Full Name 93 Principality of Liechtenstein
Alliance Neutral or Non-Belligerent
Population in 1939 13,000


ww2dbaseLiechtenstein, previously closely tied to Austria-Hungary, grew close to Switzerland after WW1. In 1919, Liechtenstein entrusted its diplomacy to Switzerland. In Mar 1938, Prince Franz I named Prince Franz Joseph the regent to the country; four months later, the 84-year-old Prince Franz I passed away, and Prince Franz Joseph became the head of state. The sovereign princes of Liechtenstein traditionally lived in their castles in Austria; Prince Franz Joseph became the first to maintain permanent residence within Liechtenstein. In Mar 1939, the small Nazi Party-influenced "German National Movement in Liechtenstein" attempted a coup d'état that ended in failure. When the European War began in Sep 1939, Liechtenstein, like its Swiss neighbor, remained neutral. During the war, the most valuable treasures owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein that were located outside the country were moved to Liechtenstein and Britain for safekeeping, but the castles and 1,600 square kilometers (or 600 square miles) of land in Bohemia and Moravia in Czechoslovakia and Silesia in Germany would be seized by Germany. When WW2 ended, Czechoslovakia and Poland considered them German property and took possession of them, creating legal controversies that would last for many years to come. In May 1945, at the end of the European War, German collaborator Boris Smyslowsky escaped into the country with 461 surviving men of the German 1st Russian National Army (along with 30 women and 2 children); some of them would later return to the Soviet Union (and disappear into the Soviet prison system), others received asylum from Argentina, while a small number, including Smyslowsky, remained in Liechtenstein for the rest of their lives. In addition of these 493 Russians, the country also took in about 240 Jewish refugees from other European nations; 144 of them were given citizenship to ease their transition to other countries. In the same period, however, Liechtenstein also rejected entry of several hundred other Jewish refugees. It was noted that the Jews Liechtenstein accepted were generally wealthy or influential.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Jul 2013

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
29 Nov 2014 01:59:42 PM

BEING NEUTRAL: HAS ITS UPS & DOWNS Liechtenstein is a landlocked country between Switzerland and Austria its area in size is 160 / 62 sq. miles. The country remained officially neutral and asked Switzerland for assistance and guidance. Did you know that there was a pro-Nazi movement within the country, but no official Nazi Party and it did have some Nazi sympathy. Some sources list that even during WWII the SS received some Liechtenstein citizens that served. TURNCOATS: In 1938 after the annexation of Austria by the Nazis, members of the Pro-German National Movement were appointed by head of state Prince Franz Josef II. In 1939 about 95% of the voters reject a proposal to join the Third Reich. TURNED AWAY: As WWII started an unknown number of refugees are turned away at the border, while others are able to enter the country. BLACK MARKET: PEOPLE BUYING THEIR VERY LIVES Liechtenstein passports are sold for up to 50,000 Swiss francs, to 144 Jewish refugees others that followed paid to enter the country. Other refugees paid or were told to deposit up to 30,000 Swiss francs in local banks. Imagine you had to flee your home and country forced to leave everything behind to escape evil and others are making money off of it...the real shame of it all. NATIONAL TREASURE: SAVING YOUR OWN JEWELS Some of the family treasure was moved to Britain during the war, others were held for safekeeping within Liechtenstein. RISKY BUSINESS: Prince Franz Josef II acquired art objects and household furnishings at the end of WWII that were purchased from dealers known to have traded in looted assets, antiques even factories stolen from their Jewish owners. After the war, a commission was formed and later finds that no looted items could be identified in the Liechtenstein Collection, though a number are found to be of questionable origin. After the war the Prince pays money to the Jewish former owners who survived the war. MONEY IN THE BANK: After WWII U.S. Counter-Intelligence operatives (OSS) in Switzerland provided Washington with reports of Nazi gold and currency transfers and arranged by Swiss banks during the war, that included money and property held in Liechtenstein In 1946 the Swiss Government signs the Washington Agreement on behalf of itself and Liechtenstein settling a dispute with Allied powers over the disposition of German assets. COLD WAR: Did you know that citizens of Liechtenstein were forbidden to travel to Czechoslovakia and there was no international relations even after the fall of the Communist Government even after the Czech Republic was formed with relations starting in July 2009. Relations started with Slovakia in December 2009. I THANK THE EDITOR/WW2DB FOR ALLOWING ME TO LEAVE MY ADDED COMMENT ON LIECHTENSTEIN

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