A new memorial marking a postwar massacre of Carpathian Germans was
unveiled on Sunday afternoon on the Švédské šance hill near the
Moravian town of Přerov.
Shortly after the end of WWII, in June 1945, Czechoslovak soldiers shot more than 260 Carpathian Germans on the site, most of them women and children. The event is considered one of the worst acts of revenge taken on German-speaking inhabitants in postwar Czechoslovakia.
The monument, a four meter high wrought-iron cross, was created by artisan blacksmith Jiří Jurda.
For the third year now, the Moravian capital Brno is hosting an international event that brings together representatives of various nationalities, cultures and faiths. The festival titled Meeting Brno features discussions, exhibitions, concerts, walks, screenings and much more, in an effort to prove that the city whose multicultural history was severed by the horrors and aftermaths of WWII is embracing its past and looking forward into the future.
Within this year’s Meeting Brno festival people will be invited to vote
on which woman from Czech history would most deserve to have a statue
erected in her memory in the Brno metropolis.
The festival organizers want to draw attention to the fact that the vast majority of statues in town honour male politicians, scientists or writers. On the list of female candidates are Queen Eliška Rejčka, who founded a hospital in Brno, Franciscan nun Maria Restituta, who was executed by the Nazis or one of the most popular Czech female composers Vítězslava Kaprálová.
Meeting Brno takes place every year in late May and offers a platform for people of different views, cultures and religions to meet and address various isues. The festival include public readings, theater and music performances, visual arts and discussion forums.
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.
It is entirely up to the Czech Republic whether it will see fit to scrap
the post-war Benes decrees, the head of the Sudeten German Homeland
Association (Sudeten German Landsmannschaft ), Berndt Posselt said on
Friday on the eve of the association’s annual meeting. Mr. Posselt said
that he personally hoped to see the decrees scrapped one day. The said
decrees sanctioned the expulsion of Sudeten Germans and Hungarians from
Czechoslovakia after World War II and the confiscation of their property.
The leader of the Czech Christian Democratic Party, Pavel Bělobrádek, will attend the meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft together with Culture Minister Daniel Herman. MPs from the Communist Party have criticized the decision describing it as a “provocation” at a time when Czechs will be marking the anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the atrocities that followed.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of WW II, I speak with well-known historian Matěj Spurný about the Sudeten Germans whose future in post-war Czechoslovakia was sealed when many lined up with Nazi Germany ahead of the Munich Agreement. Most of the ethnic German population was forced to leave – spelling the end of what had been a largely peaceful coexistence going all the way back to the 13th century.
At the start of this year historian Matěj Spurný came in for a great deal of online abuse – and even death threats – after an interview he gave a magazine headlined This country is not just for Czechs. Spurný’s work is focused on issues of nationalism and identity and he is a co-founder of Antikomplex, a group advocating for a more critical look at the post-war expulsion of the country’s German minority. When the Charles University academic visited our studios I was curious to know, given his specialisation, about his own family background.
Researchers at the Brno-based Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) say they have identified the structure of several viruses that affect bees and can now determine how the infection takes place. The worldwide breakthrough follows around two years of research at the unit of Masaryk University. The research gives some hope that a cure for some bee viruses could now be within reach. Bee populations across the world have plummeted in recent years with around 25 viruses that threaten them pinpointed by scientists.