We ended the last series of From the Archives at one of the darkest moments in Czech history, when on June 10 1942 the Nazis destroyed the village of Lidice. This was a cruel and arbitrary retribution for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the so-called Reichsprotektor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Many people had given shelter to the Czechoslovak patriots parachuted from London to carry out the assassination, and the Nazis took extreme measures to cow the Czech nation into submission.
Prague’s leafy central suburb of Karlín may best be known outside of the Czech Republic for the devastating floods that laid ruin to it in 2002, but much of the world has been using the machines and products born of Karlín factories for more than a hundred years and aside from that it is also Prague’s oldest suburb – a point recalled by an exhibition being held this year at the City Museum in Prague that was created by historian Dr. Zdeněk Míka:
An international conference entitled Europe – Whole and Free? concludes in Prague on Tuesday, commemorating the end of the Warsaw Pact. Hosted by the Czech Foreign and Defence Ministries, the conference over two days brought together former officials from both sides of the Cold War to share their views of past events. It also highlighted ongoing divisions between Russia, and the former Soviet satellites in Central and Eastern Europe.
In Czech Books this week we hear the second episode in our serialization of Jaroslava Skleničková’s moving autobiography, “If I had been a boy, I would have been shot…” We continue with Jaroslava’s account of the dramatic events that led to the destruction of her home village of Lidice. Extracts are read by Veronika Hyks and introduced by David Vaughan.
At the end of September 1941, Hitler appointed Reinhard Heydrich as acting Reichsprotektor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia. The radio reported on his inauguration at Prague Castle, and the sound of the SS military band hammering out the German national anthem followed by the Horst Wessel song still sends a shiver down the spine.
The Czech Supreme Court cancelled on Wednesday a 37-year-old verdict of a communist court which sent four young writers to jail for defamation of the Soviet Union and public disturbance. The four men, who spent up to a year in prison, got into trouble in the summer of 1973 in a Prague pub – when they sang an old song with slightly innovated lyrics.
The summer months are here and with it tourists visiting many of the country’s most notable castles and chateaux. But one site you might want to consider visiting, somewhat off the beaten path, is Blatná Castle in southern Bohemia, some 95 kilometres south of the capital. It’s not an understatement to say Blatná Castle is something out of a fairly tale, overlooking a surrounding moat and deer park. Blatná is the location we visit in Spotlight today.
In 1947, at the age of 42, Eduard Ingriš had already lived what most would call a full life. He was one of Czechoslovakia’s foremost composers, with several hundred pieces to his name. He had been composing since he was 15 years old, and he was a rich man. His musical “The Capricious Mirror” enjoyed 1,600 performances in Prague, a record untouched even on Broadway. As it turns out though, his life was just getting started.
On July 1, 1991, the Warsaw Treaty was officially dissolved and 36 years of Czechoslovakia’s military alliance with the USSR came to an end. As a consequence, Soviet troops stationed in the country during the 1968 invasion were gradually withdrawn – an anniversary that the Czech NGO Opona is celebrating with a series of events entitled Week of Freedom, starting Monday. Sarah Borufka spoke to David Gaydečka, one of the organizers of Freedom Week about the events planned.