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Czechs think Beneš decrees should stay in force

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Most Czechs believe that the post-war decrees of the then Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes should continue to be valid, but the number of those advocating this opinion has been steadily declining in the past five years, a poll he CVVM agency released Friday has shown.

According to the poll, conducted in November, the number of people who view the post-war transfer of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia as a just step has been declining as well. The Benes decrees stripped local Germans of Czechoslovak citizenship and property rights. A total of 52% of respondents said they believe that the decrees should remain valid. One year ago, this opinion was voiced by 53% of the then poll respondents and in March 2002 it was expressed by 67% of those polled.

In the latest CVVM poll, 11% of people said they believe that the decrees should be abolished. One year ago, 13% of those polled were for the abolition. In the latest poll, 48% of respondents said they were convinced that the post-war transfer of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia was just. This opinion was expressed by 50% of people last year, by 56% in 2004 and by 60% in 2002. It has been mainly shared by elderly people, while a half of the young people aged between 15 and 19 said they are uninterested in the issue. One-fifth of this November poll’s respondents said in their opinion the transfer was unjust, but that the past should be definitively closed. Last year, this answer was given by 23% of respondents. This year, and also last year, 6% of those polled said the transfer was unjust and should be apologized for.

The opinion that the transfer should not only be apologized for but those afflicted should also receive compensation or their property should be returned to them, was voiced by 2% of Czechs this November, compared to 3% in both 2006 and 2004. Most people, 61 to 65%, say they believe that the Benes decrees do not influence Czech relations with Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Fifty-one percent believe the decrees unfavorably affect Czech relations with Germany and 28% believes the same in connection with Czech-Austrian relations. (praguemonitor)

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