The former Czech president Václav Havel has just been awarded the German Point Alpha Prize for his contribution to German, and European, unification. Tuesday’s ceremony did not take place at the usual venue – the former border between East and West Germany – but at the German Embassy in Prague. The embassy itself has also been marking an important chapter in its own history.
In less than one month, the Czech Republic will mark an historic anniversary: 90 years since the founding of Czechoslovakia. To commemorate this day, the Czech Senate has put the original of the Pittsburgh Agreement, a document that created the basis for the new state, on display. On Monday, the US ambassadors to the Czech Republic and Slovakia presented the document to the head of the Czech Senate, Přemysl Sobotka. Ruth Fraňková has the details.
I’m standing in the exhibition hall of the Czech Senate and in front of me is an official copy of the Munich Agreement, the notorious 1938 document that ceded the Sudeten territories in Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany. It is a four page document that is written in German, with a series of numbered points on it. At the bottom of the document are the clearly visible signatures of Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain and Benito Mussolini and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier. But this act of appeasement didn’t work and ended up leading to the Second
Could trams be reintroduced to Prague’s Wenceslas Square? The capital’s public transport authority would like to bring them back, after an absence of nearly 30 years. They say the extension would take the strain off other parts of the city’s transport network. But not everyone is for the idea. Prague City Hall stands adamantly opposed, saying trams are at odds with its plans to redesign the space as a pedestrian zone.
This Tuesday marks exactly 70 years since the signing of the Munich agreement, under which Czechoslovakia’s German-speaking territories were sliced off and handed to Hitler. The document was signed on September 30, 1938 by Britain, Germany, Italy and France. Just a week ago, Germany unexpectedly agreed to loan the original version of the document to the Czech Republic. It will go on display at Prague’s National Museum as part of a large exhibition commemorating 90 years since the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Ruth Fraňková spoke with the museum’s
70 years ago, in September 1938, Europe was in the grip of a complex international diplomatic drama, known as the Munich crisis. It culminated in the fateful signing of the Munich Agreement on September 30, when the leaders of Britain, France and Italy agreed to Hitler’s territorial claims on Czechoslovakia in return for a peace that was to last just a year. A fascinating and gripping account of this crisis has been published this week, and I’m delighted to be able to talk about it with its author, my colleague at Radio Prague, David Vaughan:
The art collection of Emil Freund, a Prague Jewish lawyer who was murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, will return to his heirs in the United States. After the Jewish Museum in Prague traced Emil Freund’s relatives in 2001, it took them seven long years to clear the way for restitution. But part of the collection is to stay in the Czech Republic – the Czech authorities declared some of the paintings a national heritage which means that they cannot leave the country.
In the immediate aftermath of the political coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the communists were keen to give the world the impression that it was business as usual and that nothing out of the ordinary had happened. In this respect Radio Prague as the international service of Czechoslovak Radio was expected to play its part, and so the communists asked the handful of British nationals working for one of Czechoslovakia’s biggest companies to make a statement in English for the radio. As a result one of the British staff of the shoe-making
For this week’s Czechs in History I’ve brought you somewhere rather special – one of my favourite places in the Czech Republic – Český Dub. And I’m sitting here at about 10 at night, exhausted after a hard week’s work, just about to go to sleep in the local museum, which is all rather scary and exciting because there are things like suits of armour downstairs, which I am hoping won’t come to life when I switch the lights out. And I owe this visit here to the fact that, tomorrow morning, I have a meeting with museum’s curator, Tomáš Edel, who is
The launch has just taken place in Prague of the Czech version of a novel looking at the Munich Agreement of 1938, when the UK and France gave the Nazis free reign to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. Written by Georges-Marc Benamou, The Ghost of Munich tells the story of the Munich conference from the point of view of the then French prime minister. The book looks set to be made into a film, directed by Miloš Forman and written by Václav Havel.