It was five years ago this week that our much-loved colleague, Olga Szántová, died at the age of 71. As a child she had spent most of World War II in New York, which was where she picked up her perfect East-Side English. Olga became one of the most familiar voices of Radio Prague’s English broadcasts during the political thaw of the 1960s, and she was also among the radio journalists who managed to carry on broadcasting secretly during the Soviet invasion of 1968, as several recordings from the time still bear witness.
Peter Bisek and his wife Vera edit and publish the leading Czech and Slovak newspaper in the United States, Americké listy. Mr Bisek is also the president of the Bohemian Citizens' Benevolent Society, which runs the popular Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in the New York borough of Queens. It was in the Bohemian Hall that Peter Bisek outlined the past and present of the bi-weekly, Czech-language newspaper.
For this week’s programme we interrupt our chronological journey through the Czech Radio archives, and go back as far as1912. Throughout this summer in Prague it has been hard not to notice posters depicting the Titanic as the great liner sank on the night from April 14-15 1912. They are advertising an exhibition of artifacts from the ship currently on show in the Czech capital. One member of the crew who survived was a young Czech waiter, Rudolf Linhart. He had been working in a London hotel in the years before the First World War and at the beginning
In today’s Mailbox we find out who the mystery man in our July competition was and we announce the names of four Radio Prague listeners who will be sent small gifts for their correct answers. Listeners quoted: Prasanta Kumar Padmapati, Bob Boundy, Jana Vaculik, Riaz Ahman Khan, Catherine Olubunmi Agboola, Don Schumann, Steve Wara, Colin Law, David Eldridge, K. Thiagarajan, Charles Konecny, Jerry Kubik, Henrik Klemetz.
Old red and white trams are just as much a part of the Czech capital as Prague Castle or Charles Bridge. The metro is definitely faster and more comfortable, but it doesn’t offer the same views as trams do. Besides, the metro stops at midnight while trams can carry you home at any time of the day and night, that is of course, if you live close enough to the railway tracks. So, when did trams first appear in the streets of Prague? And what is it like to be at the controls of a tram?
In November 1945, six months after the end of World War II, the units that had taken part in liberating Czechoslovakia began their official withdrawal. Various ceremonies were held, first on November 15, to say farewell to the Red Army troops, who had fought their way in bitter fighting through Slovakia all the way to Prague. Then a few days later, on November 20, the withdrawal began of the American units that had liberated Western Bohemia.
Last week the Archive of the Czech Security Forces posted data on the internet compiled by former Czechoslovakia’s military counter-intelligence. The data lists some 140,000 names of people who were either monitored by the military counter-intelligence or were agents, and it hasn’t taken long for the files to stir controversy. Czech TV reported that five of the country’s MPs, including Social Democrat and former Olympic ski jumper Pavel Ploc, were among those listed. He and the other deputies reacted quickly, denying cooperation of any kind with
Lída Baarová was one of the most famous and successful Czech actresses to have ever lived. Her career spanned over 70 years, in the course of which she starred in a whole number of both Czech and German film classics. She even made it into Federico Fellini’s ‘I Vitelloni’ in 1953. But she is perhaps best known for her life off-screen, as one of Czech film’s most unhappy characters. Lída Baarová’s beauty attracted the attention of Joseph Goebbels, and her career - tragically for her - reached its peak in Nazi Germany shortly before World War
In early July, three days after the Czech Republic and the Bush Administration signed a controversial agreement on a future anti-ballistic missile radar base, Russia drastically reduced the supply of oil flowing into the country. The move prompted fears that the Czech Republic had become the latest post-communist country to face what some view as extortion from its former big brother – one strongly opposed to the placement of the US radar base on Czech soil. The crisis soon passed, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordering a full restoration