Book Excerpt

Prague in Danger

The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45: Memories and History, Terror and Resistance, Theater and Jazz, Film and Poetry, Politics and War

Peter Demetz

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Prague in Danger
President Hácha Travels to BerlinHitler never hesitated about his ultimate intent to create new "living space" (Lebensraum) for his nation in the east and to smash the liberal state of Czechoslovakia on his way. After Germany's annexation of Austria in March 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain traveled twice to the Continent hoping to appease Hitler's aggressive intentions and to prevent another destructive European war, but with a distinct lack of success. Czechoslovakia had signed treaties with France in 1926 and with the Soviet Union in 1935 precisely to protect itself against German aggression--the Soviet Union promised to intervene, but only if France acted first--but it remained exposed and vulnerable. Concurrent agreements among the Little Entente of Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia to defend against any aggression on the part of Hungary were of little use.Within the Czechoslovak Republic, a virulently German nationalist movement, led by Konrad Henlein and fully supported by the National Socialists in Berlin, resisted Prague rule and demanded that the Sudetenland, where most of Czechoslovakian Germans lived, be united with the Reich. When, only two months after the Nazis' annexation of Austria, German troops readied to march across the border in May 1938, the Czechoslovaks partly mobilized, and the situation became increasingly ominous. The ambassadors of France and Great Britain delivered a note to President Edvard Beneš on September 19 demandingthat the republic hand over its Sudeten territories to Germany in exchange for a guarantee of its new borders, this to prevent an immediate occupation by the Wehrmacht, and suddenly the Czechoslovak Republic and its (few) friends were isolated. On September 23, in a desperate gesture, Czechoslovakia once more mobilized its army and air force. Hitler's ally Benito Mussolini then proposed a four-power meeting to resolve the Czechoslovak crisis.The famous conference convened on September 29-30 in Munich with representatives of Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy in attendance, Czechoslovaks being notably absent. Chamberlain, French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier, Hitler, and Mussolini signed an agreement that conceded to all of Germany's demands. The Sudetenland was to be united with the Reich as of October 1; this and further concessions deprived the Czechoslovak Republic of a major part of its historical territory, its principal fortifications against Germany, and much of its iron, steel, and textile factories. Moreover, with the loss of the Sudetenland came the threat of further losses of border territories in the east, which Poland and Hungary coveted. A week after mobilizing, Czechoslovakia capitulated on September 30.The Munich Conference not only deprived Czechoslovakia of defensible borders but also grievously weakened its democratic traditions. The country had emerged on October 18, 1918, from the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a liberal republic with strong parliamentary institutions, in contrast with many of its neighbors, and T. G. Masaryk, its founder and first president, together with his loyal associates, including Beneš, the young minister of foreign affairs, carefully watched out for political balances and the interplay of the different political parties. By 1926 representatives of the German liberals, Catholics, and Socialists had joined the government, and they stayed with it for more than twelve years. Masaryk's resignation in 1935 because of his old age coincided with the radical worsening of the European situation that year, and after the Munich Conference and the capitulation of the Czechoslovak government, continued German pressure forced Beneš, Masaryk's successor as president, to resign. Beneš left the country two weeks later in a private plane, on October 22, but he was as resolved as ever to renew the integrityof the Republic by monitoring changes in the European situation and by continuing to act, as Masaryk had done in his time, on the international scene. His Czechoslovak National Committee, established in Paris in 1939, was not a diplomatic success, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, which convened in the summer of 1940 in London, was eventually recognized by Britain and the Soviet Union and successively by all the Allies, as well as the United States.Germany's operational plans against Czechoslovakia seemed for a while after Munich to be suspended. This hiatus was intended to reassure British public opinion and to avoid a premature conflict. But once the Sudeten question had been resolved in Hitler's favor, the Slovak problem came to the fore. The government in Prague that succeeded Beneš agreed in early October to federalize Czechoslovakia and make it the Czecho-Slovak Republic and to accept an autonomous government and legislature in Bratislava, Slovakia's capital. Hitler, with some delay, discovered the virtues of the Slovak separatists who were demanding independence and personally assured their militant leaders of his full, if belated, sympathies. Slovak nationalism surged, and by early March 1939 in Prague President Emil Hácha, acting within the constitution, had little choice but to dismiss four separatist Bratislava ministers and order army units stationed in that city to defend the republic, however hyphenated, if the separatists should revolt. His action may have played into the hands of Hitler, who promptly invited Monsignor Jozef Tiso, prime minister of the Slovak government, to Berlin and pressured, or rather blackmailed, him into choosing independence; the alternative the Germans offered to Slovakia was its occupation by Hungary, which had ever since 1918 been unable to accept the loss of Slovak territory. The trouble was that Germany's military clocks were ticking; secret marching orders had been given to the German troops massing at the borders of Bohemia and Moravia. At this juncture President Hácha asked the Führer for an interview to clarify the situation.President Hácha's fateful trip to Berlin in March was not, for the Czechs, a matter that had been given careful diplomatic preparation, and it could not have been. The initiative and advance planning were all in the hands of the Germans, and the old man went straight into their trap. Hácha was not well informed about German intentions. Hebelieved that in Berlin he would discuss matters concerning Slovakia, and the people around him, including his cabinet, were far too confident that Czecho-Slovakia still had a chance to survive if it did not challenge Hitler directly. They did not believe the reports issued by Colonel František Moravec, head of army intelligence, that Germany's military occupation of the country was imminent. (Moravec had received information from Czech journalists, from the French Deuxième Bureau, and from an agent, A-54, an Abwehr officer who was playing both sides.) Moravec, his duty done, packed part of his archives, gathered his officers, and boarded a KLM flight from Prague via Rotterdam to London, where he and the others landed at approximately the same time as Hácha's train arrived in Berlin.On March 14, 1939, events happened fast. At noon the Slovak parliament in Bratislava voted on the foregone conclusion of Slovak independence, fully supported if not engineered, by Germany. The Foreign Office in Berlin notified its charge d'affaires in Prague that President Hácha should come to Berlin immediately (Hitler, who originally wanted Hácha to travel by plane, gave permission that he come by train), and the signal was passed on through proper channels from the German Embassy in Prague to President Hácha, who happened to be having lunch with a Czech Catholic bishop and was looking forward to a gala performance of Dvoák's opera Rusalka at the National Theater in the evening.The traveling party, quickly assembled after lunch, was rather small. There was the president; his daughter, Milada Rádlová (in her function as first lady); and Foreign Minister František Chvalkovský, suspected by many of political sympathies for Italian fascism, accompanied by an assistant from his office. There was also the president's secretary, Dr. Josef Kliment, who was to develop his own ideas of collaboration with Germany; the loyal butler, Bohumil Píhoda, who had served President Masaryk in better times; and a police inspector. After a few members of the government had taken leave of the president, the special train, still unheated, left the Hybernská railway station at 4:00 p.m. Mrs. Rádlová had the distinct feeling that a shot was fired at the windows of her compartment when the train left Czech territory (it might have been a stone thrown at the train). The travelers arrived a few minutes before 10:00 p.m. at the Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof, to bewelcomed, strictly according to protocol, by a military honor guard; Dr. Otto Meissner, a minister of state; and Vojtch Mastný, Czech ambassador in Berlin.About midnight German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop made a brief appearance at the Hotel Adlon. Hácha uttered a few ceremonious remarks about the difficulties of small nations facing a great power, and as soon as the foreign minister left, it was announced that Hitler was ready to see his Czech guests at the chancellery. By now it was about 1:00 a.m., because first Hitler had watched his daily movie, not a B western, as was his habit, but a rather sophisticated German comedy entitled A Hopeless Case, directed by Erich Engel, with Jenny Jugo, Karl Ludwig Diehl, and Axel von Ambesser in leading roles. In the courtyard of the chancellery, another honor guard (not army but SS) presented arms, and Hácha and Chvalkovský were received by Hitler and a motley group that included Hermann Goring, who had just returned from an Italian vacation, General Wilhelm Keitel of the Wehrmacht high command, the foreign minister and his assistants (among others, a translator, who was not needed because Hácha spoke fluent German), and Councillor Walter Hewel, whose task it was to provide a stenographic protocol of the proceedings.Hácha, a gentleman of the old school, introduced himself to Hitler, but it is not easy to know what he really said in his quiet self-humiliation or whether he made attempts to discover if Hitler was open to argument. Journalists and historians have referred to different texts, quoting Hewel's stenogram (difficult to disbelieve, though Hewel was a Hitler loyalist who in 1945 killed himself in a Berlin street rather than be taken prisoner by Soviet soldiers), or Hácha's own aide-mémoire, written down a week later, on March 20, or an interview he granted to the Czech writer Karel Horký in April. Hácha wanted to present himself as a rather apolitical civil servant who had been long attentive to Hitler's ideas and to suggest that he had never been on intimate terms with Masaryk or Beneš. (This was true, but Masaryk had appointed him to his judicial position, and both presidents had fully trusted his handling of the law.) He also remarked that he had asked himself whether Czechoslovakia was happy to be an independent state ("ob es ein Glück fur die Tschechoslowakei war, selbstständig zusein"), not exactly a blasphemous idea if it had been articulated on another occasion; defended his recent intervention in Slovak affairs on constitutional grounds; and appealed to Hitler as someone who, being always aware of national problems, would understand the desires of the Czech people to have their own national life.Hitler brushed aside Hácha's polite formulations, told him brusquely that he was not interested in Slovak affairs there and now, and announced that because of the Czechs' unabated ill-treatment of Germans, he had given orders to the army to march into Czech lands at exactly 6:00 a.m. the next day and to integrate what he continued to call Czecho-Slovakia into the Third Reich. Yet, he said, the Czechs would be granted "the most complete autonomy [die vollste Autonomie] and their own way of life [Eigenleben], more than they had ever enjoyed in Austrian times." The guests were unable to respond because Hitler started to shriek, declaring that any resistance would have the most terrible consequences. Hácha, still bent on an exchange of arguments, asked if disarming Czech forces could not be achieved in a different way, but Hitler insisted that his decision was irrevocable. The Czech president then expressed his doubts that it would be possible to notify all units of the Czech Army in the short time left (it must have been close to 3:00 a.m.), and Hitler told him that the telephones of his office were at his disposal. The Czech guests were brought to another room, and Hácha first called General Jan Syrový in Prague, the defense minister, to order that all possible resistance to German armed force should cease. Hácha and Chvalkovský made a number of other calls to the government in Prague, constitutionally in strange abeyance because its officers had tendered their resignations but Hácha had not yet accepted them.By that time the text of a joint declaration had been circulated. The sixty-seven-year-old Hácha, totally exhausted, at first refused and then accepted a fortifying glucose injection administered by Dr. Theo Morrell, Hitler's personal physician and a great believer in injections of all kinds. Playing the good cop, Goring took Hácha aside and, rather than scream at him, told him quietly and almost delicately that he would really regret having to order the German Luftwaffe to bomb Prague and destroy that beautiful city, die schöne Stadt, just to show the French and British what German pilots could do.Hácha at least said that he could not sign the joint declaration in the name of the government. It may be a somewhat later invention that a philological dispute developed about whether the fate of the Czech people actually lay in [liegt in ... ] the hands of the Führer or whether Hácha was putting it [legt ... ] there. Ultimately, Hácha, Chvalkovský, Hitler, and his foreign minister signed the formal declaration at about 3:55 a.m. The Czech president, who continued to believe that Germany's military occupation of his country would be only temporary, put the fate of his nation into the hands of the Führer (the rhetorical formulation had also been used by Slovak functionaries earlier that week). The text was immediately transmitted by telephone to Prague, and an additional protocol, based on a document prepared by General Keitel four days earlier, defined seven points of capitulation. There was to be no resistance by the army or police to Germany's occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, all aircraft were to be grounded and all antiaircraft batteries removed, public and economic life was to continue, and utter restraint on public media was imposed. Witnesses do not say how Hácha and his entourage spent the time until their special train left the Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof shortly after 11:00 a.m. on March 15, 1939, but it is clear that their journey was deliberately delayed by the German authorities (citing bad weather) for many hours to make sure that Hitler (who relied on a special train and his motorcade) arrived in Prague earlier than Hácha.Emil Hácha: Judge and PresidentA protracted discussion of whether Hácha was a Fascist collaborator or a heroic patriot or both has long delayed a more nuanced historical analysis, but this has emerged in the writings of Tomáš Pasák and Robert Kvaek more than fifty years after the events. Yet the drama of March 1939, throwing Hitler, that vicious destroyer of all legal and humane order, against Emil Hácha, the highest judge and lawyer of his nation, has a Shakespearean dimension in which tragedy and the most cruel ironies are not absent. The more I have learned from Vít Machálek's resolutely defensive biography (1998) about Hácha's virtues and blindness, about his stubbornness and helpless self-pity, the moreI am inclined to see the fortitude of an aging jurist trying to save his nation rather than its state (as he said) and to sympathize with the terrible physiological and mental changes he went through in the last years of his life, spent in the castle of the Czech kings.Hácha's forebears were southern Bohemian peasants and small landowners, master brewers and foresters, and it was his father who was the first in the family to leave the land to make a steady career in the tax service. His firstborn, Emil (July 12, 1872, at Trhové Sviny), went quickly through the schools, including a small-town gymnasium, and, exceeding his father's aspirations, became a student at the Prague Czech Faculty of Law, while his younger brother, Theodor, went to the United States, studied engineering at Cooper Union in New York (living on Long Island), and returned, a U.S. citizen, to a job in Prague (1904). Photographs of the time show the student Emil as a handsome and elegant young man, with his mother's full lips and energetic nose (they do not reveal that he was noticeably short), and considering his times, it is not much of a surprise that he did not neglect his literary and musical interests, listening carefully when Marie, a cousin on the maternal side and his future wife, played the piano and sang Wagner (Isolde).Emil and Marie, later called Queen Mary by her intimate friends, were married on February 2, 1902, in Prague, and Milada, their only daughter, was born in early 1903. The young lawyer, at least in the first years of his marriage, was powerfully attracted to writing his own poetry and to studying literature (preferably English) even before he began to publish professional legal studies in the appropriate journals. His poems, commendable accomplishments rather than masterpieces, were attuned to the advanced art of the moment, whether it was called symbolism or fin de siècle. He cultivated Jaroslav Vrchlický and Jií Karásek ze Lvovic, among the decadents, and admired the Belgian symbolist Émile Verhaeren from his Prague distance. In his poems, always addressed to Marie, he contrasted his dreams with the prose of his profession--"Two crutches, instead of wings/ my journey leads to ordinary plains/ I do not drink from sources rare/ and only gather dew drops in my hand"--and confessed how deeply enchanted he was by his bride: "Pre-Raphaelite women had your body/ your grand eyes and your hair's old gold/ I am imprisoned by your beauty and the music ofyour voice." In 1902 Hácha traveled to England to study both the legal system, so different from that of old Austria, and contemporary literature, and together with his brother, "the American," he translated Jerome Klapka Jerome's popular novel Three Men in a Boat (published by 1902 in Prague by Topic), Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" (by coincidence, also the favorite of Edvard Beneš), and Robert Louis Stevenson's essay on Villon, all published at about the same time. In 1903 he was busy reporting about current British writing for respectable Prague magazines, and in 1904 he published a long article on Conan Doyle, Kipling, Wells, and Bram Stoker, informing the educated Czech reader about what was happening on the British scene.Yet a literary career was not to be--professional duties and legal researches intervened--and while Hácha retained a lifelong sympathy for British jurisprudence and literature (in an early letter to Beneš in London, after his own election to the presidency of Czechoslovakia on October 30, 1938, he respectfully promised on November 10, 1938, in English, that he "would do his best"), he was not to become a literary man, as he had perhaps hoped, but at least he tried to combine his legal work with an interest in modern sculpture, painting, and the graphic arts, which he collected as long as he could. It is less known that he liked to hike through the woods and swim in the waters of Bohemian rivers, the colder the better, far beyond his middle age. A cousin of his, a parish priest in Prague-Žižkov (on the wrong side of the tracks), inspired him to become a mountain climber who liked to spend many vacation days in the Austrian and Slovene Alps and to become a founding member of the Czech Society of Alpinists, all male and serious about their business.After finishing his studies, Hácha had worked for three years in a lawyer's office, but he felt restricted there, and by 1898 he had joined the august administrative Council of the Bohemian Kingdom, where he worked, originally under the supervision of Prince Jií of Lobkovicz, for nearly eighteen years, steadily advancing in duties and rank. His idea was to be a true "civil servant" of the British kind, loyal to the law but not to any political party. (A civil servant would feel offended if somebody asked him about his allegiance to any political party, he later wrote, during the time of the republic.) He was called to Vienna in 1916, made aHofrat (court counselor), and appointed a member of Austria-Hungary's High Administrative Court. Yet the loyalty to his homeland was not in question, and when the Czechoslovak Republic was established in 1918, he returned from Vienna to Prague to join the High Administrative Court of Czechoslovakia. It was President Masaryk who appointed him, on January 22, 1925, to be its chief justice, guarding the legal privileges of the nation's political, administrative, and economic institutions and of those individuals who felt deprived of their constitutional rights and turned to the court for redress.By 1909 Hácha's legal studies had begun to appear in the appropriate professional journals, e.g., an essay on "Procedures of British Parliamentarism"; he had joined the Prague Czech Faculty of Law as docent and member of examination commissions; and after 1926, together with a committee of distinguished professors he edited the massive Dictionary of Czechoslovak Public Law, writing more than a dozen entries himself, among them the one on labor law. He also wrote in 1934 a comparison of new Prussian and Czech laws concerning the administration of communes, suggesting in no uncertain terms that whoever believed in democracy and representative institutions would be forever unable to accept the dictates of a führer.The terrible events of the Munich Conference in late September 1938 affected the life of every citizen of the liberal republic, perhaps none more so than Emil Hácha, for they prevented him from retiring, as he had hoped, to be a lawyer's lawyer in a little town in southern Bohemia, dedicating himself to his studies, his art collection, and the memory of his beloved wife, who had died in February. The republic, or what was left of it, underwent momentous changes, especially when it became the federal state of Czecho-Slovakia. Its political parties, earlier thirty-two and more in number, agreed to constitute what was paradoxically called an authoritative democracy based on the consensus of only two party organizations, the Party of National Unity (conservatives and right-wingers) and the Party of National Labor (left-wing liberals, Social Democrats, and a few Communists). The army, having capitulated, was demobilized following German orders. When under German pressure President Beneš abdicated on October 5 and left the country for England on October 22, the constitution requiredthat the Parliament (still functioning) elect a new president. Most people agreed that the candidate should be somebody of real stature, and the list was long and colorful; some people thought of the industrialist Jan Bat'a, Czechoslovakia's wealthiest capitalist, others of the famous composer J. B. Foerster.It was Rudolf Beran, seasoned head of the conservative Agrarians and now chief of the Party of National Unity, who, believing that the new president would have to face important questions of law, order, and reconstitution, nominated (perhaps manipulated) Hácha, who originally resisted the nomination but was quickly accepted by others, including the Party of National Labor. On November 9, 1938, both houses of Parliament gathered, as they had in Masaryk's republic, in Prague's great concert hall, the Rudolfinum, and by noon it was announced that 272 ballots in favor of Hácha (including 39 Slovak ones) had been cast. Hácha was ceremoniously invited to the hall, sternly took the oath of his new office, and was immediately driven to Hradany Castle, his new seat. He remained there, or at nearby Lány Castle, until May 13, 1945, when a dying man, he was carried out on a stretcher by Czech police and taken to Pankrác Prison, where he was to be tried for his crimes. His daughter, Milada, who was taken with him, was let go, suddenly and less ceremoniously, at Letná Park; being without a roof over her head, she went to the apartment of her half Jewish ex-husband, who took her in, no questions asked.Yet there was one occasion (little known but for the researches of the untiring Vít Machálek) when the civil servant and high judge, at a dramatic moment, tried to intervene in the political process. A few days before the Munich Conference, Hácha had remarked in a private letter that Chamberlain's attempt to save the peace might, unfortunately, succeed at Czechoslovakia's expense; the republic had been fortunate in past years, but now? Hácha anxiously telephoned Beneš, apologized that he was using his valuable time, and suggested that the president interrupt his discussions with the French and British and send a representative to Berlin to discuss matters with Hitler personally, in the hope that the worst could be prevented. Beneš politely answered that he would consider Hácha's suggestion, though it ran counter to many years of Czechoslovakia's foreign policies. When theconference was over, Hácha remarked in another private letter that Beneš should have weighed his suggestion, because history itself would judge whether sending a delegate to Berlin was at least something to have pondered seriously: "one would say that he confronted the raging monster face to face." Hácha did not dream that he himself would confront that raging monster only five months later.March 15, 1939: The Day of OccupationThe plan for occupation of the Czech lands by the German army and police had been well prepared on secret orders of October 10 and December 17 from Hitler, who told the army to get ready for an action of "pacification" without any mobilization of additional troops, and it went off without a real hitch, though the weather was inclement, with occasional squalls of snow. The Czecho-Slovak Republic disintegrated; on the morning of March 15 the Prague newspapers reported that Slovakia had declared its independence; it was followed by Carpathian Ruthenia, which was immediately occupied by Hungarian troops.The actual invasion of the country had started in the early evening of March 14 and continued through the night and the morning of March 15, with German troops marching in from the north and the northeast as well as from the Ostmark--that is, Austria--through southern Bohemia and Moravia. Regular troops and SS crossed the border in the far northeast near Koblov, Petkovice, and Svinov to take the important coal and steel town of Ostrava, though these actions were roundly denied by German diplomats or explained away as a step to keep open communication to Slovakia. After 6:00 p.m. the Germans also took the nearby town of Místek, where lonely Czechoslovak troops of the Third Battalion of the Eighth Infantry Regiment at the Czajanka barracks, a former factory, close to the bridge over the Ostravica River, opened fire on the invaders, the only instance of spontaneous resistance by regular troops during that evening and night. By the early morning of March 15 German divisions, possibly as many as 350,000 men belonging to the Third and Fifth Heereskommando, and a few sundry units of other corps, were sweeping in four columns throughthe country. At approximately the same time, units of the German Luftwaffe, under command of Generals Kesselring, Speerle, and Löhr, moved into Czech airspace and occupied Prague's airfield, Ruzyn. The invaders did not know that Josef Mašín, commander of the First Czech Artillery Regiment stationed nearby (and later shot as a member of the resistance), had been ready to disobey orders and to defend the airfield with his men but was overpowered in a confrontation with his superiors willing to give in.By 7:45 a.m. German troops coming from the north had reached the Mlník radio station (established by the Czechoslovak Republic some years earlier to counteract Nazi propaganda and make more liberal views known to Sudeten Germans) and begun broadcasting as Prager Volkssender II (Prague People's Broadcasting Station II), announcing that they would soon reach Prague. A few German university students in Prague marched out to the city limits to be the first to welcome the Wehrmacht soldiers. German columns reached Prague shortly before 9:00 a.m., with an advance of police cars seizing the central police station, and behind them motorized infantry, motorcycles, and armored vehicles with mounted machine guns. Meanwhile, at the main railroad station, heavy artillery pieces and tanks were unloaded and positioned at nearby Wenceslas Square, in the heart of the city and in front of the saints' and patrons' monument, at exactly 10:42 a.m., as the Lidové noviny, a once liberal paper, reported with mock exactitude. Other columns appeared at the Ministry of National Defense in Dejvice and at Hradany Castle, still watched over by a Czech military honor guard, though the president was absent."V Praze je klid [Prague is calm]," the newspapers said unanimously, a recurrent phrase that revealed nothing of the confusion, despair, and shock of the city's Czech citizens (or the resolve of the Fascists to take power immediately). Extant photographs show black masses of people gathering in the streets and on the squares to watch the German columns roll by. A few enthusiastic German women, forming pockets in the crowds, threw little bouquets of violets and forget-me-nots, as Czech women and men (children were in school) watched in silence. Pictures show tears, grim faces, many clenched fists raised in the air, but also, especially later in the day, a good deal of curiosityabout German weapons and motorcycles. Czech policemen in their dark coats and bobby helmets, often barely hiding their feelings, were out in force, holding people back on the sidewalks and directing traffic; Germans were driving on the right side, as in the Reich, but willingly switched to the left, in the Czech fashion, for the time being.General Johannes Blaskowitz, chief of Army Group Three and now of occupied Prague, issued a declaration (printed with red borders, multiple copies were affixed everywhere around the city) telling the citizens in both German and correct Czech that public and economic life was to go on undisturbed. The Czech chief of police immediately declared a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., affecting all public places, including cafés, theaters, and movie houses, but allowed working people to proceed to and from work by the shortest route. (The curfew was lifted within twenty-four hours.) German officers were polite, and rapidly a number of white glove and heel-clicking visits were made. General Hermann Geyer, of the infantry, visited the commanding officer at the Ministry of National Defense, another general called on Dr. Jií Havelka, chief of President Hácha's office at the castle, and still another ranking officer paid his compliments to the lord mayor of Prague, who was later executed.Observers in foreign embassies noted that the occupation of Prague was, in the first days, a military affair, at least in comparison with what had happened in Vienna a year earlier. In Vienna, Jews had been beaten and forced by their Nazi fellow citizens to clean the pavements (occasionally with toothbrushes), but in Prague the armed forces dominated the scene for the time being, and while in Austria advance units of the Gestapo had quickly arrested 70,000 people on their lists, the Czech police, bound to cooperate with the German security service by a little-known agreement of January 6, 1938, and eager to get rid of German anti-Nazi émigrés and Communists, had a list of 4,639 people, of whom the Gestapo, in its so-called Aktion Gitter, kept 1,228 because they had been active recently, it was said.Two short notices buried in the newspapers among the military and world news on March 16 and 18 revealed what was to come. These notices reported on meetings of lawyers and doctors, both of whose organizations had recently introduced undisguised anti-Jewish resolutions,although for the time being the Czech government wanted to avoid the Jewish question for as long as it possibly could. The Czech Bar Association announced that its non-Aryan members (the term "Jewish" was carefully avoided) must name acceptable Aryan substitutes to take over their affairs, and if they did not do so within twenty-four hours, the association would simply take care of the matter by its own authority. The organizations of the Czech medical profession did not hesitate either and declared that being aware of their duties to the nation and recalling the many ways in which Czech and German doctors had loyally worked together in the past, all non-Aryan doctors must be removed immediately from their jobs in public health institutions.These announcements had been anticipated by the unchecked activities of small Fascist groups within the bar association and the medical organizations, especially the ANO (Akce národní obrody, Action of National Renewal) people, and though the occupiers had not yet exerted any pressure, these two professions, called to safeguard the justice and health of Czechoslovak society, did not hesitate to take matters into their own hands. The Gestapo, at any rate, noted in its internal report that apart from a few incidents, the Czech population did not show any resistance worth speaking of. That was to change.Hitler In PragueHitler had talked to Hácha about the "autonomy" (Eigenleben) of the Czechs, whom he personally despised, but formal terms of the future had yet to be defined. As soon as Hácha left Berlin, Friedrich Gauss, head of the legal department of the German Foreign Office, compiled a memorandum suggesting that there be two "protectorates," one for Bohemia and one for Moravia, and a "general resident" appointed to represent the interests of the German Reich in both. Clearly, as Vojtch Mastný has shown in his analysis, the Foreign Office wanted to avoid having this issue come up in another international conference like that in Munich the year before and "to preserve the fiction," as Gauss put it, that the arrangement was based on an agreement with the Prague government.On the spur of the moment Hitler decided in the morning of March 15 that he wanted to go to Prague himself. He gathered a group of party functionaries, military men, and experts from the Foreign Office and further surprised his entourage by switching in the Sudeten region (Böhmisch-Leipa) from his special train to a motorcade that took him along icy roads to Prague. The procession was headed by Karl Hermann Frank, one of the leaders of the Sudeten German Party and soon to be an indispensable part of Hitler's administration. It was dark when the group arrived at Hradany Castle at 8:00 p.m. A splendid buffet prepared by the fashionable restaurateur Lippert had been gobbled up by a group of German occupation officers who thought that it had been prepared for them, but Lippert was flexible; new provisions were sent immediately, and Hitler had a repast of Czech beer and ham, against all his principles. When President Hácha, unaware that Hitler had arrived earlier, later met with members of the Czech government in another wing of Hradany Castle, he was informed about the presence of the unwelcome guest under the same castle roofs.During that night of March 15-16 the German Foreign Office experts set to work to prepare the final version of the Führer's decree on the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The text was ultimately edited by Wilhelm Stuckart, a Nazi Party member since 1922, participant in Hitler's putsch in Munich in 1923, organizer of the storm troops, and, as secretary of state in the Ministry of the Interior, an old hand at incorporating occupied territories.The decree, which did not dwell on President Hácha's presence in Berlin the day before, in its thirteen articles defined the legal status of the newly occupied territories and enabled the authorities of the Reich to abrogate the rights and privileges accorded to the occupied if they considered it useful or necessary. Article 1 stated that Bohemia and Moravia, occupied by the Wehrmacht, now "belonged to the territories of the Reich." Its German nationals would become Reichsbürger whose German blood and German honor would be protected by law, while all other citizens would be nationals (Staatsangehörige) of the protectorate (Article 2). The protectorate was to be "autonomous and administer itself" (3), and its president would (4) "enjoy the rights of a head of state." (Later it was even confirmed that he was to be commander inchief of a small national militia, mostly charged with being his guard of honor.) The Czech government had tried to insist on the legal idea of the nation's autonomy, but the decree, asserting that the Reich would take over the territories' foreign policy and defense (6 and 7), also declared that a Reichsprotektor, with the seat of authority in Prague (5), would be appointed and charged by the Führer with guarding the interests of the Reich and seeing to it "that the lines of policy laid down by the Führer and the Reichschancellor be observed"; he would be authorized "to object to measures that are calculated to injure the Reich," to stop the promulgation of laws, decrees, and other orders harmful to its interests or as far as they "contradict the spirit of protection undertaken by the Reich" (12).The decree was read over the radio by Foreign Minister Ribbentrop in midmorning of March 16. (Hácha heard the proclamation in his room in the castle.) Hitler appeared on a balcony of some building for a moment to greet jubilant Germans; inspected, in the castle courtyard, a group of Nazi students (in their role as victims of Czech terror); briefly received members of the Czech government and President Hácha in audience; and was gone again immediately. Magic Prague did not attract the Führer; he slept over in the Sudetenland and the next day went by way of Olomouc and Brno to Vienna, where he took lodgings at the Hotel Imperial and announced two appointments: Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath became Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, and K. H. Frank his second-in-command as secretary of state.The Third Reich, SuddenlyThe Third Reich started for me when somebody outside our apartment in Brno, the capital of Moravia, shouted "Herr Pol[l]ak, hängens die Fahne raus; die Daitschn sind da! [Mr. Pol[l]ak, run up the flag; the Germans are here!]" I still don't know whether his name was spelled with two l's (possibly Jewish) or one (probably Czech), but I learned later that day that the local Nazi Germans, with a good deal of help from outlying districts, had seized power in the city in advance of the Wehrmacht, which hadmarched in by midmorning. On the preceding day Nazis had clashed with Czechs in the streets, and the night had been full of confused and restless noises. My stepfather, a surgeon and active Social Democrat of Jewish origin, had hurriedly left, and I did not know whether he had told my mother that he was going to try to reach London, as I suspected, rather than Prague, as he told me; he left her to her lonely and courageous insistence that she did not wish to go abroad anyway because she wanted to stay close to the members of her Jewish family, above all her mother, in Prague.I was sixteen, going on seventeen, inquisitive about politics, girls, movies, and jazz (in that order approximately) but old enough to grasp that the harsh and dangerous times about which everybody had been talking had suddenly arrived. I did not love my stepfather (being appalled by his clinical way of talking about sexual matters), but I liked his political ideas and his practical commitment. He came from a little Moravian town but had learned his socialism during his student years in Vienna and was personally close to many Austrian Socialists who had escaped to Moravia after the Austrian civil war of 1934. He helped edit their newspapers and other secret publications in a Brno suburb and smuggled these publications in his doctor's car over the border to Austria, my presence in the little Tatra auto suggesting that we were merely on a family outing. I read the papers he subscribed to--the Moravian Volksbote, which was close to the traditionalist Dr. Ludwig Czech, then a member of the Czechoslovak government, rather than to Wenzel Jaksch, of nationalist leanings, as well as the monthly Der Kampf, in which Otto Bauer, the most famous theoretician of Austrian socialism, untiringly analyzed the situation in terms beyond my comprehension--and I was very proud when he received a postcard from fighting Madrid in which Julius (Julio) Deutsch, once commanding the armed Socialist Austrian Schutzbund and now a general in the Spanish Republican Army, sent his greetings. My middle-class Czech school friends did not know what I was talking about when I told them of this.My political education was much advanced by the war in Spain and by the Munich Conference; I went to demonstrate in the streets in support of Republican Spain, and when Czechoslovakia mobilized against Germany after Munich, I immediately enlisted in the National Guard as a volunteer (I was too young to join the army), was given a 1918 rifle, wasinstructed how to present arms (evidently of essential importance in the situation), and marched up and down a hill not far from an outlying tram station to train for guard duty. My new Czech friends in school, including the girls, were rather astonished when I appeared one morning in early September 1938 in a shabby guard uniform, a long Russian czarist bayonet dangling from my belt. My mother had just transferred me from a German to a Czech school, and some of my Czech verb forms were still a bit deficient, so I had a hard time explaining how it was that I had joined the guard, well known for its Czech nationalism. I said I had joined up not because of my national persuasion but because the Czechoslovak Republic was in danger. I am still proud of that decision, which instinctively put the idea of the democratic republic before language and ethnicity, and when we in the guard were demobilized after a few days, I went again to demonstrate in the streets, demanding that the government in Prague, which had ordered the army to leave the border fortifications without defending them, immediately resign and give way to another, more courageous and soldierly body.As soon as I received permission from my school, we moved to Prague to join my grandmother and all the aunts and uncles on my mother's and father's sides. We moved with Grandmother into a modern penthouse apartment near Charles Square, my mother and grandmother sleeping in the bedroom, I on the couch in the living room; there was space enough because my uncle, who rented the apartment, had left with my stepfather on the last train to London via Holland (I had guessed right), where he was to work in an ammunitions factory and as an inspector of the London Midland railways throughout the war. At a time when it was important to belong to a distinct group, Czech or German (we did not yet know anybody professing Jewish nationality), I did not have much of a chance to align with a definite ethnic group with a proper identity (never mind my week in the National Guard), and I was satisfied to be accepted by most of my new Czech school friends, whose political attitudes I shared (more or less), as a kind of irregular guy who tried to fit in.It would have been exceedingly difficult to explain my special ethnicity (if I had one) in those years of either-or simplifications or requirements. My mother's Jewish family had moved from a Bohemian village to the small town of Podbrady (the birthplace of Kafka's mother) and shortly after 1900 to the more secure city of Prague. (After an unemployed man named LeopoldHilsner had been falsely charged with the "ritual" murder of a Czech servant girl, provincial Jewish shops were subject to attacks by Czech mobs.) My father's family had left the Gardena Valley in the South Tyrol, now a center of fashionable German and Italian tourism, because they had nothing to eat. They were not South Tyroleans in the traditional sense but Ladin peasants, a minority group speaking their own language who, little anticipating the historical consequences of this decision, began to speak German when they migrated first to Linz in Upper Austria and, by 1885, to Prague; only my paternal grandmother continued to speak Ladin there.These two families, so different in origin, religion, and idiom, went on living in mutual distrust and condescension, the Jewish one in the New Town, where a few of my uncles assimilated to Czech culture, and the Ladini, with their baroque Catholicism, in a rabbit warren flat in the most ancient part of the Old Town (where, paradoxically, Franz Kafka's family lived around the corner). When as a boy staying with the Ladins, I did not come back home from a visit to my mother's family, my Ladin aunt was ready to call the police. She feared that Christian boys (I had been baptized) might be killed "by the Jews" because Christian blood was needed. If she had known that there was a Seder that evening and that I was reciting (or trying to recite) the first lines of a Hebrew prayer at the supper table, she would have gone out of her mind.Improvisation and Accommodation: Czech Fascists and National SolidarityA good deal of improvisation was the order of the day during the first weeks of the occupation. The curfew was lifted, young people had the chance to go to the movies again (at the elegant cinemas downtown, six American movies were shown, and one German musical), and German soldiers and officers in their greenish uniforms flooded Prague shops to buy, at an advantageous exchange rate, candy, cakes with whipped cream (a particular hit), souvenirs, and textiles. Some shops adjusted their business hours to deal with the new masses of customers. Czechs had reasons to laugh at the affair of the Bayrischer Hilfszug, a caravan of soup kitchens that came from Bavaria to feed"the starving elements of the population until the new order could provide work and bread for everyone," as George F. Kennan of the U.S. Embassy remarked. The Czech poor were ready to bite the German hand that wanted to feed it, and Czech authorities sold to the Germans at a profit all the provisions that they previously had distributed free of charge to the 180,000 Czech, Jewish, and German refugees displaced from the Sudetenland just months before, at the time of Munich. Prague was not a hungry city. Most German soldiers went for the beer garden U Flek on Kemencová Street, where Czech and Germans competed, though at different tables, to down gargantuan meals and to quaff liters of freshly brewed beer ("pivo jako ken," beer as tasty as horseradish, the Czech adage goes).The new administrators were in no hurry. They traveled to Berlin and returned again, discussing the question whether the new supervisory jobs should go to people from the Reich or to Sudeten Germans (preferably the former). President Hácha, suddenly changing into an active politician of considerable skill, as if he wanted to undo what he had done in his night with Hitler, had his chance to deal with the Czech Fascists, also pushing for power. Occupiers and occupied came to agree, within forty-eight hours, that Czech Fascists and other extreme groups of the right must be excluded from political life. Berlin wanted a Czech administration based on a broad consensus rather than on the activities of "adventurers" (a term that both Germans and Czechs used). In the past Czech Fascists had been radically anti-German and pro-Italian, and only after Hitler had come to power had they been willing to deal with German National Socialists. The essential political issue was to deflect, absorb, or paralyze the political energies of General Radola Gajda, hero of the Czechoslovak Legion that, in Russia and Siberia, had fought in 1914-18 on the Allied side for a free Czechoslovakia, and the rabid Vlajka (Banner) people.Among Czech generals, often inclined to sedentary careers, Gajda (originally, Rudolf Geidl) was a colorful bird, if not an adventurous condottiere of sorts, and even his friendly biographers believe that in the Prague context, he was an outsider shaped by his early experience in the Balkans and in Siberia. It may have been the constant and not entirely unjustified misgivings of the liberal establishment that ultimatelypushed him to become the leader of the Czech Fascists. Born in 1892 of a Czech father, who was serving as a noncom at the Austro-Hungarian Navy base at Kotor in Croatia, and of a possibly Italian mother, Gajda dropped out of school, desultorily trained as a chemist, and volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian Army. But at the beginning of the Great War Gajda crossed the lines to join the Montenegrin Army, soon in total disarray, and was saved by a group of amiable Serb officers who helped him enlist in the Serbian division of the Russian Army. In 1917 he joined the Czechoslovak legions, bravely fought at Zborov and Bachma against Austrian Army units, quickly rose through the ranks, and after 1918 defied Masaryk's order to refrain from fighting the Bolsheviks. It must have been surprising to many that he served in Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak's left-wing Siberian government and then, after Kolchak had established his own local dictatorship in Vladivostok in 1919, conspired against him in a failed revolt of disappointed Socialists.One year later Gajda was home again. He bought a villa in íany, near Prague, where he settled down with his Russian wife (technically he was a bigamist, but he paid off his Czech wife, who promptly married a small-town lawyer) and his art collections, only to discover that the new independent republic of Czechoslovakia did not really know what to do with him. He was first sent to the French War College in Paris, where as a student he condescendingly lectured to his military teachers, then as commander of an infantry division, to eastern Slovakia, facing hostile Hungary, before, allegedly to be under closer scrutiny, being appointed deputy chief of staff in Prague. Gajda's adversaries, including Masaryk, Beneš, and the officers of the French military mission in Prague, did not cease to distrust him. Suddenly rising and spectacularly falling, by 1926 he was (on wobbly evidence) accused of spying for the Soviet Union and of organizing a revolt to destroy the republic. Against the findings of an investigating commission of generals, he was stripped of his rank and most of his pension. He responded by donning the uniform of a czarist general, adorning it with the highest military decorations awarded him by France and Great Britain (he returned the decorations after Munich), and assuming the leadership of the National Fascist Community, which he brieflycame to represent, twice, in Parliament. (In national elections in 1935 the Fascists received 167,433 votes.)Czech Fascism was never a mass movement, but its small and agitated groups were in constant motion, collaborating with and opposing one another, trying to build unified organizations and splitting up again. In the late 1930s there were at least three of them: the National Fascist Community, gathered around Gajda; the ANO group (Akce národní obrody, Action of National Renewal), particularly aggressive among intellectuals; and the Vlajka (Banner) group, with which the ANO made common cause after February 1939. On March 3, 1939, days before the German occupation, Gajda was received by President Hácha, and this completed his rehabilitation. He was to be reinstated to his former military rank, and his pension paid back in full, but in return Gajda had to sign a document swearing that he would be loyal to the government; a trip to Germany, where he was to defend the Czech cause, was even discussed. But the situation changed rapidly, and he did not feel bound by his promise, or not immediately. On the eve of the German invasion Gajda presented himself at the German Embassy as its coming man, declared publicly he was the leader of the new nation, and after the Germans had arrived, he invited the Prague Fascists to meet at the Uhelný (Coal) Market for further action. Only three hundred showed up.Gajda immediately paid a visit to General Eccard Freiherr von Gablenz, deputy commander of Germany's occupying force, who encouraged a Fascist committee in abstract terms. Within twenty-four hours, however, Gajda found himself outflanked by the concerted action of Hácha and the Germans. On March 17 he was invited to the office of the president, where he was informed that a unified new Czech citizens' organization, called National Solidarity, was being created, and that he was welcome to join it. (He was never appointed to the guiding committee, reserved for those who had served in the liberal First Republic.) On the next day, March 18, a joint communique of General Blaskowitz and the Czech government noted that public power was in the hands of the occupying forces and the legitimate Czech government; private organizations or groups of whatever kind (meaning the Fascists or the Vlajka people) were not allowed to intervenein public affairs. It surprised many that Gajda, who basically did not like Germans, wisely withdrew to a country mill, which he bought with his pension, and honorably helped Czech officers hostile to the occupation to escape via Poland to the west.The Vlajka people had no scruples about collaborating actively with the occupying forces and serving as informers to the Gestapo. Originally a club of right-wing students at the faculties of philosophy and law at Charles University in Prague, established in April 1930, the Vlajka group and its periodical had emerged during the Depression years, enjoying the fleeting sympathies of the conservative poet Viktor Dyk and resolutely opposing the liberal establishment. Led by Jan Vrzalík, later a professor at a small-town school, it was at first demonstrably Fascist in the Italian sense, opposing Germans, Jews, Marxists, Freemasons, and nearly everybody else, but as soon as Hitler became chancellor in Germany, Vrzalík began to admire his power and turned the Vlajkas' spite against German, and often Jewish, left-wing émigrés in Prague. Vlajka students were among the ringleaders of the street battles that broke out in the fall of 1934, when Czech nationalists of all colors demanded that the ancient insignia (and medieval Carolinum Hall) of Prague's divided university, still in possession of the German faculties there, be handed over to the Czech faculties.In the days of Munich and after they had played their cards as superpatriots, the Vlajka people flooded Prague with leaflets, demolished a few village synagogues, hunted down Jewish guests in city cafés, and firebombed Jewish shops and apartment buildings. When the Germans marched in, the Vlajkas entertained high hopes of assuming power immediately, meeting at the Prague restaurant Bumbrlíek and the Café Technika (a traditional student haunt) to work on a list of their people who would take over (among them Jan Rys-Rozséva, their leader, as putative head of government). But together with Gajda, they were pushed to the sidelines, where the occupation regime used them to exert pressure on the government and to denounce, in their newspapers, liberals and Jews. 
Hácha announced in his first speech that he was thinking of a unified organization that would represent all Czechs, and by March 26 he hadappointed a steering committee to establish it and to guide its activities. The Národní souruenství (National Solidarity) was to be defined by its rather diffuse program of national togetherness and Christian morality, and this was enough to split the Fascist groups into those who wanted to join and those who did not. In practice, Hácha shrewdly relied on the strength of Czechoslovakia's republican traditions, and after consulting with the chiefs of the Party of National Unity and the Party of National Labor, now in the process of self-liquidation, he appointed people who had had strong records during the pre-Munich First Republic. The Agrarian Party leader Adolf Hrubý was chairman; Captain Simon Drgá, formerly of army intelligence, was secretary-general (within months, he was arrested by the Gestapo because of his work in the resistance); and Professor Miloslav Hýsek was appointed by Hácha to preside over the Kulturní rada (Board of Culture). Hýsek was a man who celebrated the Czechs as a "nation of readers" but as time went on, he had to pay for his illusion of his nation's cultural autonomy (as the critic Vincenc ervinka suggested) by praising the Nazi idea of a new Fascist Europe. People rightly perceived the Národní souruenství as a defense organization, dominated on the regional and local level by second-tier functionaries of the old Czechoslovak parties. In Moravia, Catholics were running the show (though Fascist pressure was heavy), and in Prague the local organization was dominated by officers of Beneš's National Liberal Party, continuing to exert massive influence through its Melantrich Publishing House and its newspaper eské slovo (Czech Word), with a print run of more than a million copies a day.The German Sicherheitsdienst (SD, the Security Service), remarkably candid in its internal evaluations of what was going on, reported that the Národní souruenství was not a movement of revolutionary renewal but relied on personalities well known from the past. That was exactly what attracted citizens to join it, of course, and within a month, it was reported, 97 percent of all Czech male adults had signed applications to become members. (If you wore the badge of the NS upside down, people whispered, it suggested SN, or Smrt Nmcm [Death to the Germans].) Jews were excluded, and Vlajka informers discovered early that the NS considered it a task of honor to support the familiesof people whom the Germans imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. Although the NS did all this skillfully by using inconspicuous accounts at local bank branches to make support payments, the Gestapo in the course of events arrested 137 of its functionaries and executed 43 of them. Later it was announced that the NS would concentrate on cultural, not political, affairs, and by June 1940, after the arrests of the lord mayor of Prague, Otakar Klapka, and of the Prague secretary of the NS, Dr. Josef Nestával (who had successfully established a communications link via Bratislava and Budapest to Belgrade), all National Solidarity activities in Prague were quashed, though the national organization dragged on, its own shadow, until the days of open revolt.Haven and Hell for Refugees"We drove through the town around midnight," George F. Kennan of the U.S. Embassy noted early on March 16. "It was strange to see these Prague streets, usually so animated, now completely empty and deserted. We were acutely conscious ... that the curfew had indeed tolled the knell of a long and distinctly tragic day." Kennan had watched fearful crowds seeking protection in the courtyards of the British and American embassies earlier that day, and he knew that among the people suddenly affected, none were more in danger than German-speaking anti-Nazi refugees (as the Aktion Gitter was demonstrating). Prague had once been their haven and was now their hell--whether they were Jews who had sought rescue in Masaryk's republic, or non-Jewish intellectuals and writers whose books had been burned in the Third Reich, or functionaries of the German left, Communists, or Social Democrats (defeated Austrian Socialists came to Brno after 1934).In 1933, when Hitler came to power, the frontier between Bohemia and Germany had been porous, and in Moravia, railway lines were occasionally operated by Socialist crews. The Czechoslovak Republic then, with its strong parties of the left and its many German-language newspapers, theaters, and schools, was more attractive to Hitler's Germanenemies than Pilsudski's Poland or Horthy's Hungary. Unofficial estimates put the number of refugees from Germany at fifteen hundred (not all of them registered) every year after 1933. Efficient support committees had almost spontaneously sprung up in Prague right away. Among them were the Demokratische Flüchtlingshilfe (Democratic Refugees Support Organization) and the Jüdische Flüchtlings-hilfe (Jewish Refugees Support Organization), and two years later the Communist Rote Hilfe (Red Help). These offered food, lodging, and meager pocket money in legal and sometimes in many illegal ways; they also helped German-speaking refugees confront Czechoslovakia's formidable bureaucracy.Among the first wave of refugees were many who in the 1920s had left their native Czechoslovakia to write, publish, or edit important newspapers in liberal Germany and who now returned to Prague, cherishing their Czechoslovak citizenship, which enabled them to earn a kind of living in their profession, if they were lucky, and again to blend into the German literary world of Prague to which they had originally belonged. Most of these writers came early in 1933 and by 1937-38 or 1939 at the latest had left for England, the United States, or Palestine, where they usually continued to publish in German. The roaming reporter Egon Erwin Kisch, for example, close to the Comintern apparatus, often came to Prague to look after his aging mother in the old family home on Melantrichova Street; Bruno Adler published an important novel about the so-called Hilsner affair (the turn-of-the-century "ritual" murder) before going to England; the critic Willy Haas continued to edit literary magazines (he went to India in time); the novelist Hans Natonek was published in the liberal Prager Tagblatt and ultimately went, via Paris, to Arizona; Walter Tschuppik, who put out a weekly newspaper in Prague that was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reached London only in 1940. Others less fortunate did not manage to escape in time and died by their own hand or in the camps. Ernst Weiss, novelist, playwright, and medical doctor, escaped to France only to commit suicide when Paris fell to the Germans in 1940; the newspaper editor Emil Faktor died in Lodz in 1941; and the poet Camill Hoffmann, long a member of the Czechoslovak diplomatic service in Vienna and Berlin, was deported to Terezín and, later,to Auschwitz, where he died in 1944. It was not merely a matter of Peter Demetz is the author of many books, including The Air Show at Brescia, 1909 (FSG, 2002) and Prague in Black and Gold (H&W, 1997). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.