

All Socialist journals were suppressed except _Právo Lidu_ and _Rovnost_.

According to the _Wiener Zeitung_, seventy-eight Czech journals were
suspended during the months of April, May and June, 1916, alone. All Slovak
newspapers were also suppressed.

As regards censorship, we need only mention that even speeches delivered in
the Austrian Parliament were censored in the press. The sense of the
speeches delivered by Allied statesmen was invariably distorted and
declarations in favour of Czecho-Slovak independence were suppressed.
Foreign newspapers were not allowed to be quoted; and the journals were
forced to publish unsigned articles supplied to them by the police....

The Union of Czech Journalists declared on April 25, 1917

"We protest against the practice prevailing in Prague as against means
quite contradictory to the moral principles of modern journalism, as in
Prague the newspapers are forced to publish articles supplied by the
Official Press Bureau, as though written by the editor, without being
allowed to mark them as inspired. Thus the journals are not in reality
edited by the editors themselves, but by the Press institution of the

The same union again protested on November 16, 1917

"After the victorious Russian Revolution which brought about also the
opening of the Reichsrat, the fetters binding the Czech press were a
little relaxed, but only for a short time, and to-day we see the same
conditions prevailing in which we lived for the first three years of
war. Every free reflection in the Czech journals is confiscated. They
are even prohibited to publish articles which appeared in the German
and Austrian press. Furthermore, they are again compelled to publish
articles written by officials without marking them as such. They cannot
even inform their readers correctly about parliamentary debates, _as
speeches and interpellations delivered in parliament are suppressed_.
We ask the Union of Czech Deputies to protest again against this
violation of parliamentary immunity, and to obtain a guarantee that in
future the Czech papers will not be compelled to print articles not
written by the editorial staff and that the Czech press shall enjoy at
least the same freedom as the press in Berlin, Vienna and Budapest."

_(d) Reichsrat Interpellations_

To complete the picture of Austrian terrorism, we will quote some of the
interpellations addressed to the Austrian Government by Czech deputies in
the summer of 1917.

The Czech deputies_ Prokes, Jaros and Charvát_ (Socialists) have demanded
an explanation from the Minister for Home Defence respecting 300 Czech
teachers from Moravia who were interned in 1915, being suspected of
disloyalty, although there was no charge made against them either by the
civil or by the military authorities. They were first interned in Lower
Austria and then in Hungary, and had to do the hardest work. Though the
educational authorities reclaimed them they were not set free even to
attend to the burials of their relatives. The only exception made was when
one teacher was allowed to be married in Vienna, and even then he was
followed by the guard with fixed bayonets. In Hungary the conditions were
still worse, and many of these teachers died and many of them are still in

A long interpellation was addressed to the government by the Czech
deputies_ Binovec, Filipinský and Stejskal_ (Socialists) regarding the
outrageous and inhuman treatment of the Czech political prisoners. They
mentioned a vast number of appalling instances of deliberate torturing and

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