In Part I of last week’s Czechs in History we focussed on Czech adventurer and ethnologist Alberto Vojtěch Frič’s journeys to South America, where he befriended the Chamacoco Indians in Paraguay. At the end of his third journey, in 1908, he learned to his dismay that the Chamacoco were being decimated by a mysterious illness. Through a curious mix of circumstances, he ended up bringing one of them, the son of a tribal leader named Cherwuish, back to Prague and they soon became good friends. A burden of responsibility for the South American, however,
Looking for something to do this summer? How about spending it on board a fully functioning replica of an 18th century sailing ship similar to that captained by the Czech explorer, merchant and privateer Augustine Herman? The cap’n of the good ship La Grace is currently recruiting crew for the 100-foot brig, which will set sail from Suez in Egypt in a few months’ time.
Not many people have their first book published when they are over 80, but Jaroslava Skleničková is a remarkable exception. Her home village is Lidice, a few miles to the west of Prague, where she and her husband Čestmír, will be celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary next year. But the fact that Jaroslava is alive at all is nothing short of a miracle. Her book, which has just been published in English, tells the moving story of her life, as David Vaughan reports in this week’s Czech Books.
Alberto Vojtěch Frič was a Czech botanist, ethnologist and traveller, who earned fame in Bohemia, Europe, and parts of South America in the early 20th century. His first love from childhood was botany but early after his first travels to South America, his professional focus shifted from plants to the lives of indigenous peoples. During his excursions, he befriended the Chamacoco Indians at Gran Chaco in Paraguay, and on his third visit, learning that the tribe was being decimated by an unknown illness, brought one of them, Cherwuish (the son of
In June 2009, during the Czech Republic’s EU presidency, 46 countries pledged to provide assistance to Holocaust survivors, to accelerate the restitution of property stolen during the Holocaust, and to set up a special institute to pursue these commitments. The special advisor to the US secretary of state for Holocaust-era assets, Stuart Eizenstat, is back in Prague this week checking on developments.
Thousands of Polish army officers, teachers and intellectuals were killed by the Soviet NKVD in the notorious Katyn massacre during World War II. But the fact Czechs were also murdered there has for long been an untold aspect of this dark chapter of history. Now Czech researchers are piecing together the story of several hundred such victims, while there are also plans to unveil a memorial to some of them.
In May 1945, millions of Czechs could breath freely again after six years of Nazi occupation. The German defeat brought about the end of the Nazi rule of terror, and the re-establishment of Czechoslovakia. But for thousands of ethnic Germans, the end of the war meant the beginning of a new ordeal. They were expelled from the country, and many of them were killed during the first day of peace. In this edition of Czech Today, Radio Prague talks to Marie Ranzenhoferová, who survived one of the violent expulsions, known today as the Brno death
The south Moravian town of Mikulov, located just on the Austrian border, was for many centuries the seat of the aristocratic family of the Dietrichsteins. After the Second World War, Mikulov chateau together with the rest of the family property was confiscated by the state. Ever since the fall of communism, Mercedes Dietrichstein, who was born in Mikulov and lives in Buenos Aires, has fought to get the family estates back. But last week, a court in nearby Břeclav dismissed the claim. Radio Prague spoke to Mercedes Dietrichstein and asked her how
This week marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Plzeň and West Bohemia by General Patton's Third Army. In a special programme to mark the anniversary, Rob Cameron travelled to the spa town of Konstantinovy Lázně, former headquarters of the US Army's 16th Armoured Division, where he spoke to George Thompson - a veteran of the fighting in West Bohemia, Charles Noble - son of the commander of the 16th Armoured Division’s Combat Command B, and George Patton Waters, grandson of the legendary General George S. Patton.
They are the country’s unsung war heroes: thousands of men and women who fled Nazi-occupation to serve in foreign armies during the Second World War. Those who returned to communist Czechoslovakia after the war were branded enemies of the state, those who stayed away were given no credit, unless they had fought alongside the Soviet forces on the Eastern front. Historians are now working on an internet project which aims to map the fate of some 83 thousand Czechs and Slovaks who fought against Nazi oppression in different parts of the world.