Statue of former Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš vandalized: "racist, mass murderer"

The second president of Czechoslovakia lent his name to the controversial Beneš Decrees, which exiled ethnic Germans from the country after WWII

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 04.09.2020 06:57:54 (updated on 04.09.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – Someone has spraypainted on the statue of second Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš (1935-48) in Prague’s city center that he was a racist and a mass murderer, Czech Police tweeted today, adding that they were searching for the perpetrator.

The inscription probably appeared on the statue on Wednesday night, Prague police spokesman Jan Danek said.

The Benes statue is administered by the Gallery of the Capital of Prague. The gallery will have the sprayed text removed, its spokeswoman Michaela Vrchotova said.

The damage incurred has not been calculated yet.

In May 2005, the monument of Beneš was installed inLoretánské Square outside the Czech Foreign Ministry’s seat in the Černín Palace, where he worked as the diplomacy head of interwar Czechoslovakia.

Similar inscriptions appeared on other statues in Prague recently.

In June, someone sprayed “He was a racist” and “Black Lives Matter” on a statue of Winston Churchill, the British PM who led the country during its war against Hitler’s Germany, in Prague 3. Two women claimed responsibility for the act in the online daily Alarm. They said by the inscription about Churchill’s racism they wanted to provoke a debate on his role in history and show solidarity with the current struggles for equality.

Mass protests against police violence and racism have burst out in the USA and in other countries in reaction to the death of African-American George Floyd during a police raid in Minneapolis. The protesters also attacked statues of politicians and other personalities condemned over racism.

Beneš (1884-1948) was a close aide to the first Czechoslovak president,Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1918-1935), and one of the founding fathers of Czechoslovakia at the end of World War One.

He was first Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, in 1921-1922 he simultaneously held the post of Prime Minister, and he was elected Czechoslovak president in 1935.

He was the president in a period that was very eventful and difficult. In the beginning, he unsuccessfully faced the expansion of the Nazi empire and strived to settle the Sudeten German problem. In September 1938, nevertheless, he yielded to Britain and France’s pressure, and accepted the Munich Agreement that bound Czechoslovakia to cede its border regions with a prevailing ethnic German population to Hitler’s Reich, resigned as president and left abroad. In 1940, he became the Czechoslovak president in exile.

After the war, Beneš returned to Czechoslovakia and contributed to the reconstruction of his liberated homeland. His name is connected with the controversial post-war Beneš decrees, on the basis of which ethnic Germans were exiled from then Czechoslovakia, mainly from the border regions (Sudetenland) after World War Two, and their property was confiscated.

In his capacity as president, Beneš was incapable of parrying the rising power of the Communists (KSC), who finally seized control of the state in February 1948. In June 1948, Beneš resigned as president and he died about three months later in his countryside villa in Sezimovo Ústí, south Bohemia.

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