Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi was born in Prague in 1932. As a member of the German-speaking minority in Czechoslovakia, she and her family were forced to flee the country at the end of the Second World War. She later settled in Vienna, where she became a journalist and author – ever with an eye on events happening in her old homeland. I joined Barbara at her home in Vienna to discuss her life and work.
Martina Formanová, the wife of the famous Czech director Miloš Forman, was recently in Prague to launch an audio version of her novel, called Případ Pavlína, or Case Pavlína. The book, which was released a few years ago, tells the story of the Czech-born 1980’s super model Pavlína Pořízková and her family’s dramatic escape from Communist Czechoslovakia.
Czechs abroad will start voting in the country’s general elections on
Thursday. Due to the time shift polling stations in some countries will
open a day ahead of voting in the Czech Republic.
The first to cast their ballot will be voters in Brazil and Argentina, followed by those in Cuba, the United States and Canada. 108 polling stations will open around the world, mostly at Czech embassies and consulates but also at military bases where Czech soldiers are serving on foreign missions.
Some 10,000 Czechs voted in the last general elections four years ago.
In the Czech Republic voting is due to begin at 2pm on Friday and will end at 2pm on Saturday. Preliminary results are expected in the early evening.
Elections to the lower house of Parliament will start a day early in some
polling stations abroad in order to make up for the time difference, the
ctk news agency reported.
The first voters will be able to cast their ballot on Thursday, October 19, in Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, the US and Canada. People will be able to vote at 108 polling stations abroad, mostly at embassies, cultural institutions or military army bases where Czech soldiers are serving in foreign missions.
Polling stations around the Czech Republic will close at 2pm on Saturday and the preliminary results should be announced a few hours later.
Czechs abroad have always been an integral part of the nation’s identity, but in the years of communism this bond was broken. The cultural and political life of Czech emigrés and exiles, especially in the West, came to be seen as a threat. Nearly three decades after the fall of communism, something of this suspicion still remains, and in the Czech Republic it is surprising how little we know about the Czech diaspora and their contribution both to their host countries and to the idea of what it means to be Czech. The historian and political scientist
United Moravian Societies, a non-profit organization established in 1939, helps expats in the United States connect with their roots and stay in touch with their culture. The annual Moravian Day Festival in Lemont is a highly anticipated annual event that brings together expats from Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia for two days of singing, dancing, good food and merrymaking. I spoke to Roman Bobčík, president of United Moravian Societies, about what is in store for visitors this year and began by asking when the festival was first held.
Ethnic Czechs from the western Ukrainian province of Volhynia celebrate 70 years since the return to their homeland. On Saturday, a plaque marking the post-war events in the border areas was unveiled at a train station in Žatec, the final station of the first transport which took place in February 1947. On Sunday, a commemorative ceremony will take place in Český Malín, a village founded by Czech immigrants in 1871 in what is today Ukraine. The village was burnt to the ground by the Nazis during WWII and most of its inhabitants were murdered.
Barbora Pokorná and Lukáš Nápravník are two young Czechs who found their second home in New Zealand. The couple has been running a website called Czech Kiwis, where they share their knowledge about the country and provide all sorts of services for Czechs who want to travel, work or study there. I met with Lukáš and Bára during their recent visit to Prague and I started by asking them about their very first visit to New Zealand:
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