Czech Hell

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Burning of German children in Prague

Czech Hell refers to the massacres and tortures committed by Czech communists against the German civilians, Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS soldiers in May 1945.

Prague had been under the reign of Germany for hundreds of years. It was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Germans and Czechs lived together in peace for that time.

Uprising of communists

Events began on May 5, 1945, in the last moments of the war in Europe. The uprising went on until May 8, 1945.

At about 1:00 am on the May 5, armed Czech resistance fighters overwhelm the Waffen-SS defending the radio buildings. The radio announcer broadcast a call to the Czech nation rise up and asked the people in the streets of Prague to build barricades. Elsewhere, Czech resistance fighters occupied the Gestapo and Sipo Headquarters.

German forces outside of Prague started to move toward the city center in order to relieve their trapped countrymen. During May 6, the Germans attempted to recapture the radio station building. As the German advance ran into significant resistance, both in the building itself and at the barricades in nearby streets, the Germans decided to use bombers instead. This attack was a success. However, the Czech resistance managed to continue to broadcast its message from another location.

On May 7, Waffen-SS armoured and artillery units stationed outside of Prague, frustrated by the lack of decisive progress made by the Heer infantry, launched several tank attacks on the city defenders.

On May 9, 1945, the Soviet Red Army arrived in Prague. U.S. Army units had been closer to Prague than Soviets, and their reconnaissance units were already present in Prague suburbs when the uprising begun. However, the Americans did not help the Czech insurgents. Instead they overlooked the uprising, and all carnage that followed.

Massacres

German civilians residing in Prague, administrators, officials, and family members of the German military were the easiest targets of Czech anger. They had to flee by any means, including stolen vehicles, in order to save bare lives. Many cruelties were committed on against them, including burning of German children in Prague, Wenzelsplatz at May 20, 1945.

The local Czech population resumed their hostilities also on the surrendered Waffen-SS troops regardless of their intentions. In what the members of the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian), who had laid their weapons down in May 1945, the local people chased, humiliated and tortured the Waffen-SS soldiers, murdering more than 500 Estonian POWs, among them major Paul Maitla.

See also

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