On Wednesday, Prague’s statue depicting Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev was covered in red paint by unnamed vandals. The monument has been similarly abused many times before. However, this time the local district authorities, who have been trying to move the statue to the Russian Embassy, say they will not clean up the damage until the embassy “starts constructive discussions”.
Communist Party chairman Vojtěch Filip has criticised the participation of
the Czech ambassador to Berlin in a meeting of the Sudeten German Homeland
Association last month, accusing Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček of
trying to demolish the Beneš decrees.
Mr. Filip said the Sudeten German group could not be a partner of the government and that he had never felt such disgust at a Czech foreign minister.
For his part, Mr. Petříček said nobody had questioned the Beneš decrees. He said Mr. Filip was acting like a parasite toward the past and what’s more was doing so a month late.
The Beneš decrees sanctioned the expulsion of Czechoslovakia’s German minority and the confiscation of their property after WWII.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, will attend events in Russia next May
marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. He was invited to
the take part by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose advisor Yuri
Ushakov visited the Czech head of state on Monday.
Mr. Zeman participated in celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Moscow in 2015 and has taken part in similar events at the Russian Embassy in Prague.
Russia marks the end of the war on May 9, a day later than Western European countries. The Czechs previously followed the Russian model but later switched to May 8.
President Miloš Zeman marked the anniversary of the end of World War II
with a wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday at the National Monument on
Vítkov hill in Prague attended by Czech veterans.
Among the state officials and politicians in attendance were Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, along with military figures such as Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar and Chief of General Staff Aleš Opata.
A pair of Gripen fighter jets flew over Vítkov ahead of the ceremony. The commemorative act was followed by a minute of silence for the fallen.
Paris, Lviv and Prague, over a thousand miles apart yet connected by the fact that they all initiated successful uprisings against their German occupiers during World War II. The Czech capital was the last of the three to do so, but the action arguably preserved the city’s beauty and led to a battle the Czech nation, previously starved of an opportunity to fight, needed. On the date famously named by Winston Churchill as Victory in Europe day, we take the opportunity to explore the story behind the Prague Uprising.
Celebrations marking the liberation of Plzeň by General Patton’s Army on May 6th 1945 took place in the West Bohemian city at the weekend. Despite the cold, thousands of people lined the streets of the city to greet the war veterans who rode at the head of the Convoy of Liberty organized in remembrance of the event.
Political leaders as well as members of the public gathered outside Czech
Radio’s Prague headquarter on Sunday to mark the 74th anniversary of the
Prague Uprising against Nazi rule at the end of WWII.
The radio station was the focal point of the uprising and the site of one of the biggest clashes with Nazi forces as citizens came to defend the building against German attempts to retake it.
Around 170 people died defending the radio building and hundreds of others fell at the barricades that went up around Prague. Altogether, over ten thousand people were killed around the country. The commemorative ceremony outside Czech Radio was attended by the Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, members of the Union of Freedom Fighters and others.
In 1946 a secret American operation in Czechoslovakia led to major diplomatic protests. The US authorities had organized a mission aimed at obtaining hidden Nazi documents from a cache in a forest near Prague. However, they had not alerted the Czechoslovak authorities or sought permission – and that led to a real propaganda coup for the country’s pro-Soviet Communist politicians and press.
With the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement coming soon, Tom McEnchroe focused on the Czech side of Munich. Talking to the deputy director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Ondřej Matějka, about what it was like to live in the region that lay at the heart of the conflict, as well as how Munich is remembered in the Czech Republic today.