Bavarian Premier Calls for Dialogue on Sudeten German Issue

Bavarian Prime Minister Guenther Beckstein called Sunday for a dialogue with the Czech government to resolve outstanding issues related to the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II.

For this to happen, "Prague had to face up to the chapter of history relating to the expulsions," he said at a rally of the Sudeten German Association in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg.

"Concealment will not resolve the problem. A lasting reconciliation is possible only on the basis of the historical truth," Beckstein said at the gathering attended by around 8,000 mostly elderly expellees.

Beckstein shared the view of Sudeten leaders that Prague might be willing to discuss the issue, but said the "difficult conditions of government" at the moment made a breakthrough unlikely.

He said obstacles on the path to reconciliation were the decrees proclaimed by the late president Edvard Benes that led to the confiscation of German property and the deportation of more than 2 million Sudeten Germans, who were accused of being Nazi collaborators.

Another impediment was the law that granted immunity from prosecution to those who committed crimes during the expulsion, Beckstein said.

Many died in the brutal expulsion and hundreds of thousands later settled in Germany and Austria where they and their descendants still live, preserving their dialect and folk customs.....,...329496,00.html