The Czech Republic’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has launched a new project to help teachers in primary and secondary schools make history classes more engaging. Called Obrazy války or Images of War, it focuses on the period of the Second World War and provides teachers with alternative study materials, based on photographs and film clips.
Celebrated author, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Jiří Stránský has died, at the age of 87. A former political prisoner, he led the Czech branch of the international PEN club after the fall of communism and later headed the state cinematography fund. He also dedicated himself to educating schoolchildren about the perils of totalitarianism – all the while nurturing an infectious optimism.
The writer Jiří Stránský died on Wednesday at the age of 87. Mr.
Stránský spent almost a decade in Communist labour camps as a political
prisoner after being found guilty of “treason” in the hard-line 1950s.
He put those experiences into his writings, some of which he also adapted
for the screen.
In the 1990s Jiří Stránský became president of the Czech PEN Club. He was also a life-long devotee of the scouting movement and shared his experiences in talks with young people.
Translator, literary scholar and historical sociologist Martin Tharp’s current research focuses on the working-class counterculture of post-1968 Czechoslovakia. He finds that – dissident groups such as Charter 77 aside – the “underground” social movement comprised a diffuse and generalised sentiment of an “emotive-artistic resistance to state cultural control” and censorship.
A bust of the late Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is due to be unveiled at Prague’s DOX gallery this coming Monday. The ceremony is part of an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Among the guests will be Liu Xiaobo’s widow and two of the former student leaders.
Prague City Hall announced on Monday that its representatives had met with Zdena Mašínová and agreed to exhume the remains of her mother, who was imprisoned by both the Nazis and communists and shares the same name. The city is now preparing the necessary documentation after which the exact date of exhumation will be set.
Anyone who is interested in the history of Central and Eastern Europe has likely come across the name Marci Shore. An associate Professor at Yale University, she has published a number of books focusing on the modern history of post-communist countries. She stopped by Czech Radio, while travelling through Prague earlier this week, and I started by asking her about the impact that Nazism and Communism had on the region and the psyche of its people.
General Milan Píka, whose father also held that rank and was executed following a Communist Party-orchestrated show trial, has died at the age of 96. Himself punished on false charges, the World War II veteran nonetheless managed to rise to the top of the Czechoslovak military – and eventually clear his father’s good name.
Twin sisters Jitka and Květa Válová, named “Dames of Czech Culture” in memorandum this week, were once described by a Communist zealot as an “ulcer on the red face of Kladno”, the industrial Bohemian city of their birth. They rejected the dominant Socialist Realism aesthetic of the 1950s, preferring more abstract and expressive work, long sealing their pariah status. They responded by turning their shared home and atelier into a salon for free thinkers.
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