Many Czechs were saddened to learn on Wednesday that Frantisek Fajtl, one of the country's most respected and famous WW II-era fighter pilots had died in Prague at the age of 94. For many, Mr Fajtl was a hero and not only for his feats in battle, but also for his work as a writer, his memoirs often naming Czech airmen who might otherwise have been forgotten. Jan Velinger has more on the pilot's life.
The Sazava Monastery, which shares its name with the town and river Sazava, was declared a national cultural monument in 1962 by the Czechoslovak state. It is one of the oldest and best preserved monasteries in all of Bohemia. It is also important as an early cultural bridge between the eastern and western branches of the church and because of its use of the Old Slavonic, the first written Slavic language.
Bohuslav Jan Prochazka and his companion Jindrich Kubiasa set off from the Prague Auto Club on Opletalova Street 70 years ago, on April 25, 1936. They were driving a Skoda Rapid car - and their aim was to set a new record for travelling 360 degrees around the world. In this special programme, Prochazka's son Bret tells us all about this remarkable journey.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jaroslav Jezek, a man whose musical compositions from the late 1920s and 1930s have stood the test of time. Critics agree that Jaroslav Jezek belongs to the canon of the First Czechoslovak Republic, and his short life mirrors that of many of his artistic contemporaries: educated in Prague during the interwar era, Jaroslav Jezek achieved fame in his homeland before being forced to flee Czechoslovakia with the advance of the Nazis in 1938, and he spent his last years in exile in the United
One of the steps taken by the Czech Republic to come to terms with its communist past were so-called 'lustrace', or screening laws. They were meant to prevent former communist secret agents and other people associated with the former regime from taking government and senior civil service posts. But it appears that some former secret police, or StB, agents have managed to slip through the net. It has just emerged there are far more former agents in the police than previously believed - 800 rather than a few dozen. Dita Asiedu reports:
Anyone interested in archaeology is likely to be attracted to a new exhibition just opening at the Prague City Museum titled "Through the Valley of Shadows". The exhibit - which took a year to prepare - features samples of a number of Prague burial sites dating from as far back as the Stone Age to the early Middle Ages. It shows how ancient cultures - German, Celtic, and Slavic - dealt with death in practical as well as symbolic terms.
Show trials featuring trumped up charges and fabricated confessions remain one of the strongest symbols of Communist state repression throughout the former Eastern Bloc. Czechoslovakia's most infamous show trials involved senior Communist Rudolf Slansky and resistance leader Milada Horakova, both of whom were given the death penalty. But not all defendants were so high-profile: a newly discovered recording reflects Communist Party efforts to use the courts to crush a whole class - relatively wealthy farmers.
Some years ago, Madeleleine Albright, the Czech-born American Secretary of State, learned that although she had been raised Catholic, all four of her grandparents were Jewish. Not every Czech family tree contains such a big surprise, of course, but almost any Czech who digs into their family history will learn things they did not know or expect. To help them, the Czech Genealogy and Heraldry Society in Prague has just launched a new course.
Public broadcaster Czech Radio and a number of professional institutions like the Jewish Museum in Prague and Prague's Institute of Contemporary History recently signed a new agreement to cooperate on mapping and preserving important stories and oral histories from 20th century Czechoslovakia. Reporters Mikulas Kroupa and Adam Drda initiated the project, explaining to journalists that the main aim was to record lasting and complete testimonies by witnesses who survived some of history's most difficult periods: the Second World War, the Holocaust,