On Monday the Czech Republic commemorated the 61st anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Over the weekend, ceremonies were held all over the country in honour of those Czechs who lost their lives, and people celebrated the end of over six years of occupation. Amongst the events which took place was the full military burial of wartime Prime Minister Alois Elias in Prague, 64 years after his execution by the Nazis.
The National Archive in Prague recently received new material donated by Jana Kanska, the daughter of Milada Horakova, the Czech resistance movement hero in World War II found guilty on trumped-up charges of treason and plotting to overthrow the government by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime after the war. Famously, she showed tremendous courage and calm during a preposterous show-trial that, in the end saw her sentenced to death. Recent years have seen renewed historic interest in Milada Horakova's life, and with new material donated by her daughter
Anyone acquainted with Czech military history will likely have heard of ace pilot Frantisek Perina - who fought with distinction for Czechoslovakia in both the Battles of France and Britain during the Second World War. Mr Perina - named to the honorary rank of major general in 2000 - turned 95 just last month - and was honoured by the Czech Army and Air Force. On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of the war, we look back at key moments in Mr Perina's military career - ignored by the Communists for forty years.
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,