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Broadcast Policy in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

Power Structures, Programming, Cooperation and Defiance at Czech Radio 1939-1945

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Peter Richard Pinard

Hitler’s regime invested heavily into radio as the most modern media of its era. First in Germany, later in Austria and the Sudetenland, Joseph Goebbels motivated his Volksgenossen to become active radio listeners. But what approach did the regime take to the first non-German people occupied – the Czechs? How would Czech Radio’s staff and listeners respond to Nazi-dominated programming? What strategies of defiance and what options for cooperation existed? What role did Nazism’s core theme of anti-Semitism play? Which Czech societal groups did the Nazis try to reach most? This book casts a spotlight on the effects of the occupation authorities’ policies on specific programming content, as well as on radio as a medium in the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
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8. The Early Thürmer Era – 1942 and 1943

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Obviously, one German broadcasting official alone was not enough to control all of Czech Radio. Thus, after taking over from Fricke and presumably after the removal of Schneider, Thürmer called for reinforcements from Berlin. When exactly the man who was to become his deputy, Horst Pabel, arrived in Prague is regrettably not clear from Pabel’s police registration, which records only a move from the Grand Hotel Šroubek to a flat near to Czech Radio at Gebauerova (now U Vodárny) 16 in Prague-Vinohrady on 10 September 1942.834 A note from Pabel to Kříž dating from 13 May 1942 outlined the need to cut inappropriate suggestions and encourage the inclusion of lively reportages in the new propaganda series Budujeme! (“We Build!” in German: “Aufbau!”).835 Post-war testimonies against Pabel by Czech Radio staff also make it clear that Pabel was well established at Czech Radio at the time of the terror associated with Heydrich’s assassination in late May/early June 1942.836 As he took over from Hohrath, who reached Prague on 3 March 1942, Pabel’s arrival in Prague presumably dates to a few weeks after that or approximately to April/May 1942. For his part, Hohrath had taken over the Educational Lectures Department, which had been directed temporarily since the departure of Prokop by a member of the Reports Department named Josef Cincibus.837

By late spring 1942, Thürmer’s reforms led to the placement of Germans in nearly all the leadership positions of the company, i.e., as heads of the...

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