""Free Republic of Schwarzenberg" 1945" Schwarzenberg Favorite Tip by Kathrin_E

Schwarzenberg General: 2 reviews and 8 photos

  Info board in town
by Kathrin_E
  • Info board in town - Schwarzenberg
      Info board in town
    by Kathrin_E
  • Pub and arts centre "Freie Republik Schwarzenberg" - Schwarzenberg
      Pub and arts centre "Freie Republik Schwarzenberg"
    by Kathrin_E
  • "Free Republic of Schwarzenberg" 1945 - Schwarzenberg

Favorite thing: At the end of World War II, when the allied powers occupied Germany, for some unknown reason neither Soviets nor Americans felt responsible the district of Schwarzenberg. This piece of land on the Czech border was not occupied by anyone for several weeks.

Problems were enormous. There was no supply coming in, no food, no petrol, nothing to cover the basic needs of the population. Something had to happen and someone had to act. A group of communist workers formed an "action committee", kicked the old administration out of the town hall and formed a provisional administration of this, so it seemed, independent territory. The "Republic of Schwarzenberg" did not last long, though. After six weeks it was occupied by the red Army and became part of the Soviet zone.

These are the facts.

Lots of legends spread around the events of Schwarzenberg and it is hard to distinguish between truth and fiction. The committee's main aim was securing the necessary supply, not founding an utopic state. A novel by DDR author Stefan Heym describes the events in a rather idealistic way and founded many myths which were and still are regarded as facts.

The idea of local people establishing their own government and organizing their state according to their wishes became popular again in 1989/90. A local group of artists created the term "Free Republic of Schwarzenberg", after which they named a pub and arts centre in the old town, and published their own interpretations which should also be taken with a grain of salt.

An information trail through the town ("Lehrpfad unbesetzte Zone") takes you to the location and tells about what happened where.

Fondest memory: Some reading for those of you who understand German (there don't seem to be editions in English):

Stefan Heym: Schwarzenberg (1984)
This book has contributed a lot to the myths about the Republic of Schwarzenberg as an experiment of independent communism. The author claims to have used the report of one of the participants. However, a lot of his narration is fiction. It is an interesting book, but read it as what it is: a novel, not a report of facts. The novel was written in the DDR but had to appear in the West, the DDR regime understood the idea of a 'grassroots democracy" as an affront against Stalinism and the Soviet Union.

Lenore Lobeck: Die Schwarzenberg-Utopie. Legende im "Niemandsland" (2004): A thorough historical research among the original documents of that time that corrects a lot of the myths. For example, Lobeck points out the injustice of the committee against Ernst Rietzsch, the mayor of the town, who was persecuted because he did not agree with the communists, arrested and in the end executed by the Soviets although he was innocent of the crimes he was accused of.
Highly recommended if you wwant to know more about the truth behind all those legends.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 25, 2011
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