Over the last 50 years Czech-born US scholar and genealogist Miloslav Rechcigl has researched Czech and Slovak cultural heritage in America, mapping the arrival of Czechs and Slovaks in America from the time of the first settlers to today. In this Czechs in History we meet with Dr Rechcigl to discuss some famous Czechs in the New World, including the first Czech to set foot in the American colonies and the first to stay. Miloslav Rechcigl: Czechs in History... in America.
This week Czech Books comes from the Irish capital, Dublin. We talk to Dr Stefan Auer, a lecturer in European politics and society at the Dublin European Institute at University College. Stefan is originally from Slovakia, and he has taken a great interest in "liberal nationalism" in Central Europe. He wrote a book which has as its basic hypothesis the idea that nationalism, despite its very negative connotations for many in Central Europe, can also be a force towards greater democracy.
Czechoslovakia was one of the few states in Europe between the wars with a genuine parliamentary democracy. The First Republic, as it became known, was a multiethnic one: apart from Czechs and Slovaks, nearly a quarter of its people were ethnic Germans; the Tesin region in the north had a large Polish minority, while South Slovakia and Ruthenia were home to some three-quarters of a million Hungarians. Up until the Munich Pact of 1938 and subsequent Nazi occupation, Czechoslovakia was a magnet for refugees from Hitler's Germany, communist Russia,
It would be hard to find a person who is not familiar with at least one tragic story of the Nazi concentration camps. This tragic episode in history has been a source of inspiration for numerous writers and film directors, museums have put up many exhibitions, Holocaust anniversaries are marked worldwide, and television stations often repeat documentaries about the better known camps and their survivors. But while the names of the larger camps - like Auschwitz or Belsen - are etched into our memories, the smaller camps in the Nazi occupied Baltic
Founded nearly twenty years ago in a Sokol community hall in America's heartland, the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International now boasts close to four thousand members, from all fifty states in the Union and around the globe. For the first time in its history, this society of amateur and professional genealogists held its biannual congress in "the homeland."
In today's One on One I speak to Nandanie and Asoke Weerasinghe. Both are successful professionals in Alberta, Canada, thanks to their determination and a good education which started with a scholarship to study in Prague. Nandanie studied medicine at Charles University and Asoke engineering at Prague's Technical University. Prague is where they met; they eventually went on to complete their studies in Western Europe, emigrated to Canada and finally got married in their home country of Sri Lanka. They came to Czechoslovakia during the big changes
The Melantrich building on Prague's Wenceslas Square will forever be associated with one of the most significant periods in Czech history. Leading figures in the Velvet Revolution, such as Vaclav Havel and Alexander Dubcek, addressed delirious crowds from one of its balconies in November 1989 on a day that will be remembered by Czechs for generations to come.
At the turn of the 15th century, Wenceslas IV ruled the Czech kingdom. Unlike his father, the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and his step-brother, king Sigismund, Wenceslas was a controversial figure, whom we can neither solely praise nor criticize. While Charles IV had established a good system of government in the Czech lands, this was not a tradition continued in the reign of Wenceslas.
The assassination by two Czechoslovak soldiers of the Nazi governor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, on May 27, 1942 was one of the most daring missions of World War II. Heydrich had ruled the Czechs with unsurpassed brutality and was one of the masterminds of the genocide of European Jews. The impact of the killing of Heydrich on the Czech nation was immense, and the legacy of those events 60 years ago has remained controversial to this day. On Monday two exhibitions marking the assassination opened in Prague.