The Blocking of the Appeal Process and Lex Schwarzenberg

On 8 August 1945, the Czechoslovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Masaryk, bore witness to the exemplary patriotism of Adolph Schwarzenberg:

“In terms of his patriotism he behaved excellently, he joined immediately, he supported the resistance and his attitude and activities can only be praised. He was and is a passionate anti-Nazi.”

Masaryk knew Adolph Schwarzenberg personally and met up with him several times during the war in New York. The Regional National Committee in Prague, as the authorised investigating body, declared in its decision of 5 March 1946 that it grants Adolph Schwarzenberg an “advance” of CSK 100 000.- (which was paid into his account in deed) and that he was not of German nationality in the sense of Decree No. 12/1945, and that he fought for the liberty and territorial integrity of the Republic. Similarly, Karel Hudec, the Czechoslovak General Consul in New York, in response to a question from the Regional National Committee via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated in a letter dated 15 April that he was in contact with Schwarzenberg in the United States and could testify that Schwarzenberg always behaved as a Czechoslovak, and actively participated in American society where he emphatically stated his rejection of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, the confiscation remained in effect, while Adolph Schwarzenberg’s property in Austria – despite then being in the Soviet zone – and in Germany was returned to its owner.

In view of the fact that the charges against the Schwarzenbergs were evidently illegitimate on the basis that no “German nationality” or “collaboration” pertained in his case, Act No. 143/1947, the so-called Lex Schwarzenberg, was issued so that the business property, which had already been confiscated, would remain in state ownership. It is important to note that Adolph Schwarzenberg’s appeal against the decree-based confiscation was pending at the time but was never concluded. Instead, his business property was simply allocated to the ownership of a (as yet non-existent) new establishment of legal capacity of the Czech state under Lex Schwarzenberg and his non-business assets were embezzled in June 1948 under the totalitarian regime.

The law affecting the Schwarzenberg – Hluboka family is clearly unconstitutional as shown above. It should never have come into effect, it should not have been used and all acts of expropriation undertaken in accordance with it or in abuse of it were illegal or invalid from the beginning. Moreover, the law was promulgated by the National Assembly for demonstrably absurd reasons.

The following is a quote from a report dated 22 February 1947 justifying the promulgation of the Lex Schwarzenberg. The speaker was the main initiator of the law, the Social Democrat Member of Parliament Blazej Vilim:

“The property of the South Bohemian Schwarzenbergs undergoing transfer represents such an enormous complex of real estate in terms of its extent that one generally feels the need to resolve the ownership circumstances essentially by a method which would correspond to the new spirit of the economic and social structures of the Czechoslovak Republic. It’s therefore not possible to allow the ownership of such immense property to remain henceforth concentrated in the hands of an individual, and the method of administration of this estate in the past is not the best guarantee that the property would be managed exclusively and clearly in the Czech spirit when the character of the owners and the Czech purity of their nationality has not been proven beyond all doubt…”

The essential last statement is clearly incompatible with the statement of Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk on 8 August 1945 and with the finding of the State National Committee in Prague sixteen months before, on 5 March 1946, as a result of the most extensive investigation of one person even in the post war period.