On the 17th of November 1939, Nazi soldiers executed eight Czech university students and a professor seen as ringleaders of protests against the occupation and deported more than 1,200 of their peers to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The last survivor of that internment, Vojmír Srdečný, died this week, aged 99. He had dedicated his life to working with physically handicapped and warning about the dangers of totalitarianism.
A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a north Bohemian ghetto gets underway this Sunday. Organised by the Eternal Hope foundation and the Terezín Composers’ Institute, the aim is to celebrate the work of brilliant composers whose lives were cut tragically short.
A child survivor of the Holocaust who was interned at Terezin at the tender age of five, Vera Egermayer could be forgiven for wanting to forget the past. Instead, like so many other Holocaust survivors, she has devoted a great deal of her time to sharing her story in order to make sure that the tragic lessons of WWII are kept alive for future generations. When she last spoke to Radio Prague in 2013, from her home in New Zealand, she had a dream: to build a memorial honouring the one and a half million children killed during the Holocaust. That dream
The National Museum in Prague is currently running a special Exhibition called “Knights of the Heaven”. As the name betrays, it is focused on the Czechoslovak pilots who fought in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Located in the newly renovated historical building of the museum, it features a massive array of personal items and uniforms of the fighting men, who dedicated their lives to their country, only to be hunted by the communist regime later on.
Today it is exactly 77 years since units of the German Security Police liquidated the Central Bohemian village of Lidice in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. While far from the only example of such cruelty during the war, Lidice became famous around the world. In part due to its symbolic value as a place of tragedy, but also hope.
June 10 marks the 77th anniversary of the destruction of the central
Bohemian village Lidice by the Nazis, in what was one of the worst
atrocities in the country’s history.
The village was razed to the ground and its 300 inhabitants, including women and children, were killed as part of reprisals for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Hedyrich.
The village of Ležáky in Eastern Bohemia suffered a similar fate just a fortnight later.
A commemorative ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of the Lidice tragedy has been scheduled for June 15 at the Lidice memorial.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš represented the Czech Republic at a ceremony
marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. The D-Day landings
were supported by Czechoslovak pilots from the 310th and 312th Squadron who
operated over France, while Czechoslovak airmen from the 312th Bomber
Squadron were at the time patrolling the English Channel.Seven Czech pilots
were killed in the operation.
Among the heroes of Dunkerque are members of the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Armoured Brigade which, although heavily outnumbered, fought to contain German units within the fortress up until their surrender in May, 1945.
The Czech Republic’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has launched a new project to help teachers in primary and secondary schools make history classes more engaging. Called Obrazy války or Images of War, it focuses on the period of the Second World War and provides teachers with alternative study materials, based on photographs and film clips.
Several hundred people, including war veterans, politicians, foreign
diplomats, church dignitaries and cultural figures gathered at Terezín
National Cemetery on Sunday to pay homage to victims of the Holocaust.
Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera warned against indifference, apathy and disinterest in public affairs, saying that these traits created conditions for authoritarian and later totalitarian regimes.
Between 1940 and 1945, close to 200,000 people, mostly Jews, passed through the Terezín ghetto on their way to Nazi extermination camps; 117,000 of them did not live to see the end of the war.
A plaque was recently unveiled in Prague honouring one of the modest heroes who were instrumental in organising the evacuations of hundreds of Jewish women and children out of Czechoslovakia before the onset of World War II, where they would otherwise have been wiped out in German concentration camps. The name of the heroine is Doreen Warriner and her story is one of extraordinary resourcefulness and moral virtue.
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