Twenty-one years ago on Wednesday, on November 17, 1989, a student march was brutally attacked by the police in Prague’s Národní Street; that event sparked a public revolt against the regime and eventually led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. In today’s special programme, we walk along Národní Street, or Národní třída, a remarkable boulevard which is home to the National Theatre, Prague’s most famous delicatessen, a jazz club where Bill Clinton played, and some of the city’s greatest cafés: a street where history was made two decades
Twenty-one years after the Velvet Revolution there is now a generation of young Czechs for whom the communist era is little more than a chapter in their history books. A Czech NGO has now launched a school project which should portray the communist years through the fate of individuals and entire families.
Danish and Czech archaeologists have been working to open the tomb of the 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who spent the last years of his life in Prague and is buried in a church in the city’s Old Town. The experts plan to analyze his remains to see if they can throw more light on his mysterious death.
Czechoslovakia was one of the first victims of the Nazis, with the march into the Sudetenland in I938 followed by the occupation of the rest of the country in March 1939 and an increasingly oppressive regime for most of the population. The backlash at the end of WWII was harsh and violent. And that backlash against the Nazi occupiers, Sudeten Germans and Czechs believed to have collaborated in some way is the subject of US historian Benjamin Frommer’s book “National Cleansing: Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia.”
An unusual history project is running in Czech schools throughout November, organised by the NGO People in Need. For the next few weeks, around 700 secondary schools across the country will be showing documentary films about the nation’s communist past, as well as inviting former political prisoners to come and talk to children about their experiences of being persecuted by the state.
For a decade now, Czech teenagers have been doing research into the fates of Jewish people who lived in their localities before, during and after World War II, as part of a project entitled “Neighbours Who Disappeared”. Organisers say participants at schools around the country have learned valuable lessons, and unearthed a lot of previously unknown information.
The Region of South Moravia is notably rich in archaeological sites, having been home to Celtic, Germanic and other tribes before the coming of the Slavs. One of the places that has been yielding more information about those peoples is the area around Pasohlávky, on the Dyje River. Archaeologists have spent years there studying the remains of a military camp built by Roman invaders in what was then the domain of the Germanic Marcomanni. This week, the scientific team working at the site announced the discovery of a wealth of objects that cast more
The English journalist and writer Misha Glenny is perhaps best known for his work covering the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the hit 2008 book McMafia. His first book The Rebirth of History, published in 1990, focused on the post-communist political landscape of Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia, a country with which he had a close association. Indeed, Glenny had studied Czech in Prague, and remembers with fondness his time here in the early ‘80s. When we spoke recently at the close of the Forum 2000 conference in the city, he recalled
Dall Wilson is a member of the Moravian Brothers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a city where they have a strong tradition. Mr Wilson is an expert on the church and is planning a documentary about their origins in what is now the Czech Republic. He offers a potted history of the Protestant denomination, starting with how they found shelter in the free town of Herrnhut in Saxony in the 18th century.
In today’s Spotlight Radio Prague visits an early Baroque palace known as Michnův palác in the historic quarter of Malá strana. Built in the 16th century, it first belonged to the Micha family before it became munitions factory in the mid-1700s. In the early 20th century, after the founding of Czechoslovakia, it was sold to the patriotic Sokol sport and gymnastics organisation, which renovated it and named it Tyršův dům (or Tyrs’ House) after its main founder.