Czechoslovakia was one of the few states in Europe between the wars with a genuine parliamentary democracy. The First Republic, as it became known, was a multiethnic one: apart from Czechs and Slovaks, nearly a quarter of its people were ethnic Germans; the Tesin region in the north had a large Polish minority, while South Slovakia and Ruthenia were home to some three-quarters of a million Hungarians. Up until the Munich Pact of 1938 and subsequent Nazi occupation, Czechoslovakia was a magnet for refugees from Hitler's Germany, communist Russia,
The Kinskys are one of the oldest Czech noble families, with the first recorded mention of their name in the 13th century. But today Franz-Ulrich Kinsky is a figure of controversy in the Czech Republic, where he has filed over 150 lawsuits against the state and individuals; he is seeking the return of more than 1.4 billion dollars worth of property he says was illegally confiscated after World War II.
A handful of people gathered on Monday at Prague's Vinohrady Cemetery to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Czechoslovakia's third President, Emil Hacha. It was an event that wasn't marked with pomp and ceremony: Emil Hacha remained in office throughout the German wartime occupation, and he is remembered by many as a symbol of wartime collaboration. David Vaughan reports.
We don't usually use archive recordings for Witness, but today we'll make an exception. This year is the 65th anniversary of the tragic day in March 1939, when German troops marched into Prague, beginning six years of Nazi occupation. At the time, Franta Kocourek was one of Czechoslovak Radio's star reporters. Four days after Bohemia and Moravia had been declared a "Protectorate of the German Reich", he reported live on the huge military parade that the Germans had organized on Prague's Wenceslas Square. He made no attempt to conceal his sense