The Constitutional Court on Thursday backed the claims of a Nazi concentration camp survivor to reclaim his parent’s home at Mimoň in the north of Bohemia. The court said that although the deadline for reclaiming property had past, the claim should be allowed and that lower court’s refusal to do so were formalistic. The claimant is the sole survivor of his family in spite of four years in Nazi camps. The family home was first confiscated as Jewish property by the Nazi regime and then by the Czechoslovak authorities after the war as German property,. The man said he only found out that his family owned the property, now a police station, during searches of archives for scant details about his family’s past.
Investigators charged three former members of the Communist-era secret police, the StB, for their role in intimidating or using violence against former Czechoslovak dissidents under Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Among those charged are former officers. All three suspects were investigated in the past; the current charges are based on new evidence.
Several dozen people took part in an event commemorating the victims of the communist regime in the hard-line 1950s in the town of Jihlava on Sunday. Eleven people sentenced to death in political trials were executed in the courtyard of the local jailhouse between 1950 and 1952, hundreds of others were jailed and thousands of families suffered at the hands of the regime. The event was organized by Jihlava City Hall, the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters and the Confederation of Political Prisoners.
Struck as a PhD student by the philosophical language used by Václav Havel in his famous 1990 speech to the US Congress, Aviezer Tucker went on to write The Philosophy and Politics of Czech Dissidence from Patočka to Havel. More recently Tucker, whose wife is Czech, has turned his attention to what really happened when communism fell at the end of the 1980s. We discussed his latest book The Legacies of Totalitarianism – and his call for a new kind of dissident today – when the Israeli-born political philosopher visited our studios recently. But
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobradek have paid homage on behalf of the government to the victims of Communism. Bělobradek, the leader of the Christian Democrats, laid a wreath at a memorial in Prague 5 district. Monday is the 66th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horáková, the woman member of parliament found guilty in a show trial in 1950 staged by the Communist regime. The death penalty was carried out in spite of last minutes pleas for clemency from the likes of Albert Einstein and the Pope. A series of commemorative events were scheduled in the Czech capital and across the country.
An event commemorating Milada Horáková and other victims of the Communist regime is being held in Prague on Monday, which is the anniversary of her execution following a show trial in 1950. The public are being invited to light candles at the gathering at Kampa Museum at 20:30. Other memorial events are also being held on Monday, including at Pankrác prison, where politician Milada Horáková became the only women put to death by the Communists.
The Dancing House Gallery in Prague has just opened an exhibition called Retro of the 70s and 80s, depicting the way of life of the common people and the communist elite in the last two decades of communism. The exhibition is extremely realistic – giving visitors a powerful throwback as they walk into the typical 70’s living room, shop or holiday scene. I went along and was given a tour by one of the organizers, Nikola Lörinczová.
Today it is easy to forget that Prague’s Letná Park overlooking the city once served as a pedestal to the largest statue in the world of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Derisively referred to as ‘fronta na maso’ (queue for meat), the massive granite work featured the marshal followed by a line of anonymous ‘heroes of the proletariat’. Prague was freed of the sculptural monstrosity in 1962; now, thanks to a film crew shooting the story of sculptor Otakar Švec, Stalin will temporarily return.
Last Saturday Trabant fans from around the country descended on Prague’s Motol district, in the western suburbs of the city, for the opening of the one-and-only Trabant Museum in the Czech Republic. The small two-cylinder vehicle born in communist East-Germany as an affordable car for the masses was neither affordable, nor easily accessible, but somehow or other the smoke-belching, sluggish Trabi has won many people’s hearts and still has fan clubs around the world.
A commemorative ceremony for victims of the communist regime took place at Motol cemetery in Prague on Saturday. The event, organised by the Confederation of Former Political Prisoners, was attended by the Minister of Culture Daniel Herman and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová, who laid wreathes at the memorial to the victims of communism. Motol cemetery was one of the places where those who died at the hands of the communists were secretly buried in mass graves. The existence of the mass grave was only discovered after the fall of communism.
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