In this week’s Mailbox we find out the identity of March’s mystery man and announce the four winners who will receive small gifts for their correct answers. Listeners quoted: Swopan Chakroborty, Helmut Matt, Jaromír Hauzar, Li Xuewei, Constatnin Liviu Viorel, Pier Carlo Acchino, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Ian Morrison, Colin Law, Charles Konecny, David Eldridge.
The Tatra car manufacturer in Kopřivnice is planning to renew production of some of its legendary models. The boss and co-owner of Tatra, American Ronald Adams, would like to produce a limited edition of Tatra 603 and the legendary Tatraplán T600. The replicas will look just like the originals, but the engine and the chassis will be entirely new. The first old-new models should leave the factory in about two years’ time.
The Lidice museum, which stands on the site of the Czech village that was infamously razed to the ground by the Nazis in 1942, opened a new education centre on Monday. Among other things, this facility will give visitors and scholars access to a detailed historical archive of material about what is considered to be one of the most notorious Nazi atrocities of the Second World War.
When Dr Jana Švehlová’s father was imprisoned by the communists for political reasons it left a deep impression on her life. After doing research into the psychological impact of such experiences on women like herself, she began a group called Daughters of the '50s which is a forum for discussion of often painful memories – and a support group for women whose childhoods, and often subsequent lives, were blighted by the mistreatment of their parents. When I met Dr Švehlová at a Prague centre cafe, she first told me her own family’s story.
Iva Drápalová has lived through, and documented, some of the most important moments of modern Czech history. Cut off from her family at boarding school - and then university - in Britain throughout the Second World War, she picked up the English that led her to the job for which she is now best known. Having returned to her homeland, Iva Drápalová became the Associated Press’s woman in the Czech capital following on from the Prague Spring of 1968. Mrs Drápalová, now in her eighties, has just finished writing her memoirs.
This sort of music may not make for the easiest of listening, and the title of the song ‘pal vodsud’ hajzle’ (something like ‘piss off, jerk’), might not sound the most welcoming upon first read. But, it is a good example of Czech new wave rock of the 1980s. The band? Jasná Páka – one of the best known proponents of the new wave in this country, and one of the communist regime’s biggest thorns in the side. Jasná Páka reunited this week for a one-off concert to open a new exhibition at Prague’s Pop Museum called ‘Nová vlna se starým obsahem’ (‘New Wave
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.
In this month's Music Profile, we go back in time to the 1930s and the Liberated Theatre, where political satire and dadaist cabaret collided head on to a soundtrack of the latest scorching hot American jazz and blues. The music: near-blind piano virtuoso & composer Jaroslav Ježek. The words: avant garde merry pranksters Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec. Tune in to Music Profile to find out more.
In last week’s From the Archives, we heard how German troops marched into Prague on March 15 1939. The next day, Edvard Benes, who had resigned as Czechoslovakia’s president in the wake of the Munich Agreement, and was in exile in London, told Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that from now on, he would be leading the resistance against the German occupation. Five months later, war broke out and at the end of 1939 the BBC began its broadcasts in Czech.
A rumbling engine drowns out the sounds of fellow passengers on the bus –somehow fitting on a visit to Mladá Boleslav, a town synonymous with cars and car engines. A little over a century ago, the first Czech bicycle, the first motorcycle, and eventually the first motorised buggy rolled out of what was then a modest factory in the town owned by mechanic Václav Laurin and former bookseller Václav Klement. Mladá Boleslav has been known for its car production ever since.