Former Nazi Sites in Czechoslovakia (outside Prague)

Ethnic Germans greeting Hitler with the Hitler salute after he crossed the border into the formerly Czechoslovak Sudetenland in 1938. Active History has an excellent lesson based on this photo- “The Mystery of the Crying Woman” – A Sourcework Analysis Starter. The American National Archives provides this cropped photo and this caption: "The tragedy of this Sudeten woman, unable to conceal her misery as she dutifully salutes the triumphant Hitler, is the tragedy of the silent millions who have been `won over' to Hitlerism by the `everlasting use' of ruthless force."  This History of the Sudetenland page has the same photo, but also another image (also cropped) which shows more of the original, and has this caption: "Overcome By Emotion — Three Sudetenlanders, one overcome with emotion as she raises her arm in a Nazi salute, pay homage as the Wehrmacht enters the border town of Cheb, October 1938."  A letter to Time Magazine (Nov. 12, 1945), written by Lieutenant Earle A. Cleveland, discusses the emotional state of the depicted woman: "The sobbing woman with arm outstretched in Nazi salute has been consistently interpreted as a symbol of forced obedience to the German conquerors of Czechoslovakia ... The picture was snapped by a German press photographer and first appeared in the National Socialist newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, in the fall of 1938, shortly after the Sudeten 'Anschluss.' The Nazi explanation was that here were portrayed the intense emotions of joy which swept the Sudeten Germans as Hitler crossed the Czech border at Asch and drove through the streets of the nearby ancient city of Eger [the German name for Cheb], 99% of whose inhabitants were ardently pro-Nazi Sudeten Germans at the time."

 
Hitler crosses the Wildenau border from Germany into Sudetenland with his troops on October 4 1938, half a mile from Asch.

Olomouc (Olmütz Stadt)
Olmütz 
Adolf-Hitler-Ring at the Marktplatz in front of the Marienpestsäule
Olmütz
Looking the other way towards Adolf-Hitler-Ring
During the Second World War, most of the town's ethnic German residents sided with the Nazis; the German-run town council renamed the main square after Adolf Hitler. World War II brought a rise in anti-semitism and attacks on the Jews that reflected what was happening in Germany. On Reichskristallnacht (10 November 1938), townspeople destroyed the synagogue. In March 1939, city police arrested 800 Jewish men, and had some deported to the Dachau concentration camp. During 1942–1943, ethnic Germans sent the remaining Jews to Theresienstadt and other German concentration camps in occupied Poland. Fewer than 300 of the town's Jews survived the Holocaust.  After Olomouc was liberated, Czech residents took back the original name of the town square. When the retreating German army passed through the city in the final weeks of the war, they shot at its 15th-century astronomical clock, leaving only a few pieces intact (these are held in the local museum). In the 1950s, the clock was reconstructed under the influence of Soviet government; it features a procession of proletarians rather than saints. After the war, the government participated in the expulsion of ethnic Germans from the country, following the Allied leaders' Potsdam Agreement, which redefined the Central European borders, although many of these people's families had lived for two centuries in the region.

Liberec (Reichenberg Stadt) 
This was the home town of the founder of the Sudeten German Party (SdP) Konrad Henlein, born in the suburbs of Liberec. Whilst he declared fidelity to the Republic, he secretly negotiated with Adolf Hitler. In 1937 he radicalised his views and became Hitler's puppet in order to incorporate the Sudetenland into Germany and destabilize Czechoslovakia, which was an ally of France and one of the leading arms producers in Europe.  The city became the centre of Pan-German movements and later of the Nazis, especially after the 1935 election, despite its important democratic mayor, Karl Kostka (German Democratic Freedom Party). The final change came in Summer 1938, after the radicalisation of the terror of the SdP, whose death threats forced Kostka and his family to flee to Prague.  In September 1938, after two unsuccessful attempts by the SdP to stage a pro-Nazi coup in Czechoslovakia, which were stopped by police and the army, the Munich Agreement awarded the city to Nazi Germany and it became the capital of the Sudetengau region. Most of the city's Jewish and Czech population fled to the rest of Czechoslovakia or were expelled. The important synagogue was burned down. During a rally in December 1938, Hitler laid out the future of the Hitler Youth.
After World War II the town again became a part of Czechoslovakia and nearly all of the city's German population was expelled following the Beneš decrees. The region was then resettled with Czechs. The city continues to have an important German minority, consisting of anti-Nazi Germans who were active in the struggle against Hitler, as well as Germans from Czech-German families and their descendants. Liberec also has a Jewish minority with a newly built synagogue and a Greek minority, originating from Communist refugees who settled there after the Greek Civil War in 1949.
 
The town house at Adolf-Hitler-Platz. It was here that, for the last time in his life, Hitler gave an election speech on December 2, 1938. He spoke on the topic of the upcoming December 2 supplemental elections to the Reichstag. Hitler arrived in the capital of the Sudetenland at around 2:00 in the afternoon. First he toured the House of Trade and the city theatre, then continued on to the City Hall, where a reception was given in his honour. After a welcome by the Mayor, Hitler thanked him in a short address in which he emphasized his intention to transform Reichenberg, within a few years, into “a truly beautiful stronghold of the Movement.”
At a mass rally that evening, Hitler delivered his big election speech. He began with the obligatory “party narrative,” which even his regular listeners found comparatively long. However, he stood before thousands of Sudeten Germans, who heard him speak for the first time and adored him as though he were a godlike figure. They still possessed a faith in him which the people in the old part of the Reich had incrementally lost over the course of his six-year rule.
In front of the Sudeten Germans, Hitler could indulge once again in an orgy of verbosity. He listed his achievements of the past twenty years of his life, crowning his description with the following:
“National Socialism does not stand at the end of its road, but at the beginning!” 
 
Konrad Henlein Platz, named after a leading Sudeten German politician in Czechoslovakia. Upon the German occupation he joined the Nazi Party as well as the SS and was appointed Reichsstatthalter of the Sudetenland in 1939. He was head of the German gymnastics movement (Deutsche Turnbewegung) in Czechoslovakia from 1923 until 1933, when he appeared as leader of the Sudeten-German Home Front (Sudetendeutsche Heimatfront), which became the second strongest party in the Czech chamber in 1935. On April 24, 1938, he unavailingly demanded autonomy for the Sudeten-German areas. He visited Adolf Hitler on September 1 and two weeks later, when a revolt broke out in the Sudetenland and martial law was ordered, presented the Czech government with an ultimatum for the withdrawal of that order. The Czech government having ignored his ultimatum, he issued a proclamation demanding the cession of the Sudeten-German territory to Germany; the government suspended his party for treasonable activities; Henlein fled to Germany to escape arrest and established a Sudeten-German “Free Corps,” which engaged in skirmishes along the frontier as the German-Czech crisis approached its climax. On Oct. 1, 1938, after the four-power conference at Munich had ceded the Sudeten-German areas to Germany, Henlein was appointed by the German government commissioner (Reichskommissar) for the Sudeten-German territory, later regional party leader (Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter) of Sudetenland. At the end of World War II, he committed suicide while in Allied custody by cutting his veins with his broken glasses. He was buried anonymously in the Plzeň Central Cemetery.


Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad)
Adolf Hitler Platz with the Kurhaus. Until their expulsion in 1945 the majority of the population of the city was German.

Varnsdorf (Warnsdorf)

The former Straße der SA. Prior to the end of the Great War, Warnsdorf was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Following that war, the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye incorporated it, together with the region of Bohemia, into the new country of Czechoslovakia. Following the end of the Second World War, its ethnic German population was mostly expelled to Germany, and the official spelling of its name was changed from the German "Warnsdorf" to the Czech "Varnsdorf".  Great sympathy was shown to the Sudeten German Party led by Konrad Henlein. In 1935 Henlein spoke here to 12,000 people, followed the next year by Klement Gottwald who attracted less than half that. Konrad Henlein visited Varnsdorf 1938 at a time when he and his party increased their aggressiveness leading to skirmishes with members of the financial guard which saw on September 22, 1938 two of its members killed. The next day the Czechoslovak army entered Varnsdorf, the same day they withdrew behind the defensive line at Stožecká. September 30 1938 the Munich Agreement was signed leading, on October 2, 1938 to the German occupation. Events of the war years of 1939-1945 the city virtually untouched; in Varnsdorf saw no fighting and the town was never bombed, although from November 1944 daily air alarms were conducted. After 1943 Varnsdorf was flooded with refugees from bombed German cities and from the Eastern Front. Before the end of the Second World War in 1945 there was a public execution Rudolph Posselt, a German who refused to return to the German Army on the Eastern Front. By the end of the war Varnsdorf was the site of several hundred forced labourers; two of whom on April 11, 1945 were sentenced to death by hanging.
Cheb (Eger)
 
Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now
 
Little has changed with the town hall in the foreground
Hitler driving through in victory in October, 1938.  His very first speech in the new territories was here on October 3 in the Eger market place and already was anything but friendly. He immediately announced to the Sudeten Germans that they, too, must fulfil new duties—naturally of a predominantly military nature—since, after all, he had with alacrity “drawn his sword” in their defence: 
Egerlanders! Today, for the first time, I may greet you as my Egerlanders! Through me, the entire German Volk greets you! At this moment, it not only greets you but the entire Sudeten German territories which will, in a few days’ time, belong to the German Reich in its entirety.
This greeting is at the same time an avowal: never again shall this land be torn from the Reich! This Greater German Reich is protected by the German shield and by the German sword. You yourselves form part of this protecting umbrella. From now on, like all other Germans, you will have to do your part. It is a cause of great pride for all of us that each and every German son will participate not only in Germany’s joy, but also in our duties and, if need be, in our sacrifices as well.
For you, this nation was willing to draw the sword! And you will all be willing to do likewise wherever German lands or the German Volk be threatened. In this community of will and fate, the German Volk will, from now on, mould its future. And no power on earth will ever be a threat to it again! And so all of Germany, from East to West, from North to South, stands prepared to stand up for each other.
There is great happiness in all of Germany these days. Not only you feel this, it is felt by the entire nation which rejoices with you. Your happiness is the happiness of the seventy-five million who have made up the Reich until now, just as your sorrow was their sorrow until a few days ago. And thus you step forth onto the path leading to Germany’s great future! In this hour, let us thank the Almighty who has blessed our paths in the past, and let us pray to Him: may He lead us forth onto the path of righteousness in the future as well.
 
The Reichs Arbeits Dienst (RAD) in the main square in 1938
With the Roland fountain
Austrian National Socialism and hence German National Socialism can trace its origins to Cheb when Franko Stein transferred a small newspaper (Der Hammer) from Vienna to Cheb in 1897. There he organized a German workers congress called the Deutschvölkischer Arbeitertag, which published the 25-point program. Sand gate near Ohře river  The terms of the 1919 Treaty of St. Germain triggered civil unrest between the Sudeten German population and the new Czechoslovak administration, just as in the rest of the Sudetenland. As elsewhere, protests in the town – now officially named Cheb – were eventually suppressed by force.  On 3 October 1938, the town was visited by Adolf Hitler ; shortly afterwards German troops marched into the Sudetenland and seized control. From 1938 until 1945 the town was annexed to Germany. On 1 May 1939, the town split away from the surrounding district to form its own municipal district together with the settlement of Matzelbach, and gave its name to the most westerly of the three administrative regions of the Sudetenland. The administrative seat of the Regierungspräsident lay in Karlsbad, however.  Cheb was liberated by the 97th Infantry Division of the US Army on 25 April, 1945.
In 1897 Cheb gave birth to German National Socialism, which later evolved into the Nazi party. Hitler visited here in 1938, just before German troops seized control of the surrounding Sudetenland. Payback came with the 1945 expulsion of Cheb’s German population of 30,000. Now, significant Vietnamese, Slovak and Roma populations reflect Central Europe’s evolving demography in this town that sits astride the traditional, historical and cultural fault line between Germany and the Czech Republic.
Lonely Planet (203)
Sokolov (Falkenau a. d. Eger)
 
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now Staré náměstí. From 1938 to 1945 the town was one of the municipalities in Sudetenland. During World War II, Falkenau was the site of a sub-camp of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp. The camp at Falkenau was captured by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division on May 6, 1945.
 
Looking at St. Jakob's church from the other direction along what was Straße der SA 
 
The Kreishaus in 1940 and today

Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad)
   Adolf-Hitler-Straße then and now
 Adolf-Hitler-Straße then and now

Marienbad remained a popular destination between World War I and World War II. After WWII, the ethnic German population of the town was forcibly expelled according to the Potsdam agreement, thereby emptying the town of the majority of its population. After the communist coup-d'état in 1948; it got sealed off from most of its foreign visitors. 
 
The Hotel Bohemia on Adolf Hitler Straße and today, Hlavna trida


Nýřany (Nürschan)
 
The Church of Saint Procopius on Adolf Hitler Platz during the Nazi regime and today. During World War II the town of Nýřany was a part of Sudetenland. Near the end of the war one transport of death was surprised by an airstrike and about hundred of prisoners managed to escape. They were chased by SS-Guards and local Germans and either killed on the spot or executed at the place called Humboldtka.


 Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad Stadt)
The large German-speaking population of Bohemia was incorporated into the new state of Czechoslovakia in accordance with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. As a result, the German-speaking majority of Carlsbad protested. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month, six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstration turned unruly.
In 1938, the Sudetenland, including Carlsbad, became part of Nazi Germany according to the terms of the Munich Agreement. After World War II, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement, the vast majority of the people of Carlsbad were forcibly expelled from the city because of their German ethnicity. In accordance with the Beneš decrees, their property was confiscated without compensation.

 
View of the Imperial Hotel and Diana Tower during the Third Reich and today

Krnov (Jägerndorf)
 
Hermann Göring Platz (now Market square) and St. Martin church.
Hitler speaking in front of the townhall




Hitler came here on October 7, 1938 where he was greeted by Göring and Colonel General von Rundstedt upon his noon arrival. In this square the Führer spoke of his determination to fight to the end and emphasised the strength of the German Wehrmacht:
While one might rob three or six million Germans of their rights and oppress them, no one can, in this world, bend eighty million Germans to his will. [—]
On October 10, the swastika will fly over even the last morsel of the Sudetenland. Then this region will finally be freed, and it will be a Reichsgau and part of the German nation for all time to come! 


Orlová (Orlau)
Adolf Hitler Platz
 Following the Munich Agreement, in October 1938 together with the Zaolzie region it was annexed by Poland, administratively organised in Frysztat County of Silesian Voivodeship. The village was then annexed by Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II. After the war it was restored to Czechoslovakia. In 1946 the villages of Lazy (Łazy), Poruba (Poręba) and Horní Lutyně were administratively joined to the town. Widespread coal mining, especially during the communist era, had a devastating impact on the town, its buildings and architecture, especially in Lazy. Many buildings in Orlová were demolished, including the Polish grammar school built in 1909. The architectural character of the town was completely changed.


Litoměřice (Leitmeritz)German troops in parade formation in front of the castle October 12 1938. In the final stages of World War II, German troops retreated to escape the advancing Red Army. Czech resistance took control of the castle on 27 April 1945, and after a few days they started negotiations with the German commander about the terms of his surrender. The Wehrmacht capitulated in the night after 8 May, but German troops fled on 9 May, just before Soviet troops entered the town on 10 May 1945. Most of the German population of the town was expelled by the so-called Beneš decrees in August 1945, along with about 2.5 million other former Czechoslovak citizens of German ethnicity.    In Early April 1945 the ϟϟ evacuated thousands of Jews--mostly on foot--as Allied and Soviet forces pressed in from the east and west. Evacuees were taken to camps at Bergen-Belsen, Germany; Dachau, Germany; Ebensee, Austria; Leitmeritz, Czechoslovakia; and Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia. The operation was rife with daily beatings and murders as well as deaths from starvation and typhus. Thirteen hundred Jews were eventually evacuated on foot from Vienna; only 700 reached their destination, the Gusen, Austria, camp, alive.
Adolf Hitler Ring, now the Marktplatz

Chateau Klecany
Chateau Klecany


Ceska Kamenice (Kamnitz)
In spring 1944, the Rabstejn sub-camp of Flossenburg was created here, with a capacity of 600 prisoners. At the end of the war, 1,500 inmates were incarcerated in the camp. The camp provided workers for the nearby underground aircraft factory in the town of Janská, 3 km west of Česká Kamenice. The number of inmate deaths is not known due to the destruction of all camp documentation. The foundations of camp buildings remain visible, along with a memorial and historical overview
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today
Komotau (Chomutov)
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today
 Chomutov, in the 1930s part of the Sudetenland, had a population between 50% to 75% ethnically German. A very small Jewish population, 444 in 1930 (1.3% of the total population), came under increasing pressure, and Chomutov was declared "judenrein" on September 23, 1938 by the increasingly pro-Nazi forces. A week later, Chomutov and the surrounding districts were occupied by war-time Germany as part of the 1938 Munich Agreement. This broader, northwestern border area of what is the modern-day Czech Republic was annexed by Germany and reorganized as the Reichsgau Sudetenland. The German population, the Sudetenland being one of the most pro-Nazi regions of the Third Reich, was expelled after 1945 with great brutality.
Adolf-Hitler-Platz October 19, 1938 and today
Adolf-Hitler-Platz October 19, 1938 and today
Schulplatz, now Husovo náměstí
Schulplatz, now Husovo náměstí
Marktplatz at the start of the Great War, July 29, 1914 and now
Komerční Banka then and now
Komerční Banka then and now
Hutbergwarte, now the Hotel Partyzán
Ringplatz, now Kostel sv.Ignáce
Prager Strasse
Café Habsburg ( Restaurace Hradčany)
Steigasse, now Ruská ul
Herrengasse, now Revoluční ul
Herrengasse, now Revoluční ul
 
The Gymnasium during the Nazi era and now
 The church portal
Städtische Parksäle then, Městské divadlo now
Städtische Parksäle then, Městské divadlo now
Bratislava (Pressburg-Pozsony)
 
Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now


Pressburg celebrating the birthday of Adolf Hitler by renaming Masaryk Square Adolf Hitler Square, April 20, 1939. Bratislava was declared the capital of the first independent Slovak Republic on March 14, 1939, but the new state quickly fell under Nazi influence. In 1941–1942 and 1944–1945, the new Slovak government cooperated in deporting most of Bratislava's approximately 15,000 Jews; they were transported to concentration camps, where most were killed or died before the end of the war. Bratislava was bombarded by the Allies, occupied by German troops in 1944, and eventually taken by the Soviet Red Army on April 4, 1945. At the end of World War II, most of Bratislava's ethnic Germans were helped to evacuate by German authorities. A few returned after the war, but were soon expelled without their properties under the Beneš decrees, part of a widespread expulsion of ethnic Germans from eastern Europe.

Jirkov (Görkau) 
Konrad Henlein Straße then and now 

The cinema remains in operation
 
The stadtkirche in 1938

Dobřany (Wiesengrund)
 
Adolf-Hitler-Straße and today

(Asch)
Hotel Löw (now Goethe) on Adolf Hitler Straße 

Cieszyn (Teschen)  
 
Adolf Hitler Platz, now Marktplatz 

Jablonné v Podještědí  (Deutsch Gabel)