Today in Mailbox: Listener’s response to Radio Prague’s recent programmes; special broadcast planned for Czech Radio’s 90th birthday and special commemorative QSL card; monthly listeners’ quiz. Listeners/readers quoted: Jayanta Chakrabarty, Stephen Hrebenach, Paul R Peacock, Krzysztof Borski, Helena Borska, Mary Lou Krenek.
Hello and welcome to Mailbox. First of all I have an important message for all radio enthusiasts. As our regular listeners will know, Czech Radio is celebrating its 90th birthday on May 18th. Radio Prague will air a special broadcast on that day and there is a special commemorative QSL card for all of those who listen to Radio Prague on that day and send us a reception report – no matter how you listen to the broadcast.
Now, let’s hear some of your feedback. Our regular listener from India, Jayanta Chakrabarty, responds to Radio Prague’s coverage of a recent accident in the centre of Prague:
“It is disheartening to hear the news about the unfortunate devastating explosion near the National Theatre in Prague on 29 April 2013 which caused injuries to about 40 people and loss of property. We pray that those who are in critical condition may soon recover. Our sympathy goes out to the brave and peace-loving citizens of Prague.”
Thank you very much for your concern. The situation in the street is gradually returning to normal. All those injured are reported to be recovering successfully but material damage is likely to be larger than previously estimated.
This is an e-mail from Stephen Hrebenach from Ohio:
“I just wanted to write a quick note about this weekend's programming, which I just finished listening to. For my interest, it was an outstanding weekend. I liked hearing about how the most recent Vietnamese generation is making its way in your country. It must be very different in a more homogeneous society, compared to the United States, and yet there are no doubt some similarities in some of the obstacles that they face. I really liked Glen Emery' My Prague. He has an interesting perspective on the city that provided me even more reasons for wanting to return someday, hopefully sooner rather than later. Then to be capped off with Dan Bárta's vocal magic on Sunday was so enjoyable.
“Also on a more general note, I have been meaning to let you know that I am happy for the return of Letter from Prague. It provides some unique, and sometimes personal, insights beyond the regular news stories.”
Thank you very much for all your Facebook comments, reception reports and e-mail messages. Now onto our monthly quiz:
This is how Paul R Peacock from Australia answered last month’s question:
“Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi was born on November 16th 1894. His father, Heinrich Coudenhove-Kalergi married Mitso Aoyama who was the daughter of an antiques dealer and oil tycoon in Japan. She was one of the first Japanese people to emigrate to Europe. They had 7 children altogether and Richard (the second son) was born in Tokyo.
“He was still a student when he married a divorcee and popular actress Ida Roland,13 years his senior, with whom he had two sons. She died in 1951 and the following year he married Alexandra Grafin von Tiele. In 1969 he married again, this time to Austrian Jewess Melanie Benatsky Hoffman.
“He was a pioneer of European integration writing the ‘Pan-Europa’ manifesto in 1923, his first book. He was effectively trying to create a United States of Europe through the integration of the states in social, cultural, political, industrial, legal and economic areas.
“After the annexation of Austria in 1938 he fled to Czechoslovakia and then France and in 1940 escaped to the United States returning to France in 1945. In 1950 he received the first annual Charlemagne Award to people who had contributed to the European idea and peace. He died on 27 July 1972 and is buried at Gruben, near Gstaad.”
“You asked about Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi, an Austrian politician, philosopher and geopolitician, who was especially devoted, during all his life, to the idea of European integration. He founded and was the President, for almost a half century, of the Paneuropean Union. In 1955 he proposed the Beethoven's Ode to Joy from Symphony No. 9 as the European Anthem. After 16 years, in 1971, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to propose adopting the prelude of the Ode as the European Anthem and the proposal of Count Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi finally was accepted!”
Helena Borska also from Poland wrote:
“The person about whom you asked in April's Mailbox, was the brilliant pioneer of pan-Europeanism, the Austro-Hungarian Count Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi. In 1943 he was a professor at New York University. The character Victor Laszlo in the film Casablanca was based on him. The Count, whom Hitler loathed as ‘everybody’s bastard,’ had been admired by Archduke Otto von Habsburg, Aristide Briand, Albert Einstein, Horace Mann, Sigmund Freud, and later by Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle; he was an anti-Nazi and foe of anti-Semitism (like his father, who annually walked out of Good Friday services at the mention of the ‘perfidious Jews’).”
Mary Lou Krenek from Texas sent us this answer:
“He was born in Tokyo to an Austro-Hungarian diplomat and a Japanese mother in 1894. He was not only of mixed European origin but multi-racial as well. In his book later in life, ‘Practical Idealism,’ he gave his views on the man of the future. He believed the man of the future will be of mixed race. In his youth, he was anti-Semite, but later changed his views in defense of Jews in his adult life.
“Coudenhove-Kalergi received his doctorate in 1917 from the University of Vienna. While a student, he married the famous Viennese actress Ida Roland in April 1915. Marrying a divorcee thirteen years his senior and a commoner caused a rift in his family.
“He was founder of the first movement for the United States of Europe or European integration. He was founder and President for 49 years of the Paneuropean Union. He wrote his famous work ‘Pan-Europa’ in 1923. He attempted to enlist prominent Europeans and Americans to his Pan-European cause without much success. He is a visionary of the modern European Union.”
And Jayanta Chakrabarty from India writes:
“Richard Nicolaus Coudenhove Kalergi spent his youth in Poběžovice in west Bohemia. Perhaps this Czech ambience played a major role in shaping young Richard into a strong personality – physically, mentally and morally. This idealistic man of Austrian-Japanese descent is considered to be the father of modern European Union, even suggesting Beethoven's hymn as EU's national anthem and its logo of 12 stars symbolizing the 12 Jewish tribes. Richard Kalergi was a count, politician, geopolitician and a philosopher rolled into one. He fought for an ethnically heterogeneous Europe based on integrity of culture rather than a racial community. Thus the first grassroots movement for European unity was the brainchild of this great personality.”
Thank you very much for your well-researched answers and this time our prize goes to Helena Borska from Poland. Congratulations and here’s another chance for all those who have not been lucky this time.
In May we are looking for the name of the Czech Art Nouveau painter and graphic artist, born in 1860, perhaps best-known for his posters including one featuring the French actress Sarah Bernhardt.
Please send us your answers by May 29 to firstname.lastname@example.org. That is also the address for your comments, questions and reception reports. Make sure not to miss our special broadcast on the occasion of Czech Radio’s 90th anniversary on May 18th. Thanks for listening today and until next time, take care.