Czech and Slovak researchers have received a wealth of documents from the Russian authorities about the fates of thousands of Czechoslovak citizens imprisoned within the Soviet Union during and after the Second World War. The access only pertains to military archives, and involves around 38,000 Czechoslovak soldiers fighting on behalf of Nazi Germany – mostly ethnic Germans, Slovaks and Hungarians. I spoke with Adam Hradilek of Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, which received a copy of the documents this week, and began by asking
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience has said it has lodged
criminal cases against the last leading members of the Czechoslovak
communist party for crimes with the Brno-based Supreme Court.
The cases are based on the deaths of 28 people of various nationalities on the borders with the then West Germany and Austria before the end of the communist regime in 1989.
Among those targeted in the proceedings are the former communist party general secretary Miloš Jakeš and former interior minister and prime minister Lubomír Strougal.
Prague city councilors on Friday opened four time capsules that workers
uncovered during the ongoing reconstruction of Prague City Hall Tower.
The time capsules dated back to 1949 and 1984, the years of previous reconstructions. Both contained documents of the times, reflecting the communist philosophy but also things that someone had slipped in unnoticed by the authorities –such as a letter in Latin containing the names of presidents Edvard Beneš and T.G. Masaryk.
The second capsule from 1984 contained banknotes, coins, a newspaper and a letter from three masons who complained about an increase in the price of beer but said that since the hostilities between East and West could lead to a third world war they would drink beer while they could, no matter the price.
The Civil Rights Movement in the United States sent ripples around the world, not least in the Soviet Union and its satellites. In Czechoslovakia, events were followed closely, as the struggle for the rights of African Americans became a weapon in the ideological battles between East and West. Czech Radio’s archives house several recordings of Civil Rights activists, who visited Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989 or were interviewed at home in the United States. One was the singer, actor and activist Paul Robeson, who came to this country several
Under Communism, being gay or lesbian was essentially taboo and many still preferred to live with the secret rather than come out. In this second part of a story begun on August 17, Jana Kociánová describes how her secret was eventually uncovered. How, an artistic environment in Prague allowed some room to be who she really was and how that forced her to be open about her sexuality although the era of so-called ‘normalisation’ was did not encourage those who stepped out of line.
President Zeman’s nomination of Karel Srp to a board overseeing the country’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes hit a hurdle on Tuesday. Srp, a former dissident who headed the so-called Jazz Section in communist Czechoslovakia, was rejected by the Senate’s Commission on Election. It stressed that the nominee had been a member of Czechoslovakia’s communist party, which was disqualifying.
The police have charged three former members of the Communist era secret police, the StB, for their role in Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Sixteen former members of the secret police have stood trial and been convicted for intimidating or using violence against dissidents, but the main organizer of the campaign, Jaromír Obzina died before he could be tried.
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