Lisa Miková, a 98-year-old Czech woman who survived internment in Terezín, Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps, has been awarded Germany’s highest honour, the Order of Merit. The high honour stems from her decades-long efforts to promote reconciliation among Czechs and Germans and educate young people about the dangers of intolerance.
When Albert Einstein moved from Zurich to Prague in early April 1911 to take up his first full professorship teaching theoretical physics, he was not yet world-famous, though heralded in scientific circles as likely “the next Copernicus”. The position at the German University in Prague was a significant step up for Einstein, then 32, in terms of status and salary. Yet he found life in Bohemia more alienating than enchanting: German-speakers like himself were an entrenched minority in the Hapsburg Slav capital, and Einstein’s young family had no
Czech archaeologists have announced a significant discovery in South Moravia, on what used to be the territory of Great Moravia. Working at a location in Staré Město near the town of Uherské Hradiště, they unearthed seven graves containing skeletal remains and jewellery dating back to the second half of the ninth century.
Albert Einstein’s tenure as a professor of theoretical physics in Prague is often noted in passing – as an “interlude” or a “sojourn” of no great significance, even though it was in the Czech capital where his most extraordinary work, the theory of general relativity, truly began to emerge. With his new book Einstein in Bohemia, Princeton University history professor Michael D Gordin makes a compelling case that not only did Einstein’s time in Prague shape the science, literature, and even politics of the city for decades to come, the same is true
Exactly 75 years ago, on Valentine’s Day 1945 two confused bomber groups of the USAF accidentally bombed Prague. The raid killed hundreds of Czechs and left over a thousand wounded, while also damaging a number of the capital’s historic buildings. It was subsequently used in Nazi and Communist propaganda and remains a painful memory to this day.
A new film called The Trap, which is due to premiere on Czech Television this Sunday, tells the tragic fate of the great Czech film and theatre actress Jiřina Štepničková who fell into a trap set by the communist secret police in the 1950s and was sentenced to 15 years in jail for attempting to flee the country with her four-year-old son. The communist hysteria surrounding the process was so great that many of Štepničková’s colleague actors and actresses signed a petition for her to be put to death for treason.
One of the most precious items from the archives of the National Museum, a sculpted Celtic head dating back to the Iron Age, is currently on display at the Regional Museum in Olomouc. The valuable sculpture, which was transported to the museum under heavy security, is the highlight of a two-week exhibition of Celtic art.
Support for Czechs living in Brexit Britain may have been the main reason for Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček’s visit to the UK on Friday. However, he chose to begin the day by honouring the fallen heroes who fought side by side with the British in the Second World War. Under the title “Never Forgotten”, their sacrifice is being remembered through a series of commemorations organised by the Czech Embassy in London this year.
The world‘s oldest wooden structure is in the Czech Republic and it is a Neolithic well, according to newly published dating test results conducted by a team of researchers at the Mendel University in Brno. The well was found in Eastern Bohemia and is more than 7,000 years old. It shows that Neolithic peoples were capable of more sophisticated construction techniques than previously assumed.
In this programme, the last in the current series looking at Czech history through the archives, we get a flavour of the Cold War. The archives throw up some curious stories: a man in love with a drill, a Czechoslovak cosmonaut celebrated in song, a campaign against noisy rockers with long hair, and some Cold War dramas – tales of defectors and spies. And we end with the strange, sad story of the Red Elvis. But first to the glowing dawn of the new regime in 1948.