How Hitler wanted all Czechs to be exiled to Patagonia
However, having settled in the Czech Republic and trying to find out the details of this stories, the author was faced with a complete lack of intelligible data. But something completely different emerged. It turns out that there is a serious suspicion that the plans for such a “deportation” were seriously nurtured by Jan Antonin Bata, one of the representatives of the famous dynasty of Czech shoe “kings”, the brother of its founder Tomas Bata Sr. (1876–1932).
After the tragic death of his brother in a plane crash, Jan Antonin headed a huge company. Times were hard: the economic crisis, the Munich agreement in 1938, the occupation of the Czech Republic in 1939 ... The businessman did everything possible to maintain the viability of the enterprise. Perhaps the Nazis hooked him on this hook, arresting Batya in the city of Marianske Lazne. The shoe magnate was released on the condition that he meet Hermann Göring in Berlin. The Reichsmarschall tried to convince Batya of the need for cooperation between his company and Germany. After this meeting, the "oligarch" decided to move away from sin, to the United States. A German manager appeared at the Batya factories in Zlín. The company throughout the war supplied the Wehrmacht not only with military footwear, but also with spare parts for submarines, V-1 and V-2 missiles. In the summer of 1939, the US press accused the Czech businessman of sympathizing with Nazism. The Allies blacklisted him as collaborating with the enemy and did not renew his American visa. Dad moved to Brazil.
No one knows for sure what exactly Jan Antonin was talking about in 1939 with Goering and other Nazi bosses. What later served as the basis for speculation - both in terms of the tycoon's sympathies in relation to the Nazi gang-watering can, and in connection with the notorious resettlement in Patagonia. The issue must be considered in a historical context: when the head of a shoe corporation was persuaded to cooperate in Germany in 1939, the Second World War had not yet begun, and no one knew how this whole story would end. There was a powerful Germany and a small Czech Republic, betrayed by the Western powers and conquered by the Germans. It is quite possible that Goering really hinted to Bath: soon there will be little space in the small Central European "clearing". On the map of the world there are a lot of uninhabited regions. There is no need to wait until the thunder breaks out, the fathers of the Czech nation need to be baptized right now.
Jan Antonin Batya may have been flattered by this approach to business. He considered himself one of the pillars of Czech society. And even got into politics. In the second half of the 30s, for example, he bombarded the Czechoslovak president, Beneš, with projects to improve the country's road and rail networks and revive industry. When his advice was coldly rejected, Batya began to speak very critically about the head of state. They obviously didn't get along. Once, when meeting in London, a huge Batya slapped little Benesh on the shoulder: “My friend, together we can do a lot!” The President was offended and Bate said that he should "take better care of his shoes." In the deep autumn of 1938, after the capture of the Sudetenland by the Germans, the resignation and emigration of Benes Bata seriously thought about taking the vacant presidential seat.
But the shoe magnate was not a politician, but a practitioner. For selfish-capitalist reasons, it was not included in his plans that a future war would leave ashes and a mountain of corpses in the place of the Czech Republic. Here lived his skillful workers and his loyal customers; for the sake of preserving this invaluable for every business tycoon of the market, he was ready for anything. Perhaps even the creation of a working "plan-plan" for ... the movement of Czechs and Slovaks to South America, so as not to "crowd in Europe."
Since this story in the Czech apocryphal heritage is overgrown with so many conjectures, the author will try to stick only to the facts. And they are. On December 12, 1946, Czechoslovak law enforcement agencies opened a criminal case against Jan Bata. He was charged with, for example, "an attempt to forcibly change the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic." The investigation had in mind precisely his "plan for the resettlement of the Czech people in Patagonia."
This part of the indictment was based on a single letter that Jan Bata, during a business trip to Chile in 1941, allegedly sent to his secretary, Dr. Jiří Udřal. In the letter, the businessman spoke of a "great" plan to move the Czechoslovaks into regions stretching between Chile and Argentina. Secretary Udzhal, apparently, the beetle was still the same; he painstakingly accumulated dirt on the boss. The next two years, when the scales of the Second World War fluctuated, and it was not clear who would prevail in the war, Udrzhal kept the master's message a secret. But then, after Stalingrad and El Alamein, it became, in principle, clear that the Nazi veins were cut. And the secretary wrote to the son of the founder of the shoe empire, Tomas Bata Jr., who lived in Canada, a letter dated April 19, 1943. Where he told everything about the “insidious uncle-deporter”. The letter said that "the secret folder of Jan Antonin contained a map with the territory allotted for the future Czechoslovak state (in Patagonia - Auth.)". Udrzhal wrote: “There was a remark in the text: “I agreed with the leaders of the German people that they would support the resettlement plan.” This seriously shook my confidence in Jan Antonin Bata.”
Manuscripts do not burn
The plan, which, according to the secretary, contained 27 pages, was rewritten "for history" by his wife Adela Udrzhalova. The original was allegedly returned to Bata when he returned from Chile in the summer of 1941. The project consisted of two parts - a draft of propaganda lectures and a description of the possibilities for the economic use of Patagonia. Although Batya was not XNUMX% sure of Germany's victory, he certainly considered her participation in the enterprise in the first place. Therefore, the main place in the plan was assigned to the attitude towards the idea of Berlin.
“Goering told me that we live in a German court, we must be aware of this and act in accordance with this,” the text of the Batev memorandum allegedly said. Of course, there is a lot of truth in this saying. We live in a German environment, even if we are talking about the recently Germanized Slavs, Silesians and Serbs ... But it is also obvious that ... the Czechoslovak nation survived and withstood the blows of all Asian hordes, while serving Germany as a buffer from the east ... "
Dad hits historical philosophizing: they say that it is the Czechs who are well aware of the "art of being a small people." From this it follows: the Czechs cannot be Germanized, "we are talking about a people who will hide their fists (read: figs - Auth.) for decades and, in the end, will break the German Reich in the same way as they destroyed Austria." “Thinking about all the possibilities,” writes Jan Bata, “I find only one solution. I am looking for a way out that would be in the interests of everyone and would not leave behind a sea of hot blood ... The solution that I have in mind is the resettlement of the Czech and Slovak people to another continent. To a better environment, to better lands, to greater opportunities for free national development. I am ready to personally propose and… organize such a resettlement of the nation. In the event of victory, Hitler will not stop at any right of the Czech people to exist .. therefore, we must get ahead of events and find the best place on the globe and independently come up with such a project so that we have benefits, both moral and economic .. ."
Speaking about other belligerent powers (the USSR, apparently, was still out of the war at that moment and was not taken into account - Auth.), Yan Batya states: if the British lose, then they "will not have the opportunity to speak out about this." If things turn out differently, the British Empire will be able to benefit from the project: Czechoslovak Patagonia will become a tidbit where Albion can "get new territories, and territories very valuable, since they will be inhabited by a valuable people, consisting of people who are culturally, technically and economically developed ". The Czechoslovaks, in his opinion, would have nothing against the temporary English government, "considering it more of a guard than a citizenship."
$20 billion, 30 years
The US would have to participate in a grand "resettlement". According to the businessman, the reason for the war in Europe is "overpopulation". He calculated: the conduct of hostilities (at that time - helping the fighting Great Britain - Auth.) Costs America 36 billion dollars; for the resettlement of the Czechoslovak people, "only $ 20 billion" must be paid. Batya, as a specialist in the national economy, recommends dividing the amount between individual powers. Considering that Czechoslovakia will be able to participate in the $4 billion project. The resettlement, according to Bati, can be carried out in 30 years.
What was Baty's "Patagonian empire" supposed to look like? The industrialist wanted to start production in 25 industries at the first stage. The basis is, of course, shoe business; it was planned to tie a raw material base, mines, wood processing and aircraft manufacturing plants, chemical, cement and paper factories, shipyards and railway companies to it. In total, it was planned to create jobs for 340 thousand people.
Raise the Patagonian virgin soil
The movement of Czech and Slovak colonists, according to Bata's plan, was to take place in "waves". In the first, people released from concentration camps and landless peasants with their families would be displaced. Behind them are workers, artisans and merchants. The property could be sold. Practitioner Jan Bata gives a specific example: a hectare of arable land in the Czech Republic "flies away" for 30 thousand crowns, and in Patagonia for this money you can buy 5-10 hectares. Such a prospect allegedly could well seduce the Czechs. Batya describes in detail the most fruitful areas of Patagonia: from the Pacific side - the valleys of the Rio Palena, Puelo, Velho, from the Atlantic - the basins of the Rio Hubut, Rio Negro, Rio Genoa and other rivers. According to the plan, the "new Czechoslovakia" (or "Bateland") was to receive about 2000 islands, mostly rich in minerals. If we leave aside the geopolitical husk, then Jan Antonin was certainly interested in the colonization of free space by people who would strive for the life and work of pioneers in difficult conditions.
15 years with confiscation
In 1947, the Czechoslovak Prosecutor's Office drew up an indictment in the case of Jan Antonin Bati. Of course, the investigation failed to prove that his theses (even if they really were written by him - after all, no one except the Udrzhalovs saw the original) grew into something more serious than reflections on the "defeatist" topic.
In the verdict of the prosecutor's office, it was said that citizen Batya Ya. A. “by agreement with Hermann Goering, left for the USA in 1939; from there, by supplying raw materials to the occupied countries or directly to Germany, and also in other ways brought significant benefits to the enemy, "dissuaded workers from joining the Czechoslovak army," harmed the Czechoslovak defense power and allies, "condemned the victims of internal resistance, approved the actions of the occupiers and their servants; being a well-known industrialist, refused to join the resistance." The accusation was not very convincing, but the then justice, in which the communists set the tone, was guided primarily by political considerations. The court sentenced Batya in absentia to imprisonment in a special regime prison for 15 years; his property was confiscated. The condemnation of Jan Bata was very opportune: the largest Czech joint-stock company Batya, on the basis of decrees of President Beneš, had already been confiscated earlier. The verdict legitimized this dubious legal act.
Rehabilitation - posthumously
The rest of the days, Jan Antonin lived in Brazil, where he founded four towns (for example, Batagaussa and Bataipora) and was engaged in the same shoe production. He died in 1965 at the age of 67. He had 5 children. Three daughters - Lyudmila, Edita and Maria - came to their homeland in October 1991 to seek the rehabilitation of their father. Czech courts denied their complaints for 16 years. Only 60 years after the conviction of Jan Antonin, in November 2007, the Prague City Court took into account evidence that the convict during the war, it turns out, financed the London government in exile in millions of dollars and helped 300 Jewish families escape from the protectorate. The manufacturer's name was cleared; the court found that he was not a collaborator. The cold water of history shifted its thickness over his "Patagonian fantasies".
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