[A wave of immigrants around 1900]
[The battle for the Nibelung district]  
[The battle for the Komensky district]
[Attempts at mediation]  
[Hitler on the Czechs]
Hitler's Vienna
A dictator's apprencticeship
by Brigitte Hamann

Czechs in Vienna

Hitler on the Czechs

August Kubizek relates about young Hitler: "When we walked home through the districts of, say, Rudolfsheim, Fünfhaus, or Ottakring and workers passed us returning from work, it would happen that Adolf tightly grabbed my arm: "Did you hear, Gustl? - Czech! Another time we went all the way to the Spinnerin am Kreuz (spinner on the cross), because Adolf wanted to see this old Viennese landmark. We encountered brick workers who loudly spoke Italian, wildly gesticulating. "There you have your German Vienna!" he shouted indignantly."

Apart from this remark, no other anti-Czech utterances are documented from Hitler's Vienna years. None of the eyewitnesses, for example, mentions any bad experiences Hitler had with Czechs, but no friendships, either-contrary to Hitler's manifold relationships with Jews in Vienna. There is only one documentable personal relationship between young Hitler and a Czech: Maria Zakreys, his first landlady in Vienna, an immigrant from Moravia with a thick Czech accent and, as far as her writing abilities were concerned, a poor knowledge of German. Young Hitler got along exceptionally well with her. According to Kubizek, in 1908, Mrs. Zakreys, a Czech, was even "the only human being in this city of millions of people with whom we would associate."

Czechs in Vienna "note by Hitler"

Hitler would hardly have been aware of a slight Czech-Viennese touch: when he called Eva Braun his "Tschapperl," this-coming from the Czech word "capek," awkward person-something like "awkward child" with the connotation of "silly little one."

Hitler's later remarks about "the Czechs" had hardly anything to do with personal experiences but were clearly only repetitions of old Viennese clichés, for instance, when he said in 1942 : Every Czech is a born nationalist who subjugates his interests to all other obligations. One must not let oneself be deceived, the more he bends, the more dangerous he becomes.

...Of all the Slavs, the Czech is the most dangerous one, because he is diligent. He has discipline, is orderly, he is more Mongoloid than Slavic. He knows how to hide his plans behind a certain loyalty. ...I don't despise them , it is a battle of destinies. An alien racial splinter has penetrated our folkdom, and one must yield, he or we. ...That's one of the reasons why the Hapsburgs perished. They believed they could solve the problem through kindness.

Another catch phrase often employed in Vienna was that the Czechs were apple-polishers ...who are subservient to their superiors but kick their inferiors. Both Poles and Czechs, he said, knew from the experience of a half thousand years. ..how best to act like vassals without arousing suspicion . How many Czechs, he said, were gadding about in Vienna when I was young, quickly learned the Viennese accent, and then deftly maneuvered themselves into important positions in Government, the economy, and so forth.

We can also detect the old Viennese condescension toward the "diligent" Czech who was fit to be a vassal, when in 1942 Hitler told his guest, Reich Leader SS Heinrich Himmler: The Czechs were better than the Hungarians, the Romanians, and the Poles. A diligent petty bourgeoisie had formed which was keenly aware of its boundaries. Even today they will look up to us with both anger and boundless admiration: We Bohemians are not meant to rule!

Hitler considered Lueger's system of "Germanizing" the Czechs via the language not resolute enough. Nationality or rather race does not happen to lie in language but in the blood. Hitler said that I remember how in my youth Germanization led to incredibly false conceptions .Even in Pan-German circles the opinion could then be heard that the Austrian-Germans, with the promotion and aid of the government, might well succeed in a Germanization of the Austrian Slavs; these circles never even began to realize that Germanization can only be applied to soil and never to people. For what was generally understood under this word was only the forced outward acceptance of the German language. Yet it was a scarcely conceivable fallacy of thought to believe that a Negro or a Chinese, let us say, will turn into a German because he learns German and is willing to speak the German language and perhaps even give his vote to a German political party .That was a de-Germanization and the beginning of a bastardization and a destruction of the Germanic element.

In any case, Hitler planned "to resettle all elements that are racially of no value from Bohemia to the East" after the war. "The individual Czech, he said, was diligent, and if they were spread over the occupied Eastern territories, they might be quite good as supervisors. The Fuhrer stressed again and again that he personally knew the Czechs extremely well." On the other hand, he found the resettling of the Czechs and the aimed - for "Germanization" of Bohemia and Moravia too slow, which is why later on he believed a Germanization was possible, but only if merciless strictness was exercised toward rebels.

When in 1939 he moved his troops not only into the Sudetenland but also into the clearly non-German "rest of Czechoslovakia," this was hardly in line with his slogan "One people, one Reich, one Fuhrer." He used flimsy excuses and referred to the Hapsburgs' tradition, for instance, in 1942 : Czechoslovakia, he said, just wasn't a structure that had internally grown into an independent state ; rather it had remained a former Austrian nation state beyond its modeling itself after German culture. Hitler said that even Czech president of state Dr. Emil Hacha had told him that the Czechs were not a people of masters. And Tomàs G. Masaryk, with whom Hitler was well acquainted from his Vienna years, Czechoslovakia's first president of state and "father of the fatherland," who died in 1937, had written somewhere that no one had been respected in his family who had spoken Czech. In 1942 Hitler remarked that with firm direction it should be possible to force the Czech language back to the significance of a dialect twenty years from now.

And not least, Czechs, like Jews, signified for Reich chancellor Hitler Viennese self-confidence, which refused to meet his demand for subjecting itself to the German unified state. In 1941 he said, grumblings of [Vienna's] population was a consequence of the strong Jewish-Czech mix. And after the celebration of the "Jew-free Vienna festival," Hitler said in a monologue in a small circle on June 25, 1943 : I've managed to get the Jews out of Vienna, now I also want to get the Czechs out of there.

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