In Their Own Words
Voices that shaped Czech history
Sport has always played a big role in Czech life. At the time of the national revival in the 19th century, the Sokol gymnastics movement was founded on the idea that a healthy body was a recipe not only for a healthy mind, but also for a civilised nation. We hear recordings from the huge Sokol gathering of 1938 and from the Spartakiáda displays of mass callisthenics in the communist period. This episode also features an ice hockey report from the Olympics in 1936 as well as Europe’s first ever live football commentary and the voices of some of the great Czech sportsmen and women of the 20th century, from Emil Zátopek to Martina Navrátilová.
In the first of this series we heard the voice of Czechoslovakia’s first President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1935). His wife Charlotte was American, and thanks to her influence Tomáš became a champion of feminism. Charlotte went on to inspire many women both within Czechoslovakia and beyond. In this episode we hear memories of Charlotte from her friend, the American feminist and peace advocate Martha Root, speaking in 1932. We hear the voice of Tomáš and Charlotte’s daughter Alice in 1938 on the urgent need to defend democracy against the threat of Nazi Germany. And we hear two of the most prominent woman politicians of the time, Františka Plamínková and Milada Horáková. Both paid with their lives for their belief in democracy and the rights of women. We end with Tomáš and Charlotte’s great granddaughter Charlotta Kotík who talks about Masaryk’s feminism from the perspective of the family today.
We start with one of the great European democrats of the 20th century, Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Born in 1850, he was already in his late sixties when he became president in November 1918. He took inspiration from the western democracies, in particular the United States and Britain, having spent time in both countries during his First World War exile. The archives include recordings of him speaking almost flawless English as well as Czech.
insiders’ guides to the city
Thanks to his Honest Guide videos, Janek Rubeš is THE face of Prague for many people around the world. The Honest Guide shows warn visitors about all kinds of scams in the Czech capital – but also reflect their presenter’s clear love of the city. Our tour of “Janek Rubeš’s Prague” begins on a bench by the park in the picturesque Kampa district.
Luke Allnutt is a senior journalist at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Englishman’s career will enter a new and exciting phase in early 2018 with the publication of his gripping debut novel We Own the Sky, which has been sold in 30-odd countries around the world. Our tour of “Luke Allnutt’s Prague” begins by the Vltava River, on the embankment known as Naplávka.
Bianca Bellová this year won the top Czech literary award Litera Magnesia for her novel Jezero (The Lake), an honour that was soon followed by a European Union Prize for Literature. The first stop on our tour of “Bianca Bellová’s Prague” is the suburb of Radlice. The writer lived in the district until the age of 10, when the original Radlice village was razed to make way for Metro construction.