According to the Czech Foreign Ministry there are now more than two million Czechs living abroad. The people making up the country’s expat communities in different parts of the world include those who fled the communist regime in several waves during the 20th century or those who escaped the Nazi threat. Some married abroad or used the opportunity to live and work abroad with the return of democracy close to 30 years ago. I spoke to the government’s special commissioner for expats Jiří Krátký about the process of renewing broken ties after 1989,
A small community of Czechs have been living in the Banat region of south-western Romania for almost two hundred years. In many ways the area looks like the Czech lands would have looked a century ago, with most of the work still done by hand. Alena Gecse, a local school teacher has co-authored a book for school children about the Czech minority in Romania. She told Radio Prague how the first wave of immigration began.
In today's special programme we meet Joyce Pritchard, an American woman who recently went back to her roots, when she visited the isolated Czech villages in Romania from which her great-grandparents emigrated a century ago. She and 14 other Americans of Czech-Romanian descent met long-lost relatives and experienced old Czech customs in a region somewhat left behind by the modern world. It was, says Joyce Pritchard, the trip of a lifetime.