Free Republic of Schwarzenberg

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Free Republic of Schwarzenberg
Freie Republik Schwarzenberg
1945


Coat of arms of Schwarzenberg

Map of the localities in the saxon part of the Ore Mountains reliably unoccupied from May 8, to June 24, 1945[1]
  unoccupied locality
  presumably unoccupied locality
  occupied locality, for orientation
Capital Uncertain
Government Not specified
Historical era World War II
 •  German capitulation May 8, 1945
 •  Soviet occupation 24 June 1945
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Nazi Germany
Allied Occupation Zones in Germany
Soviet occupation zone

The Free Republic of Schwarzenberg (German: Freie Republik Schwarzenberg) is a term now used for an unoccupied area in Western Saxony that existed for several weeks after the German capitulation on May 8, 1945. After the surrender of Germany, the districts of Schwarzenberg, Stollberg and Aue, in the Ore Mountains, were left unoccupied, for reasons that are unclear. Over time, anti-fascist action groups formed local governments in the 21 towns and villages. This status quo ended when Soviet troops finally occupied the area on June 24, 1945.

There is some speculation as to why neither American nor Soviet troops occupied the area. One explanation may be that the Soviets and Americans agreed to halt on the banks of the river Mulde. As there are several rivers with this name, and the Schwarzenberg area lies between them, a misunderstanding could be the main reason. Another possible explanation is that the Allies simply overlooked the area.

The name "Free Republic of Schwarzenberg" actually derives from the 1984 novel Schwarzenberg by Stefan Heym. As the novel is based on actual events, the name has become a convenient descriptor. However, Heym's novel is not a documentary and therefore not accurate.

Although there existed democratic structures concerning the authority of the newly generated anti-fascism-councils, it was never intended to build a (nation-) state. The councils dealt with humanitarian issues, since the unoccupied county of Schwarzenberg was not supported by any military force, neither the Allied Troops nor the Wehrmacht as the latter already had surrendered. Other issues were maintaining law and order, and dealing with scattered German soldiers who tried to avoid Soviet imprisonment by fleeing to the west.

After Soviet occupation in June 1945, the councils were dismissed. However, their work was appreciated by the Soviets and some councilmen kept their positions in similar Soviet-initiated councils for several years, even after the GDR was founded in 1949.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jochen Czerny (Hrsg.): Republik im Niemandsland. Ein Schwarzenberg-Lesebuch, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Sachsen, Schkeuditz 1997, ISBN 978-3-929994-94-0, page 369