sudeten germans


The Most Terrifying Church in the World

When Czech artist Jakub Hadrava was asked to help transform a dilapidated village church, he knew he would have his work cut out.

Thankfully he came up with a frightfully good idea.

Mr Hadrava has helped secure the future of the 14th century St George’s church in Lukova after creating a spooky art installation that features a collection of hooded ‘ghosts’ that line the pews and aisles.

The church, which is in the north-western Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, had initially fallen into disrepair in 1968 after the roof collapsed during a funeral service.

These veiled statues represent the ghosts of Sudeten Germans who lived in Lukova, before World War II, and used to come and pray in this church. 

“One Reason Germany Slows Down,” Montreal Star, July 23, 1938.  

“Here’s the situation in Czechoslovakia as another major crisis seems imminent because of Sudeten German disapproval of the Government effort to compromise the ‘racial minorities’ problem.  There have been warnings that any effort to impose the plan would create a ‘dangerous situation’ - meaning possible invasion of Czechoslovakia by Germany to ‘protect the rights’ of Czechoslovakians of German extraction.

The map shows how the hardy Czechs would meet any such invasion.  The little republic’s 2500-mile frontier - touching hostile territory all the way round except for 150 miles bordering friendly Rumania - is heavily and cleverly fortified.

Military experts believe that despite the comparatively small size of the Czechoslovakian army, any invasion across the three defensive lines built by the Czechs would be made at heavy cost.”


                                          The Lost Woman - 1945

May, 8 1945, near Pilsen, Czech Republic. After the liberation of   Czechoslovakia.

In May 1945, Czechoslovak troops took possession of the borderland. In July, Czechoslovak representatives presented plans for a “humane and orderly transfer” of the Sudeten German population. An estimated 1.6 million ethnic Germans were deported to the American zone, an estimated 800,000 were deported to the Soviet zone. Several thousand died violently during the expulsion and many more died from hunger and illness as a consequence. The deaths caused by violence and abnormal living conditions amount approximately to 10 000 persons killed. Another 5,000 - 6,000 people died of unspecified reasons related to expulsion making the total amount of victims of the expulsion 15,000 - 16 000 (this excludes suicides, which make another approximately 3,400 cases).  

Camera: Oren W.Haglund from US Army Air Force.   

“Sudeten Germans make their way to the railway station in Liberec, in former Czechoslovakia, to be transferred to Germany in this July, 1946 photo. After the end of the war, millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans were forcibly expelled from both territory Germany had annexed, and formerly German lands that were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union. The estimated numbers of Germans involved ranges from 12 to 14 million, with a further estimate of between 500,000 and 2 million dying during the expulsion.”