100 years ago the Czechoslovak Assembly decided on the name of the new republic’s currency - the koruna. Despite a variety of original proposals, the delegates ended up being rather conservative in their choice, voting for a name that had also been used for the currency of Austria-Hungary. To commemorate the date, the Czech National Bank has issued a rare collection of gold-silver coins.
In the days of the Habsburg Empire, nearly every geography class in central Europe would have had a globe made by Felkl & Sohn. At its peak, the family factory north of Prague was producing some 15,000 terrestrial and celestial globes every year. The decline began between the world wars, as found Jan Felkl’s own world became smaller and smaller.
Czech archaeologists have made another significant discovery in Egypt, unearthing the tomb of an Egyptian dignitary dating back to the end of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. They also revealed the identity of an ancient Egyptian queen at a pyramid complex in south Saqqara near Cairo, which had long baffled experts.
A century ago the Czech community in New York was centred around the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Indeed, an estimated 40,000 Czechs lived in the area known as Yorkville. Ed Chlanda’s family were members of that community and the 80-year-old kindly gave me a tour of the neighbourhood, taking in a former Czech bank, the street where he grew up, the Jan Hus church and the Bohemian National Hall. But we started at the New York Sokol on East 71st St., where Chlanda is an active member. Surrounded by photos, medals and other memorabilia in the Sokol
Exactly 50 years ago today, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team beat the Soviets in the world championships for a second time, setting off a series of celebrations – which soon turned into protests, at times violent, against the ongoing Warsaw Pact occupation. Though a moral victory, in a sense it proved a Pyrrhic one.
Prague City Hall announced on Monday that its representatives had met with Zdena Mašínová and agreed to exhume the remains of her mother, who was imprisoned by both the Nazis and communists and shares the same name. The city is now preparing the necessary documentation after which the exact date of exhumation will be set.
Anyone who is interested in the history of Central and Eastern Europe has likely come across the name Marci Shore. An associate Professor at Yale University, she has published a number of books focusing on the modern history of post-communist countries. She stopped by Czech Radio, while travelling through Prague earlier this week, and I started by asking her about the impact that Nazism and Communism had on the region and the psyche of its people.
General Milan Píka, whose father also held that rank and was executed following a Communist Party-orchestrated show trial, has died at the age of 96. Himself punished on false charges, the World War II veteran nonetheless managed to rise to the top of the Czechoslovak military – and eventually clear his father’s good name.