Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Month in Holocaust History: Disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg

January 17th  marks the 72nd  anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance as a Swedish official in Budapest, Hungary. Wallenberg is celebrated with saving tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from forced deportation through his connections to the United States’ War Refugee Board as well as the Swedish Embassy in Budapest.

In March 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary and began deporting Jews to Auschwitz in May. Between mid-May and July some 435,000 Hungarian  Jews were deported; by the time the deportations ended, only about 200,000 Jews remained in Budapest in large part due to the efforts of Wallenberg and his colleagues.
Wallenberg in Swedish Uniform
Wallenberg Distributes Protective Passes at the Jozsefvarosi Train Station

The persecution of the Jews in Hungary soon became well known abroad, unlike the full extent of the Holocaust. At the end of May 1944, two
reports published by a Jewish diplomat in Geneva caught international attention. The reports described in detail the operations of the Auschwitz- Birkenau extermination camp. The second was a 6-page Hungarian report, that detailed the Ghettoization and deportation of 435,000 Jews updated to 19 June 1944, town by town, to Auschwitz.
 Following publication, the administration of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned to the newly created War Refugee Board (WRB) to serve as a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Hungary. In spring of 1944, President Roosevelt dispatched US Treasury Department official Iver C. Olsen to Stockholm as a representative of the WRB. Olsen would be the link between Wallenberg and the WRB.  Olsen was tasked specifically by the President with finding a way to aid the Hungarian Jews. This, however, was not the sole reason for Olsen being posted to Sweden. In addition to his duties with the WRB, Olsen was also secretly functioning as the chief of currency operations for the Stockholm branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the United States' wartime espionage service.
In search of someone willing and able to go to Budapest to organize a rescue program for the nation's Jews, Olsen was introduced to Wallenberg through a business associate, Kalman Lauer, in June 1944. Olsen came away from the meeting impressed and, shortly thereafter, appointed Wallenberg to lead the mission. Olsen's selection of Wallenberg met with objections from some US officials who doubted his reliability, considering existing commercial relationships between businesses owned by the Wallenberg family and the German government. These differences were eventually overcome and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs agreed to the American request to assign Wallenberg to its legation in Budapest as part of an arrangement in which Wallenberg's appointment was granted in exchange for a lessening of American diplomatic pressure on neutral Sweden to curtail their nation's free-trade policies toward Germany.[1]

As a Swedish diplomatic envoy to Budapest, Wallenberg began distributing certificates of protection issued by the Swedish legation to Jews after his arrival in the Hungarian capital. He received funds from the War Refugee Board as well as the government of Sweden to establish hospitals, nurseries and a soup kitchen, and to designate more than 30 “safe” houses that together formed the core of the "international ghetto" in Budapest. The international ghetto was reserved for Jews and their families holding certificates of protection from a neutral country. [2]

The Soviet army entered Budapest on January 16, 1945. The first part of the city that they liberated was Pest, where both the main ghetto and the "international ghetto" were located. Wallenberg attempted to negotiate with the Soviets and ensure that they would take good care of the liberated Jews. However, the Soviets suspected Wallenberg and the other Swedish diplomats in Budapest of spying for the Germans. Wallenberg’s connections to Olsen and the OSS made him a target for Soviet incarceration.

Wallenberg travelled to their army headquarters in Debrecen, believing that his diplomatic immunity would protect him. He returned to Budapest the next day, accompanied by two Soviet soldiers. Wallenberg was overheard saying, "I do not know whether I am a guest of the Soviets or their prisoner." Wallenberg subsequently disappeared without a trace.

Wallenberg was last seen in the company of Soviet officials on January 17, 1945, as the Red Army besieged Budapest. He was presumably detained on suspicion of espionage due to his connection with the United States government and subsequently disappeared. A Soviet government report in 1956 suggested that Wallenberg had died on July 17, 1947, while imprisoned by Soviet authorities at the infamous Lubyanka Prison in Moscow. Subsequent eyewitness sightings of Wallenberg in the Soviet penal system after 1947 have called this statement into question. The exact date and circumstances of Wallenberg’s death may never be clarified. In October 2016, 71 years after his disappearance, Swedish officials formally declared Wallenberg legally dead.[3]

Wallenberg has been honoured posthumously by 13 countries around the world. He was granted honorary American citizenship by the US Congress in 1981. On the corner of Fairfax and Beverly boulevard in Los Angeles stands a statue dedicated to his memory. This Sunday the 22nd, a memorial service for International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be held in conjunction with LAMOTH with a walk starting from the statue and ending at the museum.
The Raoul Wallenberg statue at Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard
 Photo by Dan Kacvinsk

 “Wallenberg, like the trees of the Avenue of the Righteous, stands tall in the annals of man's "humanity" to man.”[4]

[1] John C. Kunich, Richard I. Lester, The Wallenberg Effect, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/readings/wallenberg.htm
[2] Source: http://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%206486.pdf
[3] Source: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=1000521
[4] Kunich et. Al. The Wallenberg Effect

Friday, December 23, 2016

This Month In Holocaust History: December, 1942


During December, 1942, an underground organization for aiding Jews under German occupation solidified into an active rescue group.

Zegota, the code name for Rada Pomocy Zydom (Council for Aid to Jews), was a clandestine organization in occupied Poland operating from December 1942 until the liberation of Poland in January 1945.  The Provisional Committee for Aid to Jews (Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Zydom) preceded Zegota and was initiated by Zofia Kossak – Szczucka on September 27, 1942. Made up of Catholic activists, the Provisional Committee gave aid to 180 persons. On December 4, 1942, the resistance group reformed as Zegota, and included  representatives of five Polish and two Jewish political movements. The cooperation of both Jewish and Catholic groups was a unique feature of Zegota since most Polish resistance groups did not allow Jews within their ranks.

Post War Publication  Documenting the Activities of Zegota
In Poland, the Nazis would publicly murder, torture, or deport entire families who were caught hiding Jews.  One of the main challenges for Zegota was locating and coordinating safe places for Jewish people to hide. This was even more difficult for those Jews who were perceived to “look Jewish” per Nazi stereotypes.  Ironically, for those Jews who did not fit the Nazi ideology, their chances of surviving in hiding increased. Zegota members constantly organized both short-term and long-term places to help hide Jews.  Although the exact number of Jews they aided is unknown, the magnitude and difficulty of this was tremendous.

Rescue aid for Jewish children was especially important, and Zegota organized for children to be hid by families, orphanages, and nunneries. For all involved, the risk was death and Jewish boys proved even more difficult to hide. Well known for her risk, resilience, and heroism, Irena Sendler (1910-2008) was a Polish nurse who was an active member of Zegota.  Her efforts to smuggle children out of ghettos, provide false papers, and locate safe hiding places resulted in saving approximately 2,500 Jewish children.  She was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo but refused to provide information.  For her courageous efforts, she received the Righteous Among the Nations award in 1965 and the Order of the White Eagle.
Irena Sendler

Zegota provided money, food, and medical attention to Jews in hiding and the families hiding them.  Zegota coordinated and worked with the the Polish government -in- exile and appealed to the Polish population to help persecuted Jews.

During the war, Zegota was the only rescue organization that was run jointly by Jews and non -Jews from a wide range of political movements. Due to the courage, resistance, determination, and heroism of its extraordinary members, it operated for a long duration during the Holocaust and assisted in saving a considerable number of Jews from being murdered during the Holocaust.

Friday, November 25, 2016

This Week In Holocaust History: Theresienstadt: A Glimmer of Hope and Deception

Theresienstadt Ghetto Established

Located in the garrison town of Terezin, in the German-controlled Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Theresienstadt Ghetto existed for three and a half years. Between November 24, 1941 and May 9, 1945, the ghetto interned over 140,000  Jewish prisoners. Neither a ghetto as such nor strictly a concentration camp, Theresienstadt served as an assembly center. What had originally been a fortified military installation became a ghetto, transit camp, and in German propaganda terms, a city for Jews.

Photograph of Train Station Sign in Theresienstadt
Prisoners Entering Main Gate
Ironically, some Jews themselves were eager to assist in the construction of such a ghetto. This was due to the false hope that perhaps this ghetto would halt the transports of Jews to the East. Therefore, to organize and build this new ghetto, the Prague Gestapo solicited the administrative assistance of the Prague Jewish community and especially its leadership. Jakob Edelstein as well as Paul Epstein both served on this initial administrative board known as the Council of Elders. Both were killed by Nazi officials in return for their assistance, as a result of Nazi suspicions.

As Edith Ornstein, a surviving participant wrote in 1945,

On December 4th 1941, a small group of us headed by (Jacob) Edelstein and engineer (Otto) Zucker voluntarily entered Terezin, each convinced of the possibility of preventing such deportations, provided a ghetto in the form of a Jewish town could be established. Feverish preparations had been made in advance, plans worked out and approved by the Center for Jewish Emigration to the minutest detail. But of course, everything turned out differently from what we expected when the gates of the Terezin barracks closed behind us, we knew at once that it would be a prison, not a Jewish town.

However, a unique feature of Theresienstadt was its hierarchy of privileged status among those interned there. The organizers of the Theresienstadt ghetto enjoyed this status granted to them by the German authorities. In doing so they secured protection for themselves, their families, and to some extent their subordinates within the ample administrative, social, and technical ghetto system.  

Street Scene from a Nazi Propaganda Film
 In its function as a tool of deception, Theresienstadt was a facility that served an important propaganda function for the Germans. Geopolitical circumstances along with Nazi foreign policy eventually thrust the Ghetto into an orbit of inspections by the International Red Cross. A seemingly normal pace of life would be on display for the inspections, only to be disrupted afterwards by a transport to The East. The entire notion of the Ghetto having a privileged, exceptional status and model structure was a dualistic combination. It was part of a well-refined deception by the Nazis paired with an illusion among the Jewish inmates that their own existence was perpetuated by their  presence in Theresienstadt.

It was this illusion that was perpetuated by the 1944 Nazi propaganda film, Theresienstadt. Although the film was never screened, it was produced for the occasion of a visit from the Danish Red Cross. In the wake of the inspection, SS officials produced this film using ghetto "residents" as a demonstration of the benevolent treatment that they supposedly enjoyed. In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. When the film was completed, SS officials deported most of the "cast" to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center.

Photo of Film Crew Capturing Footage
                     for Nazi Propoganda Film in Theresienstadt

In reality, of the 141,184 people sent to Theresienstadt, 88,202 were deported to extermination camps and ghettos in the East; over 30,000 Jewish prisoners died in the ghetto while only 16,832 survived.  Granted, this figure is the highest of any ghetto or labor camp throughout Eastern Europe. 

[1] Vladimir Melamed, They Shall Be Counted: The Theresienstadt Ghetto Art of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly (Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust Publishing, Los Angeles, 2010) pages 1-4.
[2] Edith Ornstein, “Theresienstadt, an Illusion” in Working in a Trap: Album of Drawings by Leo Haas, Ghetto Theresienstadt 1941-1942 (Givat Haim Ihud, Israel: Beit Theresienstadt, 2009).
[3] Melamed, They Shall Be Counted, p. 3.
[4] https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007463

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This Day in Holocaust History: Kristallnacht

Kristallnacht (The November Pogrom): 

Reflections in German Publications 

On the evening of November 9, 1938, now known as the November Pogrom or by the Nazi term “Kristallnacht”, the Nazis unleashed a wave of violence against Jews throughout Germany and Austria. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels instigated the violence by stating "The Führer has decided that … demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered."  During this tirade close to 100 Jews lost their lives, tens of thousands of Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and many Jewish families realized that they could not safely stay in Hitler’s Germany.  

Through LAMOTH’s archival collection of the Journal From the Last Extermination: Journal for the History of the Jewish People During the Nazi Regime, we see a reporter's frustration in an attempted cover up of official Nazi influence on the riot. Written in Yiddish, and published in a displaced person's camps after the war, the journal contains a copy of the letter in German from a local chronicler to his supervisor. The subject of the image below is the narrative of Kristallnacht in a small German town in Bavaria.   

The reporter writes,
“Vom Rath died in the night of November 9th 1938 from the consequences of a cowardly attack by the Jew Gruenspan (Herschel Grynszpan). In the same night, synagogues from Jews caught fire in whole Germany. Ernst vom Rath has been avenged. Early in the morning County Chief, Party Comrade, Walz, Party Comrade, Mayor Herzog, Party Comrade, Propaganda Chief Buettner, and Party Comrade Sturmfuehrer Brand set the Jewish temple on fire. Party member from the location group helped us a lot.

Now, the sentence has been criticized. It may not say that Walz, Herzog, Buettner and Brand set the synagogues on fire, but rather the people. - Right. But as a writer for the chronicle I should and I have to tell the truth…  I therefore ask you my "County Chief” how should I write the record?"

Letter from a German Reporter to His Supervisor
Source: LAMOTH Archive

The pretext for the pogroms was the shooting in Paris on November 7 of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a Polish-Jewish student, Herschel Grynszpan. News of Rath’s death on November 9 reached Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany, where he was celebrating the anniversary of the abortive 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. There, Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, after conferring with Hitler, harangued a gathering of old storm troopers, urging violent reprisals staged to appear as “spontaneous demonstrations.” Telephone orders from Munich triggered pogroms throughout Germany, which then included Austria.

Photo Courtesy of Bundesarchive
Herschel Grynszpan in a French precinct after the shooting

Despite Nazi attempts at crediting average German citizens for the riot, Nazi party members in nearly every German city and town rushed out into the streets to fulfill Goebbels' directives.

Just before midnight on November 9, Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller sent a telegram to all police units informing them that “in shortest order, actions against Jews and especially their synagogues will take place in all of Germany. These are not to be interfered with.” Rather, the police were to arrest the victims. Fire companies stood by synagogues in flames with explicit instructions to let the buildings burn. They were to intervene only if a fire threatened adjacent “Aryan” properties.

Hundreds of synagogues were torched and many more were damaged.  Thousands of Jewish store windows were broken and the shops looted.  Homes and apartments were invaded and ransacked. Ninety-one Jews were killed.  Thirty thousand Jewish men from age sixteen to sixty were arrested and sent to concentration camps, where over the next month more than a thousand died of the ensuing torture and beatings. 

1963 Memorial Stamp of Kristallnacht published by the
German Democratic Republic
Source: LAMOTH Archives

World reaction to 
Kristallnacht was strong. As Jews fled Germany and Austria,  United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt summoned home the American ambassador from Berlin, and called for increased military spending to protect North and South America from Germany. However, he stopped short of calling for increased immigration quotas for Jews fleeing the Nazis.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

Hungarian Revolution, October – November 1956

In the post-war world, Europe was divided in to Soviet and Western political camps. Hungary was under full control of Moscow by the means of a local communist regime and security apparatus.

On October 23, students in Budapest staged a great procession, which was to end with the presentation of a petition asking for redress of the nation’s grievances. People flocked into the streets to join them.

The army joined the revolutionaries, and army depots and munitions factories handed out arms. Outside Budapest, local councils sprang up in every center. The peasants reoccupied their confiscated fields. The communist bureaucracy melted away. Prison doors were opened. The members of the State Security Authority fled if they could. A cheering crowd escorted Cardinal Mindszenty back to the primate’s palace.

On November 4th, Soviet forces entered Budapest and began liquidating the revolution. Nagy took refuge in the Yugoslav embassy and Cardinal Mindszenty in the U.S. legation. General Pál Maléter, the Nagy government’s minister of defense, who had been invited by the Soviet commanders to negotiate, was taken captive and eventually executed.

Meanwhile, Imre Nagy, former Prime Minister, who had left his place of refuge under safe conduct, had been abducted and taken to Romania. After a secret trial, he and Maléter and a few close associates were executed in 1958. Many lesser figures were seized and transported to the Soviet Union, some never to return, and 200,000 refugees escaped to the West (about 38,000 of whom emigrated to North America in 1956–57). Thus, a substantial proportion of Hungary’s young and educated classes was lost to the country, including several top non-communist political leaders and intellectuals, as well as Gen. Béla K. Király, the commander of the Hungarian National Guard organized during the revolution. Material damage was also very heavy, especially in Budapest.

Most Hungarians, however, were skeptical of these promises, and fighting continued. But the odds were too heavy in favor of the Soviets, and the major hostilities were over within a fortnight, although sporadic encounters continued into January 1957. The workers continued their struggle by proclaiming a general strike and other forms of peaceful resistance. It took many weeks before they were brought to heel and many more months before some semblance of normality returned to the country. The price in human lives was great. According to the calculations of historians, the Hungarians suffered about 20,000 casualties, among them some 2,500 deaths, while the Soviet losses consisted of about 1,250 wounded and more than 650 dead. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

This Month in Holocaust History: October

Denmark and Its Jews: A Wartime History 

On October 1st 1943 German authorities began a mandated roundup of Jews in Denmark, yet the roundup failed in its goal of a large deportation.

The officers commissioned with the round up were unaware of the countrywide rescue effort underway in Danish communities. The Danish Jewish community was forewarned through the involvement of both German and Danish officials.  

On September 8, 1943, SS General Werner Best, the German civilian administrator in Denmark, sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler to propose that the Germans make use of the martial law provisions to deport Danish Jews. Hitler approved the measure nine days later. As preparations proceeded, Best, who had second thoughts about the political consequences of the deportations, informed Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German naval attaché, of the impending deportation operation. Before the final order for deportation came to Copenhagen on September 28, Duckwitz, along with other German officials, warned non-Jewish Danes of the plan. In other words, in the case of Danish Jewry, it was perhaps the involvement of German officials that played a major role in facilitating the rescue efforts of the Danish Jewish community. 

In turn, the Danes alerted Rabbi Marcus Melchior, Chief Rabbi of Denmark, who informed the local Jewish community. Below is a letter from Rabbi Melchior to the King of Denmark explaining his appreciation to the Danish community that fires started by the Nazi party in Denmark did not damage his synagogue. This letter exemplifies how interconnected the Jewish community of Denmark was to its government and King. 
Source: LAMOTH Archival Collection
Throughout the month of October, Danish authorities, Jewish community leaders, and countless private citizens facilitated a massive operation to get Jews into hiding or into temporary sanctuaries. Resistance members and sympathizers initially helped Jews move into hiding places throughout the country and from there to the coast; fishermen then ferried them to safety. Over a period of about a month, some 7,200 Jews and 700 of their non-Jewish relatives found refuge in Sweden, which accepted the Danish refugees.

The motives behind these acts were multi fold. Some rescuers helped the cause because they were paid to do so by those needing rescue. Others felt compelled to assist due to religious and humanitarian ideals. Despite the rescue efforts, the Germans seized about 470 Jews in Denmark and deported them to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in occupied Czechoslovakia. However, the Danish authorities and the Danish Red Cross insistently demanded information on their whereabouts and living conditions. The vigor of Danish protests likely deterred the Germans from transporting these Jews to killing centers in German-occupied Poland. Despite these efforts, around one hundred Danish Jews lost their lives – either in the Nazi camps or during their escape from Denmark.

In our upcoming November exhibit, the Erich Lichtblau Leskly collection from our archives will display art from the Theresienstadt Ghetto containing a piece depicting the arrival of the Danish Jews shown below.  They are portrayed with fur coats, seemingly wealthy and well taken care of. The caption reads “Arrival of Danish Jews at “Terezin Spa”. The caption references the deception of the German authorities which informed Jews from Denmark that Theresienstadt was a resort spa and not a labor camp, which could not be further from the truth.

Below are postcards from German labor camps from our collection showing Danish Jews were deported to other camps besides Theresienstadt as well. 
"Arrival of Danish Jews at Terezin Spa"
Source: LAMOTH Archival Collection

Postcard from a German labor camp to Denmark 
Source: LAMOTH Archival Collection

Postcard from a German labor camp to Denmark 
Source: LAMOTH Archival Collection

It is remarkable to note however, that casualties among Danish Jewry during the Holocaust were among the lowest of the occupied countries of Europe. 95 percent of Danish Jews escaped Nazi persecution in that October in 1943.

Note on Sources:

Information for this article is based in the USHMM publication available through https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005209

 Hans Kirchhoff (1995). "Denmark: A Light in the Darkness of the Holocaust? A reply to Gunnar S. Paulsson". Journal of Contemporary HistoryFor exact figures of costs involved see http://folkedrab.dk/artikler/hjaelpen-til-de-danske-joeder-hvorfor-hjalp-saa-mange-og-hvad-var-risikoen

Thursday, October 6, 2016

This Week in Holocaust History: The Munich Agreement and German Occupation of Sudetenland

The week of October 1st 1938 marked the beginning of the German occupation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. The signing of the Munich agreement in days prior allowed this to occur.

In modern politics, the Munich Conference, held from September 29 to September 30, 1939, by Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier, remained a remarkable example of failed geo-political intentions to keep peace for the sake of small European nations. Appeasement of Nazi-German territorial expansion resulted in dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and by no means prevented the outbreak of the Second World War, one year later.

From 1918 to 1938, after disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and until October 1938, more than 3 million ethnic Germans lived in the Czech part of the newly created state of Czechoslovakia.

Konrad Henlein, pro-Nazi leader of Sudeten Germans, founded the Nazi-oriented Front of Sudeten German Homeland (SdP) in 1933. By 1935, the SdP became the second largest political party in Czechoslovakia. Shortly after the Anschluss of Austria, Henlein met with Hitler in Berlin on 28 March 1938, where he was instructed to raise demands unacceptable to the Czechoslovak government led by President Edvard Beneš. On 24 April, the SdP issued a series of demands upon the government of Czechoslovakia that were known as the Carlsbad Program.

On September 12th 1938, Hitler denounced Czechoslovakia as being a fraudulent state that was in violation of international law's emphasis of national self-determination, claiming that it was a Czech hegemony where neither the Germans, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Ukrainians nor the Poles of the country actually wanted to be in a union with the Czechs. Hitler accused Czechoslovakia's President Edvard Beneš of seeking to gradually exterminate the Sudeten Germans, claiming that since Czechoslovakia's creation over 600,000 Germans were allegedly intentionally forced out of their homes under the threat of starvation if they did not leave. Hitler accused the government of Czechoslovakia of being a client regime of France, claiming that the French Minister of Aviation, Pierre Cot had said "We need this state as a base from which to drop bombs with greater ease to destroy Germany's economy and its industry."

A deal was reached on September 29th at about 1:30 am on September 30th 1938 Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier signed the Munich Agreement. The agreement was officially introduced by Mussolini although in fact the so-called Italian plan had been prepared in the German Foreign Office. The German army was to complete the occupation of the Sudetenland by  October 10th 1938 and an international commission would decide the future of other disputed areas.

Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could either resist Nazi Germany alone or submit to the prescribed annexations. The Czechoslovak government, realizing the hopelessness of the situation, reluctantly capitulated (30 September) and agreed to abide by the Agreement. The settlement gave Germany Sudetenland starting 10 October and de facto control over the rest of Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further.

Czechoslovakian were greatly dismayed with the Munich Settlement. With Sudetenland gone to Germany, Czechoslovakia lost its defensible, well-fortified border with Germany. Czech sovereignty became more nominal than real.

Neville Chamberlain, announced the deal at Heston Aerodrome upon arrival to Great Britain as follows:

"... the settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: ' ... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again."

Historians continue to speculate whether or not the war remained inevitable had Poland succumbed to German demands and ceded the Danzig Corridor to Germany in August of 1939. 

From the events mentioned above, the following proverb fits this narrative: 
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” 
Women from the City of Cheb saluting German soldiers
Hitler and Chamberlain shaking hands