The chairman of the lower house Jan Hamáček has backed the prime
minister’s call on the head of state for Auschwitz survivor George Brady
to be given a state award in recognition of his life’s work. The
politician said that he hoped President Miloš Zeman would heed the call
but made clear that if he did not, there were other means by which the
Chamber of Deputies could honour the 88-year-old. In addition, the head of
the lower house stated that he felt that Prague Castle needed to do more to
clear the matter up. The culture minister, Daniel Herman, has claimed that
he warned by the president that if he met with the Dalai Lama (as happened
last week) his uncle George Brady would not receive the state award.
In related news, George Brady has accepted an invitation from Palácký University Olomouc which wants to recognise his life’s work with an award of its own. The news was confirmed on Monday for the Czech News Agency by the school’s rector, Jaroslav Miller and by Mr Brady’s wife, Tereza. The ceremony is likely to be scheduled for October 28th – the same day state honours will be awarded by the head of state.
Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek has echoed the prime minister’s call for Auschwitz survivor George Brady to be given a state award in recognition of his life’s work. Bělobrádek said that Mr. Brady was clearly a deserving nominee and since he had been promised the award it would be honourable to deliver on that promise. The 88-year-old Auschwitz survivor, who arrived in Prague on Sunday night, said he has been informed he would get the Order of T. G. Masaryk by the chief of Prague Castle protocol Jindřich Forejt. According to aktualne.cz Mr. Brady was on the list of nominees but was removed from it after his nephew Culture Minister Herman met with the Dalai Lama.
Two potential witnesses to a conversation in which President Zeman allegedly threatened Culture Minister Daniel Herman that if he met with the Dalai Lama his uncle, Auschwitz survivor George Brady, would not receive a state award, say they are unable to confirm the exchange. Trade Minister Jan Mládek and Transport Minister Dan Tok say that although they were within hearing, they were speaking to others and not paying attention to the conversation between the president and culture minister. President Zeman admitted that he had asked Culture Minister Herman not to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader but denied having threatened him. The culture minister’s claim has sent shock waves around the country and many politicians, academics and cultural figures are planning to boycott the award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, October 28.
Cardinal Dominik Duka celebrated a mass at St. Vitus Cathedral at midday on Saturday in memory of the close to 300 people killed in the Nazi backlash for Operation Anthropoid, a brave act of resistance in which Czechoslovak paratroopers assassinated Acting Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. His death caused a furious and brutal reaction from the Nazis, with hundreds of ordinary people, many with no connection to the attack, executed or sent to concentration camps. Among the victims were the close associates and family of the five paratroopers involved in the operation. The names of the two-hundred-and-ninety- four victims were read out and candles were lit in their memory.
An event at which a large number of drummers played at Prague’s Bubny train station, from which the Nazis sent Jews to concentration camps, marked the 75th anniversary of the first such transport on Sunday evening. Around 500 percussion instruments were available to visitors to this year’s Drumming for Bubny, which featured well-known Czech drummers including the rock star David Koller. A Memorial of Silence will in the next two years be built at Bubny train station, from which around 50,000 Jews were sent to their deaths. Bubny means drums in Czech.
Work on the conversion of Prague’s Bubny railway station, from which the Nazis transported thousands of Jews to concentration camps during WWII, into a discussion centre about the Holocaust should begin next spring, two years after its cornerstone was laid. The Memorial to Silence should then open in autumn 2018, the initiator of the project, documentary maker and director of Memorial Shoah Prague Pavel Štingl, said on Tuesday. The renovation of the disused station should cost and creation of a permanent exhibition and educational programme should cost CZK 125 million.
The Czech gala premiere of the film Anthropoid about the 1942 operation to assassinate senior Nazi Reinhard Heydrich has taken place at a Prague cinema. Director and co-writer Sean Ellis attended the screening, as did one of its stars Cillian Murphy and several Czech members of the cast of the movie, which was shot in the Czech capital. It focuses on the daring assassination of Heydrich in Operation Anthropoid, which was led by Czechoslovak parachutists Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Relatives of the two war heroes were also invited to the premiere.
There are plans to build a memorial dedicated to the parents of the so-called Winton children, who escaped death in Nazi gas chambers when they were sent abroad from Czechoslovakia shortly before the outbreak of WWII. A group of surviving “Winton children” want to pay tribute to their parents, who had the courage to let them go in order to save their lives. The memorial is to be situated at Prague’s Main Railway Station, close to a statue of Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the transports of 669, mostly Jewish children.
A public fund has been set up to raise money for a memorial to the parents of the so-called Winton children, whose lives were saved when they were sent abroad from Czechoslovakia to escape almost certain death under the Nazis. The charity fund has been set up by a group of “Winton children” who are hoping to reach a target amount of 2.3 million crowns. The memorial, a bronze copy of a train door with glass casts of parents’ hands on the one side and children’s hands on the other, is to be erected at Prague’s main railway station. A statue to Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the transports of 669, mostly Jewish children, ahead of WWII, already stands at the station.
The Czech-born Jewish writer and painter Max Mannheimer has died in Germany at the age of 96. Mr Mannheimer, who was born in Nový Jičín, survived the Holocaust and dedicated his life in post-war Germany to fighting anti-Semitism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Mr Mannheimer on Saturday for his efforts to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, calling him "a great reconciler."
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