Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Reception of refugees from border areas and reactions of local populations during the Second Republic, based on personal memories and case studies


Abstract: The influx of population from the occupied border regions provoked a variety of responses in the Czech society, which can be partially reconstructed through individual memories and situation reports on the state of mind of the population. While during the September crisis, the refugees were received without reservation and as victims of „Henlein’s“ terror, after the Munich Agreement the approach of the mainstream society became more differentiated. In addition to fears from the opening of shops and businesses, shown especially by local traders and businesspeople, the after-Munich period also witnesses various anti-Jewish sentiments as well as a cold reception of the German anti-fascists, which varied according to local conditions. Memories of Czech refugees describe both positive and negative attitudes of the inland population. Cases have been registered, where local people used the plight of refugees to their own enrichment. Generally, the negative phenomena were condemned by the majority of the Czech society. Contributions, both financial and in-kind, from the inland population were an important part of the care provided to refugees of all nationalities. Although the locals sometimes received the refugees with reservations, care for the migrants would hardly have been possible without their help.

Keywords: second republic, refugees, state of mind of the population

PhDr. Jan Benda je interním doktorandem Ústavu českých dějin FF UK. Zajímá se o problematiku Mnichovské dohody, druhé republiky a o dějiny česko-německých vztahů se zřetelem na problematiku migrace obyvatelstva ve 20. století (benda.jan@o2active.cz)