Former minister of justice and current government commissioner for human
rights, Helena Válková, defended laws against dissidents during the
Communist regime, the news site info.cz reported on Thursday.
At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, Mrs Válková published a series of articles in which she defended measures used by the Communist regime to restrict the rights of its opponents, the website writes.
It also says she collaborated on writing one of her articles with the state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.
Mrs Válková, whom President Miloš Zeman recently proposed for the post of the Czech Republic’s ombudswoman, denied any wrongdoing, saying the article was insulting and untruthful.
People in Prague on Tuesday paid their last respects to Miloslava
Kalibová, among the last survivors of the Lidice massacre, who died in
late December at the age of 96. Her funeral took place at Prague’s Motol
As a 19-year-old, she witnessed her father and other innocent male villagers be executed by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich.
She later spent almost three years with her mother and sister in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Throughout her life, Kalibová had worked tirelessly to bear witness of the atrocities of the Holocaust, sharing her experience in lectures and debates.
In this programme, the eighth in our series mapping this country’s history through the radio archives, we start with the dramatic events of the last days of the war in Prague. The radio played a major role in the Prague Uprising, and through the archives we can map how the city liberated itself from the German occupiers. In the two years that follow, the radio archives give us a picture of a Czechoslovakia returning to some kind of normality, but in February 1948 everything changes. We tell the story as it was heard on the airwaves.
In the first of this series we heard the voice of Czechoslovakia’s first President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. His wife Charlotte was American, and thanks to her influence Tomáš became a champion of feminism. Charlotte went on to inspire many women both within Czechoslovakia and beyond and in this programme we hear some of them, speaking in their own words from the Czech Radio archive.
Today it is exactly 77 years since units of the German Security Police liquidated the Central Bohemian village of Lidice in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. While far from the only example of such cruelty during the war, Lidice became famous around the world. In part due to its symbolic value as a place of tragedy, but also hope.
June 10 marks the 77th anniversary of the destruction of the central
Bohemian village Lidice by the Nazis, in what was one of the worst
atrocities in the country’s history.
The village was razed to the ground and its 300 inhabitants, including women and children, were killed as part of reprisals for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Hedyrich.
The village of Ležáky in Eastern Bohemia suffered a similar fate just a fortnight later.
A commemorative ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the Lidice tragedy has been scheduled for June 15 at the Lidice memorial.
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.
Until recently Zdeněk Toman was an obscure name to many Czechs. However, his incredible story has now reached a broad audience thanks to an eponymous film about him that was released last autumn. Just this week Toman was nominated for 13 prizes at the upcoming annual Czech Lion awards. I spoke to Martin Šmok, the man who originally discovered his extraordinary story.
The Czech National Archive has taken possession of recently discovered film
and audio recordings of the 1950s show trial of Rudolf Slánský and
others. Since being found the materials had been looked after by the
National Film Archive. The NFA comes under the Ministry of Culture, which
had promised to apply for government funding for their care.
A spokesperson for the National Archive (which comes under the Ministry of the Interior) said however that it should oversee the recordings under Czech law.
The valuable materials were uncovered by chance by insolvency administrators at a factory in Central Bohemia.
Hundreds of people including several senior Czech politicians attended a
ceremony at the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in central Prague on
Monday commemorating the heroes of Operation Anthropoid.
New plaques were unveiled in the pavement by the church honouring Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who assassinated Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich, and other resistance men who met their deaths there 76 years ago this year.
Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček said the killing of Heydrich had been one of the most important acts of resistance in Europe and was certainly the most important on Czech territory. He said the men had laid down their lives for their nation’s freedom and deserved to be respected and remembered.