Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/121

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Hungary. In that memorable declaration of Czech deputies, made in parliament on May 30th, the most significant part is the demand for “union of all branches of the Czecho-Slovak people into one democratic Bohemian state.” That is absolutely irreconcilable with the pretensions of the Magyars, and nothing less than cannon can settle that dispute. For it is certain that the Magyar government of Hungary will hold out to the last, will throw over the Hapsburgs in favor of Kaiser William, will resort to any means, before it will consent to surrender its barbarous rule over the Slovaks of Hungary. The Budapest Hirlap says: “The Bohemian manifesto is a declaration of war to the Magyars, and every Magyar stands petrified at this insolence.” And Az Est, also of Budapest, wonders how it is possible that Czechs could speak so in the Austrian parliament. “With that plan,” says this journal, “the Bohemians have gone over bodily into the camp of our enemies, for they too, like our enemies, want to dismember us.”

The Chicago Journal summed up the Austrian muddle in these words: “They (Germans and Magyars) will remain in Austria only if they can run it; the Slavs will remain only if they can have fair play and equal rights. The young emperor is between the devil and the dark blue sea. However, he needn’t trouble to make a decision. The allies will do that for him.”

From the Journal of the Reichsrat.

It is an old witticism in America that the zero in interesting reading is represented by the Congressional Record. Not so in Austria. There the parliament is allowed to meet so seldom, and when it does meet, so much explosive material has been accumulated that a fascinating pyrotechnic exhibition is on the program almost every day during the rare sessions of the representatives of the peoples subject to the Hapsburgs. And when in addition to that one remembers that even in ordinary times the only chance for a serious criticism of the government to see the light of day is to make it in parliament and that since 1914 the censor has been all-powerful in Austria, one is sure to come across interesting reading in the record of the Vienna House of Representatives.

We shall translate here for the benefit of American readers a number of speeches and ministerial interpellations, as they were given to the newspapers by the “praesidium”, or speaker’s office of the parliament. They were not censored by the government censor, but Dr. Gustav A. Gross, the German president of the Reichsrat, undertook to strike out the most objectionable passages of the radical speeches before according them parliamentary immunity. It is, therefore, well to bear in mind that what is given below, has been touched up by a man in sympathy with the methods and aims of the Austrian regime.

June 15 Bohemian deputy Stříbrný spoke about the treatment of political suspects in internment camps. “Dělnické Listy” (Workingman’s Gazette) states that the most serious charges contained in the speech were suppressed during the revision of the speech by Dr. Gross’ censors. Mr. Stříbrný said:

"The suspension of civil rights had for its result political classification of citizens and the branding of many as suspected and unreliable. Unsigned denunciations were sufficient to cause arrest and the arrested never knew who was the accuser and what was the charge. . . Among the interned citizens were women children nad old men, who were carried away in fetters. (Hear, hear, from Czech deputies.) Prisoners were tortured as a matter of course. Their food was quite insufficient; they were tied together in groups and thrown into dirty freight cars. One transport of forty-three Austrian citizens was killed on the high road by a detachment of Hungarian Landwehr. (Cries of anger from the Czechs.)

“Most of the early suspects were interned in a camp at Talerhof near Gratz in Styria. The first shipment was taken over by soldiers from Gratz whose captain spoke in an indecent manner about the victims. Some of them upon leaving the cars were beaten and kicked, until blood streamed from their bodies. The first three days all had to camp in the open. Absolutely no preparations had been made to receive them. A small piece of land was assigned to them, four posts were stuck into the ground to designate the limits of the camp, and no one was permited to stray beyond them. Women, men, children, all slept to