Files of interest to Czech and Slovakian researchers

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Files of interest to Czech and Slovakian researchers

Eduard Beneš (KV 2/2942)

This weeded file contains the papers gathered by the Security Service on Eduard Beneš between 1934 and 1949. The papers chiefly relate to his role as leader of the Czech government in exile during the war.

The file shows that Beneš' views were sought about British actions against Czech communists in Britain (serial 34x). At serial 54a there is a record of an interview with Beneš (of 28 December 1942) by Security Service officers, which includes his views of the likely extent of the Russian sphere of influence in post-war central Europe, and his desire for Britain rather than the USA to occupy Austria.

The file includes (serial 63a) a source's report of Beneš' intention to resign in February 1948 (when Klement Gottwald formed a pro-communist government) , four months prior to his actual resignation as Czech president.

Wenzel Jaksch (KV 2/2870-2877)

This release also includes the reconstituted Security Service files on Beneš' opponent among the Czech refugees in Britain, Wenzel Jaksch.

Jaksch represented the anti-Nazi German Sudeten population before and during the Second World War, and as such he constituted a potential threat to the Czech government in exile. He was nevertheless a Social Democrat and broadly well disposed to the interests of the United Kingdom, so these eight Security Service files reflect a close monitoring of his activity rather than a real effort to curb his work.

They contain a detailed analysis of the development of his political and strategic thinking in relation to the position of the Sudeten German population, especially towards the end of the war when they were subject to retaliatory action by the Czechs. To a large extent this is based on intercepted correspondence. The first six of these files relate to the pre- and wartime period, and include (KV 2/2873) a photograph of Jaksch. There is a case summary at serial 289a (KV 2/2875).

After the war Janksch's dream of returning to Czechoslovakia proved impossible, and after considering staying in the United Kingdom, or emigrating to Canada, he eventually went to West Germany, where he was elected to the Bundestag. The latter two files cover his post-war career up to 1956 (KV 2/2876-2877).

Czech diplomats and refugees

In addition to Beneš and Jaksch, this release includes files on a number of other notable Czechoslovaks, including Gustave Beuer (Czech Communist, interned 1940-1941, KV 2/2905-2912); Otto Schling (Czech Communist, alleged after the war to have been a CIA spy and tried and executed for this in 1952, KV 6/74-75); and Zdenek Fierlinger (Czech diplomat in Moscow and later deputy prime minister).