Historians rarely publish comic books, but Martin Nekola is an exception. In cooperation with illustrator Jakub Dušek he has just published a comic book about the fate of Czechs who were forced to flee from their homeland after the 1948 communist coup and who found themselves in a foreign country, torn from their friends and family, having to start anew without a home, job or any kind of security. The comic book, which came out in Czech two weeks ago, is called Do švestek jsme doma or “We’ll be home by the time the plums ripen”, reflecting emigres
Jana Reichová left Czechoslovakia just weeks after the country’s invasion by Soviet-led troops in 1968 and started a new life in Sydney together with her husband and son. Soon after her arrival in Australia she became involved in work for the Czech and Slovak community. Among other things, she contributed to Czech broadcasts at SBS radio popularising works by exiled authors. Last week, Mrs Reichová received the Gratias Agit Award from the Czech Foreign Ministry for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.
The Czech expatriate community in the Australian city of Brisbane only counts several hundred people, but they have always been very active in maintaining the Czech language and culture for future generations. One of the members of the local expat community is Lenka TeWhiu, who settled in Brisbane more than fifteen years ago. I caught up with her during her recent visit to Prague to talk about her life in Australia and about her work for a local radio station. But I first asked her how she herself ended up living in Australia:
The 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia radically changed people’s lives overnight. Those who refused to accept that change risked their lives to flee the country, leaving behind their families, their home and everything dear to them. One of those who went in search of a better life in the free world was Karel Ulvr – a teenager who ostensibly left home for school but instead undertook a daring flight across the Czech-German border. This week he visited Radio Prague’s studio and talked about a decision that changed his life.
As we informed you yesterday, a biannual event is underway for Czechs living abroad to discuss, among other things, their attempts to keep Czech culture alive in their adopted countries. Today our reporter Christian Falvey went back to the Conference for Czech Compatriots and Culture to talk with some of the guests about their leaving Czechoslovakia and their work to sustain their Czech culture abroad.
A two-day conference for Czech expatriates has just come to a close in Prague. The event attracted dozens of Czechs who left their homeland for a range of different reasons. Some were forced out by an unsympathetic regime, others sought better living conditions abroad, some fell in love. The meeting gave expatriates a chance to share their experiences, as well as defend their interests.