Exile, Return and Restitution in the Czech Republic

Katharine A Vadura


Abstract

The exile and return experiences in the Czech lands since 1918 have been various and have had significant implications for the people who live and once lived in that territory. The focus of this paper is on the Sudeten Germans a former minority of the Czech lands. The exile experience of this group has resulted in significant debate as to whether this form of exile as legislated banishment was expulsion or displacement, and whether they should have the right to return. In addition the question of guilt as a mechanism for invoking the forced transfer of a population has also raised the issue of recompense or restitution. Conceptual issues like nationalism, identity, belonging and the right to a homeland have played an important part in the attempts at the development of a stable state and also more recently reconciliation processes between the Czechs and Sudeten Germans.

Keywords

Minority rights, Forced migration, Homeland, Restitution

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