Germans, Czechs commemorate 1945 massacre

2000-08-01 08:05

Prague - Dozens of Germans and Czechs joined together for the first time on Monday in a "reconciliation church service" to remember the German victims of a 1945 massacre in the northern Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem.

Minister Pavel Jancik included both victims and culprits in his prayers during the service, which was held in both German and Czech. They came 55 years after the massacre.

On 31 July 1945, immediately after World War II, Czechs hunted down their fellow German residents and killed about 70. An explosion at a munitions depot, allegedly by German partisans, apparently touched off the massacre.

Also for the first time on Monday, historian Vladimir Kaiser provided proof that Czech provocateur Bedrich Pokorny had staged the attack in the city, formally known by its German name, Aussig.

Prague's Ministry of the Interior had an interest in making the Nazi organisation Werewolf responsible for the explosion, Kaiser told the Czech new agency CTK. He added that there were indications that, for that reason, Czechoslovakia's secret service had murdered Pokorny in the 1950's. - Sapa-DPA