It is quite likely that you will never have heard of the Czech teacher, religious thinker, pacifist and humanist, Přemysl Pitter, but he deserves to be remembered as one of the great Czechs of the 20th century. Pitter touched the lives of thousands, and his work helping children during and just after the Second World War, matches the extraordinary achievements Oskar Schindler. In a new biography of Přemysl Pitter, the writer and journalist Pavel Kosatík puts his extraordinary life in context. We find out more in Czech Books with David Vaughan.
Twenty years ago, in January 1991, Czechoslovakia began a crash course in capitalism as the old system of central economic planning that had been in place for the previous four decades was dismantled. In spite of resistance from some quarters, Czechoslovakia, opted for a fast, shock therapy reform, differing from the more cautious path taken in Poland and Hungary.
A lesser known quarter of Prague, somewhat off the tourist beaten track is under the spotlight at Prague’s main municipal museum. The area is Libeň which was transformed from a downriver district of fields, farms and vineyards by the industrial revolution and largely made over again from the middle of the 20th century.
The town of Vysoké nad Jizerou this week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of notable Czech politician Karel Kramář. As an MP within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kramář fought for Czech national interests, leading to his arrest for treason by the Austrian authorities during World War I. He was tried and sentenced to death, galvanising Czech public opinion, and although the sentence was reduced to imprisonment, Kramář became a national hero. Eventually he was released as part of a general political amnesty in 1917. The flood of support pushed
The Czech Republic’s oldest prisoner, Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, received a full pardon from President Václav Klaus on Tuesday and was promptly released from prison, bringing a definitive end to one of the most controversial justice cases in the post-revolution Czech Republic. The 89-year-old communist era prosecutor ultimately served one year and seven months of a six-year sentence for her part in the 1950 state execution of democratic politician Milada Horáková, and remained defiant even as she left the prison gates.
A replica of a 17th century brig known as La Grace which belonged to the first Czech naval captain, Augustine Heřman, set sail for the first time earlier this month from Suez, Egypt. The wooden vessel, which captures all the atmosphere and charm of the historic original, was the dream of a group of Czech sailing enthusiasts. Built in an Egyptian shipyard, the new La Grace remarkably took relatively little time to complete: just two years. Now it will spend the winter on the Red Sea before moving on to other destinations in the spring.
When Harry Pollak left Czechoslovakia for France in the autumn of 1938, he had no idea what the future would hold for him. As a teenager, he joined the exile Czechoslovak army fought the Nazis who murdered his family, before fleeing his country again after the communist coup of 1948, and build a career in England from scratch. Mr Pollak gives an account of his extraordinary life in his recently published memoirs. In this edition of Panorama, we talk to Harry Pollak about how a boy from a south Bohemian village ended up saving the famous British
Cards featuring the work of Josef Lada are an integral part of Czech Christmas. Lada is best known internationally for illustrations of the Good Soldier Švejk, but his simply drawn carol singers, snow covered villages and nativity scenes are just as popular in his native country. His grandson, also named Josef Lada, says the artist's images capture something everyone can relate to.
Last week the Czech National Museum launched a new exhibition called New Czech Fables (or New Czech Myths) at the Kinský summer palace, located at the edge of Prague’s Petřín Hill. The show examines urban legends, sayings, social rituals and counter-culture movements in the former Czechoslovakia as well as present-day Czech Republic. In this week’s Arts, Radio Prague takes a closer look.