Cities and towns across the Czech Republic marked the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe on Friday. Seventy years ago Germany signed the official capitulation ending the war. The main commemoration took take place in Prague at the Vítkov memorial with president Miloš Zeman and Minister of Defense Martin Stropnický attending along with veterans from the war. In Prague various events were held including a reconstruction of an army camp at the end of the war, barricades recalling the Prague uprising, and street exhibitions highlighting the lives of soldiers and civilians caught up in the conflict. Although the war officially ended on May 8, fighting continued in former Czechoslovakia as retreating German forces tried to reach US lines in the West ahead of the advancing Russians. Friday is a national holiday.
Hello and welcome to a special programme marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Joining me in the studio today is noted historian and author Professor Jan Rychlík. Rather than simply do the obvious and discuss the end of World War II, I thought it might be interesting to focus on the efforts of the Czech resistance throughout the duration of the war.
At a ceremony at Prague Castle President Miloš Zeman underlined the courage of those who fought for their liberty in the Prague Uprising despite the fact that the liberating US and Russian forces were near and they could have waited for their freedom. The president also spoke of the heroes who had fought with the western allies and were mercilessly persecuted and jailed by the communists in the 50s. No free and democratic country jails its heroes, the president said.
A memorial ceremony was held in front of Czech Radio on Tuesday marking the 70th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising. There was a fierce battle for control of the station during the insurgence, which saw thousands of Czechs take up arms against the Nazi occupiers in the dying days of the war.
The Czech capital is marking the 70th anniversary of the Prague Uprising. On May 5th of 1945 Prague citizens rose up against the collapsing Nazi regime and some 3,000 people were killed in the fighting before Russian troops liberated the city four days later. A commemorative ceremony attended by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka took place at Czech Radio, which played a crucial role in the uprising. Later in the day there will be celebrations and a video mapping on Old Town Square and a concert for 1,800 people at Prague’s Congress Centre.
Events marking the end of WW II are taking place around the country. Czech Radio, located in Prague’s Vinohrady district, played an important role in the Prague Uprising and a raging battle took place outside the radio building as citizens responded to a desperate radio appeal for them to help defend the station. On the 70th anniversary of the Battle for Czech Radio the country’s public broadcaster has organized a series of events for the public. Czech Radio’s spokesman Jiri Hošna explains what will be taking place.
WWII veteran and war hero Antonin Bukový, decorated for bravery at the Battle of Sokolovo, has died at the age of 98, the ctk news agency reported. He was one of the founders of the First Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion, which fought together with the Red Army. The Battle of Sokolovo took place on March 8 and 9, 1943, near the town of Sokolovo near Kharkiv in Ukraine when the on-going attack of the Wehrmacht was halted by joint Soviet and Czechoslovak forces. It was the first time that a foreign military unit fought together with the Red Army. Under the command of Ludvík Svoboda, later President of Czechoslovakia, the Czechoslovak soldiers effectively prevented any further advance of Germans across the Mzha river. Only ten war veterans from the First Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion are still alive. Some of them will be taking part in the upcoming celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
The pilots of two Gripen fighter jets on Monday conducted the first flyover above Prague Castle in more than a quarter century, launching, together with a military honour guard on the ground, a slew of commemorative events marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. And, on Monday, Prague Castle opened a new unique exhibition of never-before-seen photographs of Czechoslovak serviceman during the war.
In this week’s edition of Czech History we look at the situation in Bohemia and Moravia in late April and early May 1945 in the run up to commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. We draw on the recollections of US soldiers Czech resistance fighters, and forced labour and concentration camp workers seeking to return home as the hostilities ended.
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