Historians from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes have
gained access to several thousand documents from Russian archives relating
to Czech and Slovak soldiers fighting in exile who were interned in Soviet
gulags by the communist regime during WWII.
This is the first time that Moscow has released these sensitive documents for study outside Russian territory. They were acquired by Museum of the Slovak National Uprising which has given Czech historians access to them as well.
According to the head of the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising Stanislav Mičev close to 70,000 Czechs and Slovaks were interned in Russia between 1941 and 1945, among them two generals and 159 lieutenants. Over 4,000 of them never came home.
Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman has announced an important breakthrough in the government’s efforts to secure the buy-out of an offensive pig farm in Lety, South Bohemia located on the site of a former concentration camp where hundreds of Roma died in inhumane conditions in WWII. The company that owns the farm has now agreed to sell it to the state, opening the way for a dignified memorial to the victims to be built on the grounds.
One of the most memorable images of the wartime ghetto in Terezín is of a young girl standing in the middle of a flock of sheep. Taking photographs was strictly forbidden, and it is remarkable that this image and a number of others showing the same incongruously pastoral scene have been preserved. Miraculously, the girl in the pictures also survived, unlike the great majority of the tens of thousands of European Jews who passed through the ghetto between 1942 and 1945. Doris Grozdanovičová went on to have a successful career as a literary editor
Activists from the Czech Republic and abroad met at Lety, South Bohemia, on Saturday, the site of a labour and later concentration camp where Roma were interned and died during WWII. They were aiming to keep pressure on the government to finally remove a pig farm at the site which has been an insult to the victims who suffered or died there and their descendants, for decades.
Hundreds of people attended a memorial ceremony on Sunday on the site of Ležáky, one of the two Czech villages that was razed to the ground by the Nazis 75 years ago. In retaliation for the assassination of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, all of the adults were executed and 11 children sent to the extermination camp. The village was burnt down on June 24th 1942. Among those who attended the ceremony was Jarmila Štulíková-Doležalová, one of the two Ležáky survivors.
June 10 is the anniversary of one of the worst atrocities in modern Czech history. On that day, in retaliation for the killing of governor Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazis slaughtered the inhabitants of Lidice and completely demolished the small village, intending to wipe it off the map for eternity. Today the spot where the original Lidice stood is a deeply sombre, open plain with an adjacent museum. Ahead of the 75th anniversary of the notorious act of barbarism, I visited the head of the Lidice Memorial, Martina Lehmannová. She told me what the village