Anti-semitism Wide-spread in Liberated Czechoslovakia; Surviving Jews Not Wanted
Menu JTA Search

Anti-semitism Wide-spread in Liberated Czechoslovakia; Surviving Jews Not Wanted

Download PDF for this date

Jews returning to Czechoslovakia are not being welcomed home with open arms and, in Slovakia particularly, have encountered a great deal of hostility. Dr. Inrich Resenberg, deputy chief of the repatriation department of the Crechoslovak Government, disclosed today.

Dr. Rosenberg told a Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent that while some terns have welcomed Jews returning from Theresienstadt as martyriz the more typical reaction has been one of surprise that any Jews were still alive, and discomfit at the thought that they will want their jobs and property back.

He estimated that only about 15,000 of the country’s 350,000 Jews survive, and Eest of these, he said, desire to emigrate to Palestine as a result of the increased anti-Semitism here. According to Stefan Engel, former secretary-general of the Prague Jewish community under the occupation, who is now a member of the committee to liquidats the Nazi commissariat for Jewish affairs, the Communist newspaper here has been the only one thus far to advocate returning jobs to Jews.

The situation in Prague is complicated by the fact that it has become a center for Jewish survivors from Germany and Poland seeking remnants of their families. Nearly 10,000 have wandered in from slave camps hoping to pick up news of their kin. The presence of German Jews is already being used by anti-Semites, who are attacking them as German nationals. Some were arrested, but have since been released.

The government, itself, is very friendly to the Jews, recognizing the zealous service rendered by many during the period of exile. Returning Czech Jews, like re turning political prisoners, are being housed in the apartments of Nazis or collaborators, but, naturally, this does not apply to non-Czechs, such as Poles, Germans and Eungarians. These latter require clothes and other forms of assistance.


In Slovakia, even native Jews are unwelcome, according to several this correspondent met in Prague who had been home, but who had returned here shuddering at what they round. From Banska-Bystrica, one traveller brought back a flagrant anti- Semitic poster put out by the Slovak National Front, while another disclosed that joint anti-Jewish and anti-Hungarian demonstrations were held in the streets of Kosice on May 2.

In a town where there was once 2,800 Jews, eight remain, and these found dificulty in renting apartments. Persons returning from concentration camps are having trouble being reinstated in civil service jobs, the excuse being their lack of papers. Meanwhile, they see returning non-Jews, who are equally without documents, immediately reinstated, Jewish judges nominated by the Benes Government have been refused posts in Slovakia, although fascist-appointed judges have been accepted.

Dr. Rosenberg, while a deputy in the Slovak National Council, proposed laws cancelling all anti-Jewish legislation, but, as yet, they have not been accepted, some members of the Slovak Government asserting that they “do not want the return of Jewish capitalists.” Although a large proportion of the Jews who went underground participated in the Slovak partisan movement, and were admittedly among the bravest, even some of these men feel unwelcome in the land they helped to free. A Jewish partisan chief, whose band lost many men in clashes with the Germans, said that “I must leave this country. I cannot live in such an anti-Semitic atmosphere.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund