The Oscar-winning film Schindler's List, directed by Steven Spielberg, is probably the most powerful account of the Holocaust ever produced. Some criticised the film for being over-emotive, even ham-fisted, but most applauded Mr Spielberg for bringing home the chilling, harrowing reality of the murder of six million people to a world which is slowly beginning to forget. But Mr Spielberg is not satisfied with the success of Schindler's List. The Hollywood director announced at the weekend that he and documentary film maker James Moll had assembled a group of international directors to make documentaries about the Holocaust set in five countries. One of them is the Czech Republic. has more
The little garrison town of Terezin, 50 kilometres north of Prague, has a tragic place in Czech history. In the course of the Second World War, the Nazis turned the entire town into a ghetto for Jews from all over Europe. All but a tiny handful of the 150 000 people who passed through the ghetto died, either in Terezin itself or in the Nazi death camps. After the war, Terezin once again became a garrison town. It was not until the mid-1990s that the Czech Army left, leaving Terezin little more than a ghost town, haunted by the shadow of its past. But although it only has around 2,000 permanent inhabitants, there are people who want to make the town live again. Radio Prague's spoke with Petr Larva, who has initiated an ambitious international arts project in some of Terezin's abandoned army buildings, and he told her about an unusual cultural centre, now being set up.
Thanks to Steven Spielberg the name of Oskar Schindler is known the world over, but this programme is about an almost forgotten contemporary of Schindler, who deserves a similar place in history. In the course of the tumultuous 20th century, Premysl Pitter, born in Prague in 1895, did more than perhaps anyone else to help children - Czech, German and Jewish - through some of the most horrific moments of European history.
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