US Ambassador Richard Graber presented the National Film Archives director on Friday with unique footage shot by American soldiers in western Bohemia right after the end of the war. The footage, which had not been seen in the country before, will be identified, analyzed, and publicly screened in the very places where they were filmed.
The first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk is remembered as the founding father of the country. It was he who from his exile in Britain and then America in the First World War negotiated the terms for an independent Czechoslovakia. When he died on 14th September 1937 at the grand old age of 87, the whole nation went into mourning. In sombre tones, Czechoslovak Radio broadcast the entire funeral. The five-hour event was the radio's first major outside broadcast, using a whole team of the star presenters of the time.
Quasi-military organisations called the National Guards were established by the far-right National Party on the 28th October, the anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia. The move did not receive much attention in the Czech Republic at first, although Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic was quick to warn the Czech authorities of the danger of indifference. Meanwhile, top Czech politicians have condemned the idea of National Guards.
This week in Mailbox: We reveal the identity of the mystery man from Radio Prague's October quiz and announce the names of this month's winners. We also have a brand new competition question for you. We quote from e-mails sent by: Hans Verner Lollike, Helmut Matt, Pier Carlo Acchino, Jin Ok Um, Samuel Maddox, Charles Konecny, David Eldridge, Henry Umadhay, and Colin Law.
Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born
A large black 12-cylinder Tatra T 80 from early 1930s that was once the personal car of first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk was hidden under a pile of tyres during the Second World War. It was later featured in the collections of the National Technical Museum in Prague, and has just gone on display at the Chrome Jewels exhibition in Vienna.
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolin is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutna Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolin and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.
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.