Today in Mailbox: WW2 fighters interviewed by Czechoslovak/Czech Radio in the past, answers to Radio Prague's listeners' quiz question, a new question for the coming weeks. Listeners/readers quoted: Alan Keith, Wendy Parez, Syed Khizar Hayat Shah, Shahzad Shabbir, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Hans Verner Lollike, Dipita Chakrabarty, Hamad Kiani, Deblina Biswas, Colin Law, Mary Lou Krenek.
Figure skating legend Ája Vrzáňová-Steindler, who won back-to-back world championships in 1949 and 1950 in Paris and London, has died at the age of 84. After travelling to London, Vrzáňová defected, opting not to return to Stalinist Czechoslovakia which had pressured her to end her career. Her family was later repeatedly harassed and threatened by the Communist regime. Vrzáňová settled in the US, marrying restaurant owner Pavel Steindler in 1969. The former champion was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009.
A series of events have been held in Prague and elsewhere in the Czech Republic observing the first anniversary of the death of Václav Havel, who led the country to democracy in 1989’s Velvet Revolution. The commemorations have included the unveiling of a new plaque to the late president at a statue of Woodrow Wilson in the capital.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Friday presented 12 laureates with the Gratias Agit award for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. Among those awarded this year are former figure-skating champion Ája Vrzáňová, UK-based architect Eva Jiřičná, and composer Antonín Tučapský. Three foreign nationals were recognised, including Nazmi Akiman of Turkey, a former diplomat who is now the chairman of the Czech-Turkish Business Council. The awards are held annually in the Great Hall at Czernin Palace – the headquarters of the Czech Foreign Ministry.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Friday presented the 16th annual Gratias Agit awards in recognition of those who promote the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. This year’s 12 laureates of the prize include former figure-skating champion Ája Vrzáňová, UK-based architect Eva Jiřičná, composer Antonín Tučapský, and others.
Czechs living abroad and their descendants are currently meeting in Prague for a three-day conference. The 120 delegates from 16 adopted countries as diverse as America and Egypt are here to discuss the common interests of Czechs living abroad, primarily cultural life. Christian Falvey went to the opening of the conference to find out more.