Preparatory work for the reconstruction of Břeclav Castle has unearthed a rare archaeological find –the remains of a medieval wall from the beginning of the 11th century. Archaeologists believe it was part of a fortified settlement built by Břetislav, Duke of Bohemia, who administered the region and gave the town of Břeclav its name.
Animator Gene Deitch settled in Prague almost 60 years ago and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons behind the Iron Curtain for the US market. The small number of other Americans who moved here in the communist period were one subject we discussed in the second half of an extensive interview. But I began by asking Deitch about the time the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger, a good friend of his, visited Czechoslovakia in 1964.
July 6th is a public holiday in the Czech Republic honouring the memory of reformer priest Jan Hus who was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church in 1415. A theologian, philosopher and professor at Charles University in Prague, Hus was a central figure of the Bohemian reformation. Hus is considered to be one of the first church reformers before Martin Luther, later inspiring the Hussite movement. Following his tragic execution, the Hussites followed his religious teachings and rebelled against their Catholic
July 5th is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrating the legacy of the Greek missionaries Cyril and Methodius who came to Great Moravia in 862. As founders of the liturgical Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet, the Byzantine brothers are referred to as ´fathers´ of Slavonic literature. Not only did they greatly influence literary development and culture, but they also translated the Bible and largely contributed to the spread of Christianity among Slavic peoples. Though both were born into wealth and prestige, they chose to
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.
The publication of the manifesto Několik vět, or A Few Sentences, was a milestone in the final year of communism in Czechoslovakia. After being broadcast by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America on June 29, 1989, the document – calling for the release of political prisoners and other freedoms – was eventually signed by around 40,000 people. I discussed its contribution to the eventual fall of communism with historian Jakub Jareš.
“Love, tolerance and creative freedom aren’t just for fairytales”. That’s the central message of a new documentary called The Art of Dissent, which celebrates artistic engagement in Czechoslovakia before and after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. Written, directed and filmed by the American intellectual historian James D Le Sueur, the film aims to debunk the myth that life behind the Churchillian ‘Iron Curtain’ was static and grey, and to inspire viewers through the messages of Václav Havel and fellow former dissidents.
The early years of Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime were marked by hundreds of tragic stories which revolved around injustice, torture and in many cases death. One of the most famous is that of General Heliodor Píka, an exemplary First Republic general who, exactly 70 years ago, became the first victim of the rigged trials that typified the period.