MUDr. Emma Maria Herzig

Period: 1918–1945

MUDr. Emma Maria Herzig was an important member and a chair of the German Section, and also a Deutsche Nationalpartei (German National Party) Senator from 1920 to 1925. She was born in 1873 in Rýnovice (currently a part of the city of Jablonec nad Nisou). She graduated from medicine and worked as a psychiatrist and gynaecologist. She was also active in other German organizations, for example the Federation of German Women’s Associations in Czechoslovakia and the German Association for Protection of Mothers and Infants in Bohemia. She founded the Association for Women’s Political Education and published the Sudetendeutsche Frau magazine. In 1923, she faced a charge of violating the law for protection of the republic and was supposed to be stripped of immunity, which was eventually dismissed.[1]

The situation was recorded by the senate stenographer:

On 29 April 1923, the Krnov provincial board of the German National Party organized a public meeting in Vrbno on the topic of “The Present and the Past of the Sudeten Germans”. One of the speakers was senator dr. Marie Herzigová, who discussed peace treaties, the situation in the Ruhr area and the position of the Germans in Czechoslovakia. In her speech, she also claimed: „Beim Schulwesen, es ist ganz egal, wer im Schulministerium sitzt, Schulraub wird immer betrieben und der Wahlspruch der Čechen ist, nur nehmen und nichts geben.“ (“In terms of education, it does not matter who holds the office at the Ministry of Education as robbery is constantly present in this sector, and the Czechs’ motto is to keep taking while giving nothing.”)

The public prosecutor concludes that in this utterance, Dr. Marie Herzigová publicly resorts to rude and seditious vilification of the Czech nation which may possibly disturb the general peace and threaten international relations and she makes an accusation of the Ministry of Education to robbing schools, and so this speech may constitute the facts of a crime according to the Section 14 No. 5 of the Act for Protection of the Republic and an offence according to the Section 491 of the Criminal Code and Article V of the Act of 17 December 1862.

The response went as follows:

Although the Immunity Committee admits that the incriminated utterance establishes the objective nature of the offence under Section 14 of the Act for Protection of the Republic and the offences listed above, it nevertheless does not intend to decide to extradite Dr. Marie Herzig. From the nature of the Senator’s speech and from the circumstances in which she spoke, the Committee does not suspect that she had the intention of disturbing the general peace. The Committee assumes she merely used figures of speech such as those that are very often found with impunity in the journals of her party, that she did not mean to refer to a real robbery of the schools, but that she only meant to use flowery language to assess the justifiable reduction of some useless German schools, and that in the statement “keep taking while giving nothing ” one cannot see more than a rhetorical expression of egoism.[2]

[1] D. Musilová: Z ženského pohledu. Poslankyně a senátorky Národního shromáždění Československé republiky 1918–1939, České Budějovice: Vlastimil Rada, 2007, s. 99–100.


Zdroj vyobrazení:

M. Naske, J. Penížek: Národní shromáždění republiky Československé: poslanecká sněmovna – senát, národní výbor, revoluční národní shromáždění: životopisná a statistická příručka se 450 obrazy a 2 plány, jakož i s výňatkem nejdůležitějších ustanovení a dat, která se týkají Národního shromáždění. V Jičíně: Nákladem a tiskem firmy Šmejc a spol, 1924, s. 178.