The Czechoslovak Government-in Exile: Jewish and Palestinian Aspects in the Light of the Documents
President Eduard Benes’ late 1940s writings are the main source of information regarding Czechoslovak Jews in the 1930s and during World War II. Benes headed the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, recognized by Britain and situated in London. At that time there were some 7,000 Czech Jewish immigrants in Britain who were split into three groups: assimilationists, Orthodox, and nationalists (Poalei Zion). At first, none of these was represented in the State Council, but in November 1941 Ernst Frischer was appointed. Benes supported the notion of a Jewish state in Palestine, but objected to simultaneous demands for minority rights. With the help of Thomas Garrique Masaryk, 7,000 Jews had immigrated to Palestine in 1939, though they were candidates for mobilization into the Czech army. Only some 1,200 Jewish volunteers heeded the call to arms. A later compulsory mobilization order was largely ignored as friendly meetings continued to be held between Jewish and Czech officials. Eventually, an agreement was reached acceptable to both sides. The relations between the Czechoslovak government-in-exile and the state-on-the-way in Palestine remained friendly throughout the war years. Eleven relevant documents or pieces of correspondence are presented.