The European Citizen's Prize, awarded by the European Parliament for
contributions to the mutual understanding of EU member states, was received
on Friday by representatives of two Czech NGOs: Post Bellum and the Prague
Post Bellum publishes oral history testimonies of witnesses to modern Czech history. The Prague Student Summit, a year-round educational project for over 300 high school and university students from Central Europe, organized by the Association for International Affairs (AMO).
One hundred years ago this October, just before the end of World War I, Czechoslovakia declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While these are basic historical facts you might expect every schoolchild to know, a newly released poll shows that almost 1 in 5 adults cannot name an event from 1918 – and even fewer knew the basic history of more recent decades.
Several now elderly people who were persecuted by the Communist regime were
honoured with the Memory of Nations award at Prague’s National Theatre on
Friday night in one of a number of events marking Struggle for Freedom and
Democracy Day. The award went to former political prisoners František
Suchý, Mária Matejčíková and priest František Lízna, as well as to
Otto Šimko, a Holocaust survivor who was repeatedly persecuted because of
his Jewish origins.
The Memory of Nations award has been presented annually since 2010 by the non-profit organisation Post Bellum, which records and makes accessible interviews with victims of the Nazi and Communist regimes.
The 2017 Prague Pride LGBT festival, a week-long event celebrating sexual diversity, culminated on Saturday with a traditional carnival parade through the city centre. Several thousand people took part in the procession, which set off from Wenceslas Square and ended at Prague’s Letná plain, where a concert is held. Around two hundred people took part in a march in support of the “traditional family” model organized by Christian Democrat opponents of Prague Pride.
Zdeněk Lukeš is one of the country’s best known architects. During the 1990s he was part of Václav Havel’s team revitalising Prague Castle and he still works in its monuments department, while as an author and journalist he has done a great deal to popularise architecture in the Czech Republic. Our tour of “Zdeněk Lukeš’s Prague” is in fact a tour of his Letná, the leafy area he has always called home. We begin with a coffee at Café Alchymista, specifically in the lovely garden in the back.
Tomáš Baldýnský is a well-known TV writer and producer whose most recent work was the hit comedy Kosmo. He has also worked over the years as a newspaper columnist and film critic, among various other activities. Our tour of “Tomáš Baldýnský’s Prague” begins in the city’s Letná district at Club 777, a dingy open-all hours bar with slot machines in the back.
A recent poll commissioned by the Post Bellum organisation which collects 20th century oral history recordings has found that while 86 percent of Czechs believe knowing one’s roots is important, less than a half of the population actually do anything about it. And that’s what the organisation aims to challenge, with a public contest searching for the most captivating personal accounts from the 20th century.
Stories of the victims of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia are set to be released on Monday by the NGO Post Bellum, which has been publishing the testimonies of witnesses to modern Czech history for nearly 15 years. Entitled Stories of Heroes of the 20th century, the book brings more then 30 testimonies which have not been yet available in the audio archive on the NGO`s website. Some of them have already been released as part of the regular Czech Radio show Stories of the 20th Century. The book will be suitable for children from the age of 13.
A freshly released mobile app tells users the stories behind nearby sites linked to 20th century Czech history, as well as allowing them to trace often dramatic events on specially created routes. Entitled Místa Paměti národa (Memory of Nations Sites), the free app is the work of the NGO Post Bellum, which for years has been publishing the testimonies of witnesses to modern Czech history. I spoke to the group’s Jana Háková.