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.
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.
Miloslava Kalibová, one of the last survivors of the Lidice massacre, has
died at the age of 96. As a nineteen- year-old Kalibová saw her father
executed by the Nazis and spent almost three years with her mother and
sister in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück. She returned to
Czechoslovakia after the war.
Through her life Kalibová worked tirelessly to bear witness of the atrocities of the Holocaust, sharing her experience with schoolchildren and adults in numerous lectures and debates.
Seven years ago she and other Lidice survivors met with German president Joachim Gauck. Her funeral will take place on January 7, in Prague’s Motol crematorium.
Hundreds of thousands of documents were recently added to the website of the Arolsen Archives organisation, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection on Nazi persecution. Not only do they offer new opportunities to find out what happened to victims, but they also provide details on some of the leading figures of 20th century Czechoslovakia.
The Moravian town of Nové Město is renaming a street on its main square in honour of a Jewish family whose tragic fate featured in the international bestseller Hana’s Suitcase. The tribute comes ahead of the anniversary of the death of the only family member to have survived the Holocaust – who was denied a Czech state honour due to an unrelated political spat.
Though little-known today, Marie Schmolka was for several years one of Prague’s key organisers helping Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis, while she also helped arrange transports of children to the UK that saved hundreds of lives. On Monday Schmolka is receiving, in memoriam, honorary citizenship of Prague 1, as officials finally honour the heroic work she carried out in her native city.
In a speech at a Holocaust conference in 2015, President Miloš Zeman falsely claimed one of the nation’s most respected journalists had penned a pre-war article titled “Hitler is a gentleman”. Ferdinand Peroutka, he claimed, was an admirer of the Nazi dictator. On Monday, a Prague court ruled against his granddaughter, who had sued for an apology.
A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a north Bohemian ghetto gets underway this Sunday. Organised by the Eternal Hope foundation and the Terezín Composers’ Institute, the aim is to celebrate the work of brilliant composers whose lives were cut tragically short.