History

For many decades the Czech-Liechtenstein relations were going through difficult periods in which the political and social development of Czechoslovakia in the 20th century played the most decisive role. The relations were significantly harmed by the confiscation of the property of the family of Liechtenstein based on the President Beneš Decrees. As a result, the diplomatic relations between both the countries, which had been interrupted in 1938, were not renewed in the post-war era. When the Czech Republic was established in 1993, both the states even refused to recognize mutually their independence and the diplomatic relations remained non-existent.

The conditions for gradual reconciliation arose from the fresh atmosphere of the social-political change of the Czech Republic in the period after-November 1989 that brought also a gradual revaluation of the opinion on the post-war expulsion of national minorities and the Beneš Decrees. The relations started thawing and the rapprochement led to mutual recognition of both the countries and a renewal of the diplomatic relations in 2009. The Czech-Liechtenstein Commission of Historians was also established; it deals with the common history of Czech lands, Moravia and Silesia and the Princely House of Liechtenstein and it especially sheds light on historic issues the solutions of which were blocked by the situation in the Czech and Moravian society after 1945.

The Czech-Liechtenstein Society continues the positive developments of the last decade as well as the long centuries of common history. The common history of Czech lands, Moravia and Silesia and the Liechtenstein family is truly rich. The first Liechtenstein established his residence in Mikulov after being invited by Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1249. His offspring were than influencing the country´s political life, culture and landscape for centuries. Hartneid II of Liechtenstein supported king John the Blind in his fight for the Czech thrown against the dukes of Habsburg. Jan II Liechtenstein helped Wenceslas IV escape from Vienna during his second imprisonment. During the Hussite wars the Liechtensteins were on the side of the Emperor Sigismund. Karl I of Liechtenstein is a man who is sometimes depicted in demonic dimensions in the Czech history. He was involved in the executions of 27 Czech noblemen in the Old Town square in Prague in 1621, as a chairman of a special court with the “rebels”. At the same time, he was considered a very able politician, diplomat and administrator of his property that he successfully enlarged. At the beginning of the 19th century another Liechtenstein, Prince Jan I, was responsible for the transformation of the Lednice-Valtice area into a unique architectural and landscape site. The area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.  

When the Czechoslovak Republic was established in 1918, it refused to recognize the independence of Liechtenstein although the Principality achieved full sovereignty already in 1806. The reason was a prepared land reform aimed at redistributing big land property in favour of small and middle-size farmers. 60% of the land belonging to the Liechtensteins was confiscated in Moravia and in the Czech lands; it was precisely 161 thousand hectares of farm land and forests. As a compensation, the family received 250 million korunas which corresponded only to one third of the land’s market price. Nevertheless, the diplomatic relations between both the states were established in 1938, but were interrupted again just after eight months when the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was declared.

The rest of the Liechtenstein property was confiscated in the post-war time based on the President Beneš Decrees. The Liechtensteins were declared Germans although they considered themselves as the citizens of the sovereign state of Liechtenstein. The pre-war census document was used as a base for attributing them German ethnicity. However, this document was not filled by Prince Franz Joseph II, who was the only person entitled to do so, and therefore it should not have been used as the base for the extensive confiscation. The noble family did not see any correction of the situation in the post-war Czechoslovakia and nor has been any positive action taken in that direction by the Czech side after the renewal of democracy. The Czech-Liechtenstein future is open, and it is only up to us – Czechs, Moravians and Liechtensteins, what it will look like.

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