Plzeňské sympozia

Milan Hlavačka

The Practice of Der Schub (Forced relocation)

pp. 330–338 (Czech), Summary pp. 338–340 (English)

Forced relocation as a state police measure decreed by the Gubernatorial Administration was amended as from 1871 by an imperial legal act redefining the institutes of police eviction and persecution by relocation, codifying the provisions of the law on forced relocation, which partially supplanted earlier norms on relocation in force in the individual lands of the crown, often dating from as early as the 17th and 18th centuries. The Imperial Law on Forced Relocation (der Schub), of 1871, made a legal distinction between “eviction” and police-enforced “removal”. There, “eviction” related to forced relocation from a specific locality or territory, coupled with transfer to a pertinent place of residence or original domicile, or in the cases of aliens, outside the state borders, incurring in the instance of repeated return the possible issuance of a ban on return under criminal law. An eviction order was applicable only to certain categories of persons, on the grounds of “cogent police evidence”. These categories of persons, taxatively defined by law, included under the Imperial Law on Forced Relocation of 1871 “vagrants and other persons evading work who gain benefit from public charity,” “individuals without personal documents and place of destination” who were not in a position to present proof of any income and any certified form of sustenance”, “prostitutes who have failed to heed official orders to move away from a locality”, as well as “prisoners and convicts, should they pose a threat to the security of persons and property.” Forced relocation to a person’s original domicile was regulated by legal acts relevant to domiciliary law, since on principle the sole place whence an unwelcome citizen of Austria could not be relocated was his original place of domicile. Ironically, the law on forced relocation still increased the general rates of mobility, notably involving the poorest sections of society. Forced relocations were practiced along so-called main relocation routes, i.e., at points adjacent communications linking big cities, where the forcibly relocated were assembled to wait until the closest date of departure of a convoy. The networks of these main relocation routes were complemented by a system of so-called particular forced relocation, serving for the transportation of forcibly relocated persons in rural areas to their destinations. Forced relocation generated financial means distributed among certain sections of the rural population who were confronted with difficulties in finding a source of subsistence. The headquarters of forced relocation was situated in Vienna, whence convoys were despatched from 1817, heading in four directions: to Bavaria, Hungary, Austria, and Moravia. As the numbers of forcibly relocated persons continued to mount, a direct relocation link to Bohemia was set up in 1826, and in 1832 the Hungarian relocation line forked out into two separate branches, one to Pressburg, the other to Buda (Ofen). The link to Moravia was much frequented, with a transport heading there being despatched every week. The numbers of relocated persons spiralled. As was noted above, a third form of eviction from a locality was from March 1849 officially enforced removal from a locality in the case of a person’s failure to produce evidence of the place’s being their original domicile, or their lack of moral standing (Bescholtenheit), a thoroughly vague term which was then introduced into legal and police practice. This provision once again afflicted primarily poor individuals or even whole families who would have otherwise slumped into dependence on a given community’s funds apportioned to care for the poor. Local governments’ decision-making competences on matters of forced relocation were in that sense very broad, very often engendering utterly inhumane situations. In any case, the forced relocation legislation as a whole was ran blatantly counter to the national constitutions and their catalogues of human rights warranted both in October 1862, and definitively in December 1867, whose stipulations relating to the protection of personal freedom in particular made it clear that a citizen was rightfully entitled to free movement, and that they could not be compelled against their will to reside in places contrary to their own choice. Thus the freedom of movement and the freedom of choice of place of residence were fundamental liberal civil rights which domiciliary law and the agenda of the forced relocation decrees clearly curtailed.

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