Thanks to a unique sound recording acquired by Czech Radio, the state attorney’s office has ordered a new investigation into the death of foreign minister Jan Masaryk, son of the country’s first president T.G. Masaryk, in February 1948. His great niece Charlotta Kotik has welcomed the news and is hoping to help the investigation.
The Prague Municipal Court on Wednesday rehabilitated the late General
Milan Píka over his unjustified imprisonment by the Communist regime in
the late 1940s. The judge said it was the only possible response to the
wrongs committed against him by the regime.
Milan Píka was jailed in 1948 for allegedly plotting to break his father, General Heliodor Píka, out of prison. In 1949 war hero Heliodor Píka became the first victim of judicial murder during Czechoslovakia’s Communist show trials.
Milan Píka died earlier this year and the case to clear his name was taken by his daughter Dagmar Sedláčková.
Czechoslovak citizens executed in the Soviet Union in the 1930s were
remembered at a ceremony in Prague on Tuesday evening. The event took place
at a monument to the victims of the Communist regime in the Újezd
The names of 85 Czechs and Slovaks put to death in the USSR were read out by representatives of the associations that organised it and others. Similar memorials were held elsewhere in Europe on the eve of Russia’s Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions on October 30.
This November Czechs will be marking 30 years since the Velvet Revolution ended totalitarian rule and re-established democracy. However, according to a newly published survey, attitudes towards the change in the system vary significantly among the public, with many of the lesser educated harbouring nostalgia for the old regime.
The Náchod district court has ruled that Pavel Wonka, believed to be the
last Czech political prisoner to have died in prison under Communism, had
been illegally incarcerated.
His brother had filed a lawsuit to have him ‘rehabilitated’ and can now claim damages from the state over the unjustified imprisonment.
Following the verdict on Wednesday, Jiří Wonka told reporters that it was a moral victory and that he had not filed the lawsuit to get compensation.
Pavel Wonka was imprisoned in April 1988 for several weeks and died under unclear circumstances. He had initially been released due to bad health, but a judge sent him back to prison for another five months.
Wonka was posthumously awarded the Medal of Merit in 2013.
The former political regime in Czechoslovakia deemed much of Western culture “damaging” and “ideologically subversive”, but authorities struggled in particular to control the flood of foreign rock ’n’ roll and pop music. State cultural agencies and censors rarely allowed Western bands to perform here or even play their music on the airwaves. But unofficial channels filled the demand – through illegal imports, home-copying networks and ‘magnetizdat’ – do-it-yourself music. At the same time, state authorities sanctioned Western music when sung by Czech
The renowned Czech actress and Charter 77 signatory Vlasta Chramostová has
died at the age of 92. Chramostová appeared in the classic 1969 film The
Cremator, the 1990s movie Sekal Has to Die and in Václav Havel’s film
adaptation of his own play Leaving, among other screen roles. The news of
her death was announced on Sunday by the Czech National Theatre, where she
was a member of the cast for many years.
Vlasta Chramostová was banned from appearing on screen, on TV or on radio following her rejection of the Soviet occupation that began in August 1968. After some short theatre engagements she was restricted to acting in underground productions, often in private apartments, until the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
Chramostová was active in the anti-Communist dissent and samizdat publication and was an early signatory of the Charter 77 protest document. In early 1989 she was convicted over her opposition activities.
She said that she had lived three lives: an acting life, a dissident life and a time of returns.
In 1998 President Václav Havel bestowed the Order of T.G. Masaryk on the acting legend for her contribution to human rights and democracy.
The vast majority of Czechs who remember the communist days, say they would
never again queue up to buy goods, according to a poll conducted by the
agency STEM/MARK in connection with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the
fall of communism.
Cues were a regular part of daily life in the communist days, and people stood in line for hours to get goods in short supply or even overnight to buy a colour TV or a car.
Seventy-two percent of respondents over 60 said they would no longer be willing to stand in line more than a few minutes for any kind of goods.
A poll conducted among respondents born after 1989 revealed that only 41 percent of respondents felt so strongly about standing in line. The majority of young people said they could image doing so for something they wanted badly.
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