Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/40

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The Bohemian Review

Zamazal carried on relations with the “Národní Listy” through editorial secretary Vincenc Cervinka. It has been proved that Cervinka corresponded with traitors in foreign lands, such as Pavlu and others, by writing to a certain address in Roumania. Experts in military science see good circumstantial evidence in the fact that Cervinka advised Zamazal to write carefully, because this activity was to serve the enemy against the fatherland.

These proofs quoted from the judgment trace the main outlines of this entire organization hostile to the state both in its origin and development. However unpleasant may be this picture, it has nevertheless been proved by the process that a comparatively small part of the Bohemian nation and its leaders succumbed to criminal agitation. It would be a mistake to place the blame for these pitiful conditions upon the patriotic part of the Bohemian nation which condemns sharply these errors. This is especially so, since the present leadership of the Bohemian nation seriously attempts to bring back all the people to the Austrian state idea.

It should also be stated that the great majority of the Bohemian regiments excelled as always in brave fighting; that is proved by their bloody losses and many merited decorations. Let the guilty ones suffer the proper penalty. But it is right that general suspicion and condemnation should not be indulged in.”

The judgment pronounced upon Kramar and his fellow victims may be called a brief history of the movement for the Bohemian independence written from the point of view of the Hapsburg dynasty. The date of publication, January 5, is material. It was a few days after the rejection by the entente of the German peace feelers. Vienna saw that war must go on, that its outcome was extremely doubtful, that the work of Czech exiles was bearing fruit and that the active and passive resistance of Czechs at home seriously hampered the strength of Austria. The publication of the judgment, commutation of the death sentences and the commendation of the “patriotic” part of Bohemia and of the new Czech leadership represents a clumsy attempt on the part of the new premier, Count Clam-Martinic, to offer the olive branch to the rebellious Czechs. So far Count Clam-Martinic has not met with success. He has not obtained an expression of loyalty from the Bohemian deputies and he is still afraid to call a meeting of the parliament.

Current Topics


That the efforts of the Bohemians to call the attention of America to the cry of Bohemia for freedom are meeting with some response is evidenced by a very cordial and well informed editorial article, published in the Chicago Journal, February 9, 1917, under the title of “The Unconsidered Martyr”. It reads as wollows:

“Much, though not a word too much, has been said of the sufferings of Belgium, Poland and Serbia; brave, unfortunate peoples bludgeoned by the warmakers of Berlin. But there is another heroic state whose martyrdom, as cruel as these, has passed almost unnoticed—Bohemia.

By this term is meant the Czecho-Slovak nation, including Bohemia proper, Moravia and a slice of northwestern Hungary. This nation numbers nearly 10,000,000 members, has a rich and ancient culture, a stirring history and an unbreakable love of liberty. It has resisted all the efforts of the Hapsburgs to Germanize it and remained a Slavic state; friendly to France and England as the liberal powers of Europe and to Russia as the protector of Slav peoples. For this, even before the war, it was held down like a newly conquered and hostile province, and since the war broke, Bohemian sufferings have been incalculable.

By the end of the first year of the conflict two-thirds of the Czech publications had been suppressed, and many of the editors imprisoned or executed. No musician is allowed to play the works of the great Bohemian composer, Smetana, and no Czech is allowed to circulate or read the writings of Tolstoi or Emerson. The athletic societies have been disbanded, Germans have been put in charge of the police administration of Bohemian cities, the national language is forbidden on the railways and may not even be used in sending telegrams. These measures are enforced with savage severity; according to a semiofficial paper of Vienna, up to December, 1915, there had been 1,045 civil executions in Bohemia and Moravia alone.

The Bohemians have resisted this tyranny in every way they could. Forced by their tyrants into a war against their friends, they have deserted at every opportunity. The Twenty-eighth regiment went over to the Russians in a body, and is now