Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Prince of Liechtenstein in Czech Republic

Photo: ČTK / Peřina Luděk
Prince Hans-Adam II is currently on a visit to the Czech Republic where he took part in the presentation of a book featuring a collection of lectures delivered at an international scientific conference about the House of Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic (or so I assume because I can't make out the title of the book in the pictures and it isn't specifically mentioned in the articles). The event took place in the Moravian city of Olomouc.

The history of Liechtenstein(ers) and what today is the Czech Republic is a complicated one. As you may recall, the Prince of Liechtenstein as well as 37 other Liechtenstein citizens lost their Czechoslovakian properties partly after the First World War due to a land reform and partly after the end of the Second World War based on the Beneš decrees as they were deemed German because of speaking German. As a result the Principality and the Czech Republic only established diplomatic relations in 2009.

During his stay in Olomouc Prince Hans-Adam said that he thinks that the relations between the two countries have been successfully developed since their establishment in 2009. He, however, acknowledged that the the confiscation of properties of many of his country’s inhabitants that has not been accompanied by financial compensation still burdens relations between Liechtenstein and the Czech Republic. 

The Prince explained that the problem shouldn't be resolved in court but instead on a political level. While he understands that many of the properties cannot be given back as new houses have been built on them, he believes that the simplest way would be to return of properties that are returnable. Prince Hans-Adam added that his family would both have the know-how and the financial resources to restore properties, such as castles, palaces and their furnishings, would they be returned to the Princely Family.

Pictures of the day can be found at ČTK. This was already the (at least) second visit of the Prince to Olomouc as he already visited the local Velké Losiny Castle where his grandfather spent parts of his life in 2010; pictures of that visit can be found on the castle's website.

Source: Prague Post


  1. Ducii (, May 21, 2014 10:13:00 AM

    There is interesting article about this in Czech: In sum, law expert says that resolve it without court is nonsense. He also says that argumentation of prince is similar to the argumentation of Church (there are big disscusions about church restitutions which last gov. approved and which I believe are illegal because of 1781 decree of emperor Joseph II. (son of Maria Teresa)). The another interesting point in that article - not only did Lichtensteins proclaimed themselves German, but they DID collaborate. They wanted to cooperate with czech nazi party by expelling all czechs from their property, boycotting czech goods etc.

  2. Thanks, that's intereting! I just wonder why the family and other Liechtenstein citizens would proclaim themselves as Germans!? Austrians maybe but Germans doesn't really make sense. Were also Czech citizens - apart from the church - who collaborated with the Germans dispossessed?

    I'm also not entirely sure what Hans-Adam means by "on a political level" as decisions would likely need to be made in each individual case if it's even possible to give it back and for that you would need a court or at least some institution that could make a legal decision about it. So while I'm no law scholar, I tend to agree with what the experts are saying. In my opinion only an all or none decision could be made on a political level.

  3. Ducii (, May 21, 2014 12:52:00 PM

    Of course... all collaborants lost their property no matter of nationality. Beneš decrees are not only about Germans and Hungarians but more generally about collaborants and traitors, but this is often not mentioned.

    I think that they proclaimed themselves German because there was no option like Austrians or Liechtensteins - they both speak German so they are Germans in this sense.. Just few days ago new book came to czech market called "Liechtensteins in hte Czechoslovakia". It covers the whole problematic period and I really want to read it and get more informations.

    I agree with you that there can be only all or none decision, giving them just a part or some financial compensation is weird...and if they really collaborated (which was the reason for confiscation, not the nationality) I vote for none decision.

    Hans-Adam knows very well he can´t win the court, so he is trying to make some political pressure to get at least something...

  4. I wonder whether it would be possible to sell some of the things back to the family for a symbolical prize. I know that is what some German noble families did during the 1990's with possessions they lost after the Second World War based on dispossessions by the Soviets. They paid one Euro so that they were able to afford renovations and such. Though that would also mean that the buyer recognises the dispossessions as lawful. It would be nice to see some of the old castles or the historical burial place of the family, which have fallen into ruins, restored.

    All in all there were 38 citizens of Liechtenstein who lost their properties after WWII. However, I'm not sure who all of them are apart from the Prince of Liechtenstein. Maybe another five to ten are also members of the Princely Family but they weren't as numerous at the time as they are today.

    I think the book might be the one also published in German a few weeks ago. It was written by a historical commission made out of Czech and Liechtenstein historians.

  5. Ducii (, May 23, 2014 9:23:00 PM

    It is possible to get something back if it was confiscated in 1948 after the "February coup", but Lichtensteins lost all their staff before, so there is no legal possibility to get it unless break the Beneš decrees. I don´t think anyone will sell anything to them for a symbolical prize...

    This book is written only by one czech historian if the informations about the author on the internet are correct, but maybe this man is a part of that commission...