“Hello, hello! Prague, Czechoslovakia calling. Good evening ladies and gentlemen”: Radio Prague welcomes listeners to its English programmes back in 1937. The tone may be a little more formal, but it is not so different from today. Yet much has changed since the troubled times of the later 1930s. Nazi Germany was breathing down Czechoslovakia’s neck and tensions in the mainly German-speaking Sudetenland were rising rapidly. The young British historian Hugh Seton Watson was in Czechoslovakia in September that year, attending an international summer
They fought against the Nazis but were treated as enemies in Czechoslovakia after the war: that is the starting point for “Forgotten Heroes” a travelling exhibition in the Czech Republic mapping the story of ethnic Sudeten Germans who fought against the Nazis. Despite their resistance to Hitler in World War II, many still suffered persecution in Czechoslovakia after the end of the war.
Czech MPs rejected on Wednesday an invitation by Austrian politicians
addressed to the Czech and Slovak parliaments for dialogue over the
post-war decrees issued by Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes. According
to the leaders of Austrian political parties, with the exception of
Austrian Greens, the expulsion and expropriation of Sudeten Germans after
the Second World War was wrong. Miroslav Vlcek, the chairman of the Chamber
of Deputies, said that Czech politicians consider of the Benes decrees a
The presidential decrees were the legal bases for the expulsion of about three million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War.
The new Bavarian Prime Minister Guenther Beckstein called for a dialogue
with the Czech Republic on the post-war Benes decrees in his first address
to representatives of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft in Munich on
Saturday. Mr Beckstein called for the abolition of the decrees saying they
were in contradiction with international law, natural law, human rights
The decrees, issued by former Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, provided for the confiscation of property from collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia. A large part of the deported ethnic Germans then found a new home in Bavaria. Mr Beckstein's predecessor Edmund Stoiber never paid an official visit to the Czech Republic during his 14 years in office.
Police in the German city of Stuttgart are investigating two men accused of taking part in a massacre of Czech citizens at the end of World War II, TV Nova reported. The two are alleged to have been members of the Hitler Youth when they participated in the killing of 63 Czechs in Velke Mezirici, just one day before the war in Europe was officially ended. Both men are now aged 77.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a brief visit to the Czech Republic on Friday to discuss the future of the EU constitution and other issues with Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek and president Vaclav Klaus. The German Chancellor's visit also coincided with the tenth anniversary of the so-called Czech-German Declaration. This document was signed in Prague ten years ago this week and was drafted to help lay the foundation for modern German-Czech relations.
More than sixty years after the end of World War II it can still prove hard to bury hostilities - as well as the remains of soldiers who died in the carnage. In February of this year the remains of some 4,000 WWII German soldiers were found piled up in numbered cardboard boxes at a disused factory in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem. Ever since, the Czech and German authorities have been trying to agree on a final resting place for them.Soon they will be able to make their final journey - to a cemetery in the north-eastern town of
Usually in Czech Books we discuss poetry or prose, but for this week's programme we look at an intriguing book that fits neither category. Instead it is a collection of interviews, coming from a part of the Czech Republic that has gone through huge and sometimes traumatic changes over the last sixty or seventy years. I talk with two people who were very closely involved in the book, Matej Spurny and Ondrej Matejka.
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