A series of events held in Prague and elsewhere over the weekend marked the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a top ranking Nazi official and the ruler of the occupied Czech lands. While dozens of people came to see a reconstruction of the assassination, a mock concentration camp was erected in central Prague in the memory of the victims of Nazi retaliation.
Prague and Lima have been marking the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations this week through a number of events, including a ceremony in Lima preceding the return of an historic Czechoslovak-built tank to the Czech Republic. The LTP 38, as it is known, was built for Peru in the 1930s, designed specifically for high terrain. Originally, there were 24 of the armoured fighting vehicles.
On March 2 1978 - for the first time - a person was launched into space who was neither a Soviet nor an American citizen. His name was Vladimír Remek, and he came from Czechoslovakia. Millions of Czechs and Slovaks had the chance to follow the event live both on radio and television, and it was even celebrated in song:
Czechs and Slovaks spent most of the 20th century in one country, Czechoslovakia. Ever since its foundation, however, each nation had a different idea of how the country should work, and what their role in it should be. In his new book entitled Czechs and Slovaks in the 20th Century: Cooperation and Conflicts, historian Jan Rychlík argues that Czechoslovakia was in fact bound to fail as a state, and that communism only postponed its inevitable end.
In the 1970s the Cold War was fought on many fronts. One of them was Northern Ireland, where the tension and violence that raged throughout the decade also became part of the propaganda war between East and West. At the time, Czechoslovak Radio’s correspondent in London was Karel Kvapil, who had entered the radio after the wave of sackings following the 1968 Soviet-led invasion, and later went on to become its last communist era general director. In 1977 Kvapil travelled to Belfast, to report on the Troubles. For part of his programme he spoke with
The Israeli author Tom Segev is in Prague to launch the Czech translation of his acclaimed biography of the Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Entitled Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends, Tom Segev’s latest work offers a critical yet compassionate look at the complicated man who devoted his life to tracking down Nazi criminals. Radio Prague spoke to Tom Segev during his Prague visit, and asked him how different the real Simon Wiesenthal was from the myths he himself helped create.
Anniversaries give us the chance to think again about the meaning of events and their relevance today. Next month it will be exactly 70 years since the destruction by the Nazis of the Czech village of Lidice in June 1942. The facts and figures are well known, and even in the shadow of huge numbers later killed in the Holocaust, still remain shocking: 340 people were murdered, including 88 children and all but two of the men of the village. They were killed systematically and in cold blood in a calculated attempt by the SS to prevent Czech insurgency.