Exactly 70 years ago, three former RAF pilots staged the greatest air escape in Czechoslovak history. Defying strict Communist security measures, they flew themselves, their families and a score of unsuspecting miners into West Germany. Their success brought them freedom, but also hastened the crackdown on any former RAF pilots remaining in Czechoslovakia.
In early March 1943, the first action of the Czechoslovak foreign contingent on the Eastern Front during the Second World War took place around the Ukrainian village of Sokolovo. Still today, one can see depictions of the action in memorials and names, such as in the West Bohemian town of Sokolov, Prague’s Sokolovská street or in the mosaics in Florenc metro station. Most of these memorials are the result of Communist propaganda after the war. However, this does not take away from the courage of the men and women who fought in the battle. Many of
On the 29th of February 1920, the National Assembly of Czechoslovakia adopted a Constitution formally establishing a democratic republic with guaranteed equal rights for men and women – including the right to vote. We look back at the life’s work of suffragette Františka Plamínková, a feminist teacher and activist turned politician. Together with Milada Horáková (her protégé and eventual successor in the Senate) she helped ensure principles of equality enshrined in the Constitution were actually put into practice.
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.
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.
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most infamous of Nazi death camps. Throughout the Czech Republic, memorial services are taking place to honour the memory of the millions condemned to death by Hitler’s fascist regime. It is also a day for helping young Czechs better understand the incomprehensible tragedy – through a historic children’s opera called Brundibár, performed at the wartime Jewish ghetto and concentration camp in Terezín, northern Bohemia.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš joined world leaders from 49 countries at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Israel, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. During the visit the prime minister held a series of bilateral negotiations and met with Czech Holocaust survivors.
European Commission vice president Věra Jourová, whose portfolio includes promoting EU values, transparency and the rule-of-law, called out Russia last week for “distorting” the history of World War II. Specifically, the former Czech minister objected to attempts “to paint victims, like Poland, as perpetrators”. We look into the ongoing war of words between Moscow and former Soviet satellites, not least the Czech Republic, over historical facts.
In connection with this year’s 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Czech Embassy in London has just launched a special project entitled Never Forgotten. During this year Ambassador Libor Sečka plans to lay flowers at every known grave and memorial of Czechoslovak soldiers who died in the UK in the war years, as well as gathering information on the current state of those sites. I discussed the project with Mr. Sečka on the phone from London.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
“I am taking it minute by minute” – Foreigners in the Czech Republic on quarantine and being cut off from their families
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Coronavirus: Czech scientists focus on role proteins play in spreading COVID-19