Czech Egyptologists have an impressive international reputation, so much so that a new exhibition opened in Cairo this week charting the work Czechs have been doing in the field over the past five decades. The opening, which has received plenty of coverage here in the Czech press, was even attended by President Václav Klaus. Away from the pyramids and back in Prague, I paid a visit to the Czech Institute of Egyptology to meet research fellow Hana Navrátilová. She told me about the history of Czech Egyptology and its main proponents:
Several years ago the Jewish Museum in Prague launched Lost Neighbours, a project aimed at piecing together the forgotten stories of Czech Jews persecuted by the Nazis in the Holocaust. But most unusually, stories are researched and recorded not by journalists or historians, but by elementary and secondary school students. The aim has been to help young people better understand the tragic events of more than 60 years ago.
Monday marks 660 years since the founding of Charles University, the oldest university in Central Europe. On this day back in 1348 Emperor Charles IV issued an edict calling for the founding of a university in Prague bearing his name. Politicians, cultural figures and academics gathered in Prague’s Carolinum, the university’s historic building, on Monday to commemorate the anniversary. Related events are scheduled to take place throughout the year. Ruth Fraňková spoke to Jan Škrha, the vice-rector of Charles University about the history and reputation
In this week’s Mailbox we find out the identity of March’s mystery man and announce the four winners who will receive small gifts for their correct answers. Listeners quoted: Swopan Chakroborty, Helmut Matt, Jaromír Hauzar, Li Xuewei, Constatnin Liviu Viorel, Pier Carlo Acchino, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Ian Morrison, Colin Law, Charles Konecny, David Eldridge.
The Tatra car manufacturer in Kopřivnice is planning to renew production of some of its legendary models. The boss and co-owner of Tatra, American Ronald Adams, would like to produce a limited edition of Tatra 603 and the legendary Tatraplán T600. The replicas will look just like the originals, but the engine and the chassis will be entirely new. The first old-new models should leave the factory in about two years’ time.
The Lidice museum, which stands on the site of the Czech village that was infamously razed to the ground by the Nazis in 1942, opened a new education centre on Monday. Among other things, this facility will give visitors and scholars access to a detailed historical archive of material about what is considered to be one of the most notorious Nazi atrocities of the Second World War.
When Dr Jana Švehlová’s father was imprisoned by the communists for political reasons it left a deep impression on her life. After doing research into the psychological impact of such experiences on women like herself, she began a group called Daughters of the '50s which is a forum for discussion of often painful memories – and a support group for women whose childhoods, and often subsequent lives, were blighted by the mistreatment of their parents. When I met Dr Švehlová at a Prague centre cafe, she first told me her own family’s story.
Iva Drápalová has lived through, and documented, some of the most important moments of modern Czech history. Cut off from her family at boarding school - and then university - in Britain throughout the Second World War, she picked up the English that led her to the job for which she is now best known. Having returned to her homeland, Iva Drápalová became the Associated Press’s woman in the Czech capital following on from the Prague Spring of 1968. Mrs Drápalová, now in her eighties, has just finished writing her memoirs.
This sort of music may not make for the easiest of listening, and the title of the song ‘pal vodsud’ hajzle’ (something like ‘piss off, jerk’), might not sound the most welcoming upon first read. But, it is a good example of Czech new wave rock of the 1980s. The band? Jasná Páka – one of the best known proponents of the new wave in this country, and one of the communist regime’s biggest thorns in the side. Jasná Páka reunited this week for a one-off concert to open a new exhibition at Prague’s Pop Museum called ‘Nová vlna se starým obsahem’ (‘New Wave
At the end of September 1941, Hitler appointed Reinhard Heydrich as acting Reichsprotektor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia. The radio reported on his inauguration at Prague Castle, and the sound of the SS military band hammering out the German national anthem followed by the Horst Wessel song still sends a shiver down the spine.