During the enforced nationalisation of the hard-line 1950s, one class who came in for particular persecution were the 'kulaks' or wealthier, propertied farmers. As part of their efforts to destroy them, the Communists are believed to have displaced over 4,000 such farming families. Now - a full 50 or more years later - there are moves to bring to justice some of those responsible for what has even been described as genocide.
Starting next Thursday, our colleague David Vaughan will be introducing new series entitled From the Archives. As the name suggest he'll be dusting off some of the many unique recordings to be found in the archives of the Czech Radio. I asked David what drew him to explore the archives in the first place.
Karel Kryl, singer, songwriter and poet, was the most prominent Czech folk musician of the last fifty years. His well-known songs are to this day sung in pubs and around campfires, even by those of the younger generation of Czechs who grew up after his death. Born in Kromeriz in 1944, he began writing and performing after graduating from secondary school, and was later expelled from army service for performing songs deemed to be anti-socialist. He was exiled from Czechoslovakia in 1970, but continued to write, produce and perform until his return
The find of the century is what Czech archaeologists are calling the discovery of a 7000 year-old statue in Masovice, a village just west of Znojmo, South Moravia. Although only the lower parts of the sculpture have been found, experts say that Hedvika, as the statue has been named by those who discovered it, is a unique find in a European context.
Although the Czech Republic is better known in sporting circles for its ice hockey and football prowess, it also has a surprisingly strong horse-racing tradition, which dates back to the days of the Habsburg Empire. For well over a century, the highlight of the racing season in this country has been the Velka Pardubicka steeplechase, which is sometimes known as the "Czech Grand National".
On Tuesday a court in Prague began hearing the case against Ludmila Brozova-Polednova, the last living participant in one of the most notorious show trials of communist-era Czechoslovakia. In 1950, Mrs Brozova-Polednova was a 29-year-old prosecutor who helped condemn the democratic politician Milada Horakova to death. Now 86, she is being tried as an accomplice to murder.
This month the Canadian Ambassador to Prague Michael Calcott hosted a panel discussion at the Canadian residence recalling cooperation between Czech dissidents and Canadian officials in the years leading up to the fall of communism. During the mid-1980s, the end of the period known as the Normalisation, key officials at the embassy went out on a limb, risking careers to help dissidents and their cause, even going so far as to smuggle dissident writing, even going so far as to smuggle dissident writing (Samizdat) out of the country. Documents included
When you enter the gallery of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague these days, it is as if you have stepped back in time. Students of the university have prepared an exhibition dedicated to the housing culture of the 1970s - the era that saw the most building of standardized housing estates all over communist Czechoslovakia. Indeed, panelaky - grey, pre-fabricated blocks of flats - are a prominent feature of almost every Czech city or town. I asked one of the curators of the exhibition, Pavel Vancat, to explain its title: Husakovo
Sir Nicholas Winton, the British man whose foresight and determination helped save 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovak children from the Holocaust, paid a visit to Prague this week, and was given a rapturous reception. Now 98, this was his fifth visit to the Czech capital since the extraordinary story of his heroic deeds first emerged in the late 1980s. That story was captured in the moving documentary The Power of Good, by director Matej Minac. He's been showing the film in schools around the country, and organised a special event at Prague's Congress
Czech Books comes today from the Cafe Union in Prague's Nusle district, where I'm joined by one of the Czech Republic's most honoured and widely read novelists. Arnost Lustig, born in 1926, was sixteen when he was sent to the Terezin ghetto during the war, and went on to survive Auschwitz. After the war he worked as a journalist, and went on to become a novelist of international reputation. He is still very active as a writer, with all his work strongly influenced by his experiences of the Second World War. His recent novels, "Lovely Green Eyes",