The Sudeten Germans will give out cultural prizes today in Regensburg, Bavaria, at the beginning of the three-day convention. He will present his main prize, which is the Charles IV European Prize, on Saturday. SL represents the interests of Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War and their descendants.
The highest representative of the Sudeten Germans, Bernd Posselt, is holding a press conference in Regensburg this morning, where he will tell journalists the details of the upcoming convention. It takes place under the motto The fateful community of Europe. The program will then continue with a musical performance in the afternoon and a cultural awards ceremony in the evening.
The main prize, named after the Czech king and Roman emperor Karl IV., the Sudeten Germans will grant on Saturday. They will get her Czech social democrat Libor Rouček a German diplomat Christian Schmidt, who jointly lead the Czech-German discussion forum. This award is given for a special contribution to understanding between the peoples of Central Europe.
The highlight of the congress will be Sunday, when the so-called main assembly takes place with the participation of Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder. After the Second World War, Bavaria took over the protection of the displaced Sudeten Germans. Czech Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek will address the Sudeten Germans on Sunday. An acting member of the Czech government will thus participate in the congress for the first time since 2017. Posselt described Bek’s participation as an important step towards a common future in the heart of Europe.
Regensburg, which the Sudeten Germans chose for their 73rd congress, is closely connected with Czech history. One of the key moments was the baptism of 14 Czech princes there in 845, which is commemorated by a plaque on the church of St. John in the city. This year’s convention motto also refers to the interconnectedness of the history of the region and the entire continent.
“Europe belongs together. This is evident in history and in the present, and it is evident in cities such as Regensburg,” Posselt said in the greeting he invited the Sudeten Germans and also the Czechs to Regensburg. “The Danube, which flows through Regensburg and has always been an important artery for our Czech-Moravian-Silesian roots, connects ten European countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine,” he noted . He added that the times of cohesion of Czechs and Sudeten Germans were always times of cultural flourishing and peace.
Just like last year, this year’s convention is being held in the shadow of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, which will once again be reflected in the Sudeten-German meeting’s program. Already on Friday, Posselt will discuss the topic of Europe – the fateful community between war and peace with Nestor Aksiuk, the head of the German-Ukrainian Society in Ulm, and Libor Rouček, a Czech social democrat.
Charles IV European Prize has been awarded annually since 1958, when it was given to former Czechoslovak general and exiled politician Lev Prchala. In the past, for example, the Vienna Archbishop and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, born in Bohemia, former Bavarian Prime Ministers Edmund Stoiber and Horst Seehofer, German-Czech politician Milan Horáček, Czech publicist Petr Uhl or Holocaust survivor Max Mannheimer, a native of Novy Jičín, received the award in the past. Last year, Sudeten Germans awarded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a year earlier the award was given to the former Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman.
On Saturday, in the main part of the convention, the former chairman of the People’s Party and current MP Pavel Bělobrádek, who regularly attends the conventions, will give a speech. In 2017, when he held the position of Deputy Prime Minister, Bělobárdek spoke at the Sudeten German Congress as the second incumbent member of the Czech government. First place belongs to the former Minister of Culture Herman, who in 2016 addressed the Sudeten Germans as ‘dear compatriots’, for which he received an enthusiastic welcome.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Czech President Petr Pavel visited Bavaria this month. Fiala in Regensburg together with Söder opened a Bavarian-Czech national exhibition called Baroque! Bavaria and Bohemia, which will move to the National Museum in Prague in December. On this occasion, both prime ministers praised the mutual friendship between Bavaria and the Czech Republic. A week ago, at the opening of the Bavarian-Czech friendship weeks, Söder and Pavlo met in Selb. In his speech, the President thanked Posselt for his contribution to the improvement of mutual relations.
Relations between Sudeten Germans and the Czech government have improved significantly in recent years. It also contributed to the fact that under Posselt’s leadership, the Sudeten German expatriate association deleted from its statutes the mention of efforts to return property that had been confiscated from the Sudeten Germans during the post-war deportation from Czechoslovakia. The Czech side also took a number of conciliatory steps. Among other things, the Munich speech of the then Prime Minister Petr Nečas was important, in which in 2013 he expressed the Czech Republic’s regret for the hardships caused to Sudeten Germans during their displacement after the Second World War. Posselt, who repeatedly draws attention to the perils of nationalism, sees this as a moment to break the ice.
They were from Czechoslovakia after World War II displaced about three million Germans. According to the Czech-German Commission of Historians, 15,000 to 30,000 people lost their lives. During the previous more than around 320,000 to 350,000 inhabitants of the former Czechoslovakia perished during the six-year rule of Nazi Germany.
Source: Zprávy – Tiscali.cz by zpravy.tiscali.cz.
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