The internationally-renowned harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková will celebrate her 90th birthday at a special concert in Prague on Saturday. After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, the Plzeň-born musician – inspired by her love of Bach – brought the harpsichord to new audiences around the world in a long and successful career.
The great British journalist Clare Hollingworth, who has died at the age of 105, is most famous for breaking the news that the Nazis were poised to invade Poland and start World War II. But many also revere Hollingworth for her earlier work saving the lives of thousands of refugees, many from Czechoslovakia.
British journalist Clare Hollingworth, who helped many hundreds of people to escape from the occupied Czech lands during World War II, has died at the age of 105. In Prague in September 1938 when the Munich Agreement was signed, Hollingworth saw the influx of refugees from the occupied Sudetenland and later helped Czechoslovak Jews and other to escape to Poland once the Nazis took over the rest of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. She headed the UK committee for refugees from Czechoslovakia in Poland’s Katowice, a common destination for those fleeing the Germans, finding documents and money to help many reach a third country.
Scientists from Brno’s Masaryk University are engaged in a research project aimed at studying the effects of stress on the psyche of Holocaust victims. According to the internet site Novinky.cz which posted the story on Monday the team of psychologists, neurology experts and genetics experts are studying possible changes to the brain as a result of long-term exposure to extreme stress. The head of the research team Ivan Rektor said 30 survivors had agreed to cooperate and has asked others willing to do so to come forward.
One of the country’s last remaining war heroes, General Imrich Gablech has died at the age of 101. Gablech joined the RAF in 1941, flying with the 312 Czechoslovak Squadron. After the war he received a number of high state distinctions, among them the Order of the White Lion, and briefly served as head of air traffic control at Prague airport. Like many Czechoslovak pilots who flew with the RAF he was persecuted by the communist regime, released from the army and forced into manual labour.
The Defense Ministry has filed a criminal complaint against a man who attended a commemorative ceremony honouring Czechoslovak war veterans wearing an SS uniform. The ceremony took place in the town of Rakovník on Veterans' Day, November 11, and the man wearing a Nazi uniform stood next to the guard of honor at a memorial to Czechoslovak pilots from Rakovník who served in the British Royal Air Force. The incident caused public outrage at the event itself and was later widely commented on in the media and on social networks. The mayor of Rakovník and the town council distanced themselves from the ceremony and the Defense Ministry slammed the police for failing to take action.
Former Czechoslovak diplomat Vladimír Vochoč, who helped hundreds of Jews escape from Vichy, France during the Holocaust, has been recognised as “Righteous among the Nations”, the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Mr Vochoč is the 116th Czech to receive the tribute, sponsored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
Several commemorative events are being held across the country on Friday to mark the International Veterans Day. In Prague, war veterans, in particular Czechoslovakia’s RAF pilots, will be remembered on Náměstí Míru square at an event organized by the local town hall in cooperation with the Association of Veterans of the Czech Republic, the Czech Army Military History Institute and the Czechoslovak Legionnaires Community. The day will end with an open-air mass paying tribute to fallen soldiers. Veterans Day is celebrating all around the world to mark the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, which ended World War I.
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