The Second World War tore communities and whole nations apart. In the Czech Republic centuries of Jewish history were reduced to a few shattered fragments. Nearly 80,000 Czechs were murdered because of their Jewish origin. The scale of this destruction makes the few fragments that survive so much the more important, and in this programme, we look at how a single object, surviving from the pre-war Jewish life of Czechoslovakia, became the catalyst for creating a new and unexpected bond between two places at opposite ends of Europe. We start with
This week in Mailbox we announce the winners of our April listeners' competition and you will also find out the new question for May. Listeners quoted: Donald Schumann, Charles Konecny, Mary Lou Krenek, USA; David Eldridge, UK; Flemming Christensen, Denmark; Henrik Klemetz, Sweden; Hari Madugula, Mukesh Kumar, India; Colin Law, New Zealand.
The appeal "Volame vsechny Cechy" - calling all Czechs - is probably the best known recording in Czech Radio's archive. A radio announcer calls on Czechs to rise up against the German occupation. The date is the 5th May 1945, in the dying days of the war, and the broadcast marked the beginning of the Prague Uprising. In three days of fighting, over three thousand Czechs lost their lives, before the Red Army finally entered the city. Much of the fighting took place right here, in the radio building in Vinohradska Street. This Friday, as every year,
In the Czech Republic the first of May traditionally marks Labour Day, a national holiday which is celebrated not only here but all around the world, in commemoration of various historic achievements of the Labour movement. In the days of the Cold War Czechs were as good as forced to take part in massive May Day parades, and not surprisingly now most prefer to treat the holiday as nothing more than a welcome day off work. Alternatively, they celebrate May Day as a symbol of spring and love, as most famously marked in the great Czech romantic poem,
Holocaust Rememberance Day marks the 63rd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Commemorations in honor of the victims were held throughout the Czech Republic, and education ministers from across Europe met for a second day of talks on Holocaust education. An elderly survivor at one memorial in Prague reads the names and fates of many Czech Holocaust victims: A ghetto, a concentration camp, and the end.
On Tuesday, Jewish communities in the Czech Republic are commemorating Yom ha Shoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day which is observed around the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. The names of Czech Holocaust victims will be read out during ceremonies in Prague and a former concentration camp in Terezin. Around 80,000 Czech Jews perished in the Holocaust, among them the whole family of Zdenka Fantlova, who was herself imprisoned in several concentration camps: Terezin, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen and Mauthausen until she was liberated from
The massacre of Lidice, a small village just North West of Prague, on the night of the 9th of June 1942 was the darkest moment in Czech wartime history. Following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the German Reichsprotektor of the Czech Lands, on the 27th of May 1942, the Nazis began a massive retaliation campaign against the civilian Czech populace. Lidice bore the brunt of this savage response, accused of harbouring one of the perpetrators of the assassination.
Millions of people have admired it at the Uffizi Art Gallery in Florence. Now, Rembrandt's painting of an old man has acquired a new significance for Czechs. According to Ernst van de Wetering, a Dutch art specialist, the anonymous old man in the painting is almost certainly one of the most prominent figures in Czech history - the teacher of nations Jan Amos Comenius.