The Czech Radio building in Prague saw the most intense violence during the Soviet-led invasion of August 21, 1968 and, as every year, hundreds of people marked the anniversary at the station on Thursday. Among them were leading politicians – and one old lady who broadcast news of the occupation to the outside world.
Paris, Lviv and Prague, over a thousand miles apart yet connected by the fact that they all initiated successful uprisings against their German occupiers during World War II. The Czech capital was the last of the three to do so, but the action arguably preserved the city’s beauty and led to a battle the Czech nation, previously starved of an opportunity to fight, needed. On the date famously named by Winston Churchill as Victory in Europe day, we take the opportunity to explore the story behind the Prague Uprising.
Eighty years ago today, on March 15 1939, Hitler gave Czechoslovak President Emil Hácha a stark choice: accept becoming a protectorate or face destruction. After Hácha reluctantly agreed to give up his country’s independence the German army started moving in. It was the beginning of six long years of occupation.
Karel Lánský, who kept independent Czechoslovak Radio on the airwaves for
eight dramatic days after the Soviet led-invasion of Czechoslovakia in
August 1968, has died at the age of 94.
He had ensured broadcasting from secret locations in Prague and ran the operation directly from his flat. He later signed Charter 77 and after 1989, returned to lead the international service of Czechoslovak Radio (Radio Prague).
For his bravery, Mr Lánský was awarded the country’s highest state distinction, the Order of the White Lion, last year, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
As the year draws to a close all of us here at the English department of Radio Prague would like to thank our devoted listeners the world over for their dedication to the station, for being with us and taking the time to drop us a line or write an email to share your views about what you found particularly interesting and what you’d like to hear more of on Radio Prague.
One of Czech Radio’s leading personalities, journalist and commentator
Jan Petránek has died at the age of 86.
Petránek was actively involved in maintaining Czechoslovak Radio’s underground, independent broadcasts in the wake of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was sacked by the management that same year and reinstated after the fall of communism.
In 2015 the Charter 77 signatory received a medal of merit from President Zeman.
Among the recipients of the state awards handed out by President Miloš Zeman on October 28, was Karel Lánský – a legend of Czech Radio broadcasting. For eight dramatic days after the Soviet led-invasion of Czechoslovakia Lánský and his team kept independent Czechoslovak Radio on the airwaves, broadcasting from secret locations in Prague and running the operation from his flat close to the radio’s Vinohrady headquarters.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has criticised the vulgar language used by
President Miloš Zeman in an interview on Czech Radio on Monday. Mr. Babiš
said he understood that the head of state became angry when referring to
the likes of Viktor Kožený, a 1990s financier wanted on an international
arrest warrant, and Zdeněk Bakala, the former owner of mining company OKD.
However, such language was inappropriate, the prime minister said.
The president used one of the strongest Czech expletives in the live interview. Mr. Babiš rarely questions the head of state in public.
An elegant building designed in the post-war functionalist style. Clean lines, strip windows without pillars, a tiled facade and the historical inscription Czechoslovak Radio in the original lettering. This building was the first in the country to be designed specifically for the needs of radio broadcasting. The team of architects led by Karel Tausenau had to meet numerous requirements, especially when it came to acoustics.