From confrontation to reconciliation over Lezacky

05-09-2000

A request for forgiveness was heard for the very first time on Friday, September 1st in the district around the former village of Lezaky. Lezaky was destroyed by the Nazis in June 1942, and 33 adults were shot dead without trial. Their descendants met on Friday with representatives of the Christian organisation of the Sudeten Germans, Ackermanngemeinde, to discuss the fate of those who died. Lucie Krupickova has the story:

Franz Olbert, one of the representatives of the Ackermanngemeinde, came to Lezaky on Friday and asked for forgiveness in the name of the German nation. He said that the wounds caused in Lezaky could not be healed easily, as one could never put the clock back. "What we can do is show our good will for a fresh start," Olbert said.

I talked to the secretary of Ackermanngemeide, Rheimund Paleczek, and asked him about the history of his organisation:

During the communist era, Ackermanngemeinde mainly supported the Czechoslovak underground Christian communities by providing them not only with theological literature, but also with financial and material help.

Many members of Ackermanngemeinde are also members of another Sudeten German association, Sudettendeutsche Landsmannschaft, which is known especially for its request to annul the Benes Decrees, which gave immunity to Czechs who expelled up to 3 million Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. According to Mr. Paleczek, both organisations strive to improve relations betweeen the Sudeten Germans and the Czechs by learning about history but, as he stressed, their way of doing this is slightly different: