"Palestine must be the ultimate goal" : Count František Schönborn’s report of September 1945 on Jewish refugees from Poland in Czechoslovakia
Immediately after the end of the Second World War, Europe had to cope with a serious problem - the repatriation of displaced persons. Besides this, we may also track a flow of migration by Jewish refugees out of Poland. It was made up of Jews who had survived the holocaust, but because of the strong anti-Semitic atmosphere in Poland, and also because they were under the influence of Zionist ideas, they were fleeing to Palestine. Some of them took a route through Czechoslovakia. This migratory movement was already fairly strong in the first months after the war. Count František Schönborn, who at that time was serving in the Czechoslovak Army as a first lieutenant for repatriation, was well aware of the gravity of this problem. He therefore decided to inform the International Red Cross about it and suggested setting up a system of holding and transit camps on Czechoslovak territory for these refugees. The reproduced text of his letter at the end of this article shows how this member of the Czech aristocracy was aware of the gravity of the situation and managed to aptly describe it. In some regards it bears witness to the author’s foresight because a system of holding camps really was created in Czechoslovakia in 1946. Schönborn’s letter was also well received in Zionist circles.