Jan Láníček

The Czechoslovak Section of the BBC and the Jews during the Second World War


Láníček’s article analyses the wartime BBC Czechoslovak Service and its treatment of the Jewish issues when broadcasting to German-occupied Europe. The first, theoretical part inquires into the main factors that influenced the decision-making process about broadcasting to occupied Czechoslovakia. The analysis confirms that the broadcasts were a product of complex influences that resulted from the diplomatic position of the Czechoslovak exiles. The second part of the article focuses on an analysis of the broadcasts from a humanitarian and political point of view. From the latter perspective, it documents policy considerations that played a considerable role in number and shape of the broadcasts dealing with Jewish issues. The Czechoslovak government, although occasionally unable to resist humanitarian motives, still sought to fashion an overall message that put forth their political priorities and objectives. One of the main aims of the broadcasts was to maintain the image of a democratic nation not given to the persecution of minorities.