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.
Public broadcaster Czech TV will screen a documentary film on Thursday entitled Zabíjení po česku, or ‘Killings Czech style’. It features unique footage of a massacre of over 40 ethnic Germans that took place in Prague in May, 1945, shortly after the end of the war. The authors say they want to draw attention to the atrocities committed on German civilians in post-war Czechoslovakia, though some historians believe this particular murder was carried out by Soviet troops.
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.
Wednesday is the 65th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising, when thousands of people took to the streets in an attempt to liberate the city from Nazi occupation, just days before the arrival of the Red Army. Several events have been held to mark the date, including a memorial at Czech Radio, which made a dramatic call on citizens to fight the occupiers on the morning of May 5, 1945.
If you had been listening to Radio Prague back in the late 1930s, it is very likely that you would have heard the voice of Ivan Jelínek. He was one of the pioneers of broadcasting in Czechoslovakia, and an early presenter of our broadcasts to Britain and North America. From the radio headquarters here in Vinohrady, he witnessed many of the dramas leading up to World War Two, including moment of the German occupation itself. During his wartime exile in Britain and in the decades that followed the war, Ivan Jelínek became a familiar voice in the
One of Prague’s best known German-language authors was Egon Erwin Kisch, who was born in the Czech capital 125 years ago this Thursday. His excellent style and original choice of stories, together with his dramatic life, earned him a reputation of the ‘Raging Reporter’ that is still very much alive today.