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Current AffairsStories of Injustice film project tries to shed light on grey “normalization” period

02-11-2011 16:09 | Pavla Horáková

‘Swingtime’ The 2006 film “Swingtime” inspired by a communist-era secret police operation as well as four documentaries will be screened in November at primary and secondary schools around the country as part of a month-long project called Stories of Injustice. Now in its seventh year the project organized by the NGO People in Need covers a period often neglected in the curriculum. Through film and subsequent discussions with survivors, witnesses and victims of communist injustice, students are learning about post-war Czechoslovak history – this year with a special focus on the period of normalization and the subjects of emigration and exile. Radio Prague talked to the project’s spokesman Filip Šebek.  More

From the ArchivesThe unresolved mystery of the death of Jan Masaryk

29-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Jan Masaryk “We are a small country with a great tradition of freedom. We shall not give it up.” These are the words of Jan Masaryk, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, addressing American servicemen in Plzeň in a tone of great optimism in November 1945. During the wartime occupation Masaryk had served as Czechoslovak foreign minister in exile in London, and he remained in the post after his return home, deciding to stay on even after the communist coup of February 1948. His immense popularity meant that the communists put up with his presence, although his pro-Western views, reinforced by the fact that his mother had been American, were totally at odds with the rest of the government.  More

NewsVondra investigated over Mašín brothers

27-10-2011 20:45 | Daniela Lazarová

Defence Minister Alexander Vondra is being investigated in connection with the case of the Mašín brothers whom he decorated for bravery in memoriam in August of this year. The Mašín brothers were part of a resistance group which fought its way out of communist Czechoslovakia in the hard-line 1950s. They killed several people on their way out, at least one of them pacified and unarmed, which is why their escape divides society to this day. Some brand them assassins, while others consider them heroes. Several people have reportedly filed charges against the defence minister saying that in decorating the Mašín brothers he had in fact approved and rewarded cold-blooded murder.  

From the Archives“Business as usual” after the 1948 coup

22-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Baťa shoe factory, photo: Czech Television In the immediate aftermath of the political coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the communists were keen to give the world the impression that it was business as usual and that nothing out of the ordinary had happened. In this respect Radio Prague as the international service of Czechoslovak Radio was expected to play its part, and so the communists asked the handful of British nationals working for one of Czechoslovakia’s biggest companies to make a statement in English for the radio. As a result one of the British staff of the shoe-making giant Baťa, which had already been nationalized more than two years earlier, addressed Radio Prague’s listeners on March 1 1948, exactly a week after the communist coup:  More

From the ArchivesFebruary 1948: a new political order enters by the back door

15-10-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Klement Gottwald In last week’s programme we heard about the Communist-led government that emerged from Czechoslovakia’s elections in May 1946. Although the number of parties allowed to take part had been limited, Czechoslovakia was still a multi-party democracy. But the governing coalition was an uneasy one, with the non-communist parties pushed into ever greater isolation, while the communists, with the weight of the Soviet Union behind them, gained an ever stronger foothold.  More

NewsCommunists commemorate Mašín victim

28-09-2011 21:30 | Christian Falvey

More than a hundred people gathered in the town of Čelákovice near Prague on Wednesday to commemorate Jaroslav Honzátko, a communist police officer who was killed by the Mašín brothers 60 years ago. Speakers at the event, which was organised by the Communist party, referred to the killing as a brutal murder and a terrorist act. The anti-communist resistance activities of the Mašín group have always sharply divided Czech society. The killing of Honzátko is their most divisive act, as the officer was unarmed and chloroformed when they slit his throat during a raid on a police station to obtain weapons. Ctirad Mašín, who killed him, died last month in the United States.  

NewsNečas defends award for Mašín

22-09-2011 21:03 | Christian Falvey

Prime Minister Nečas on Thursday defended the decision to award the late Ctirad Mašín with a distinction. Mr Nečas was responding to a Communist Party MP who wondered why the resistance fighter, who killed several people in escaping from communist Czechoslovakia would be awarded a distinction intended for “developing the defence and security of the Czech Republic”. The prime minister cited the act on the illegality of the communist regime and said that acts against it were morally justified and deserving of respect. Mr Nečas said the Mašíns’ attacks on a police station and vehicle were logical steps, as an effective fight requires guns and money.  

Czech HistoryDetective Karel Kalivoda – the Maigret of Prague

20-09-2011 15:06 | Jan Richter

In this edition of Czech History, we look at the life of Karel Kalivoda, one of the most successful and famous Czech police detectives of the 20th century. A self-made man in principle, Karel Kalivoda worked his way up from ordinary rank and file to the head of Prague’s criminal police. He made a number of compromises to get there – but he always retained a degree of integrity unusual for the time and place.  More

Current AffairsActress and communist apologist Jiřina Švorcová dies

09-08-2011 15:29 | Jan Richter

Jiřina Švorcová, photo: CTK The actress and obstinate apologist of the communist regime Jiřina Švorcová died on Monday at the age of 84. Her career in theatre, film and television spanned more than four decades. But most Czechs will remember her as a bizarre figure who never renounced her support of communism, not even after the fall of the totalitarian regime.  More

One on OneJaromíra Kostlánová – still working as a tour guide at the age of 92

18-07-2011 13:39 | Ian Willoughby

Jaromíra Kostlánová Though 92 years of age, Jaromíra Kostlánová is still working as a tour guide, introducing the sights of Prague to visitors from around the world. If that were not remarkable enough, the good-humoured nonagenarian is also one of the oldest students in the Czech Republic.  More

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