The wartime president of occupied Bohemia and Moravia, Emil Hácha, is one of the saddest figures of Czech twentieth century history. An elderly academic, he only agreed reluctantly to become head of state after Edvard Beneš resigned over the Munich Agreement in 1938. He made the tragic mistake of remaining in office when Hitler marched into the country six months later. Hácha’s hopes of preserving at least some of his country’s independence were gradually worn down, and as his health failed, he eventually became nothing but a puppet of the
Prague has lost one of its best-known and best-loved literary figures. The writer Lenka Reinerová died on Friday at the age of 92. Her novels and stories, which drew richly from her adventurous life, were written in her native German, and she was often described as Prague’s last German writer. Lenka Reinerová was one of few surviving witnesses of the rich German speaking literary world of Prague between the wars, and she knew many of its best known figures, including Max Brod and the famous „roving reporter“, Egon Erwin Kisch. David Vaughan looks
Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the “Two-Thousand Words”, a declaration that was one of the first and most important steps of the national revival referred to as the Prague Spring. The manifesto, which appeared in several publications, posed important questions for the future of democratic reforms in communist Czechoslovakia.
The climate in Prague in the spring of 1968 was one of liberalization and reform. Laws were passed to abolish censorship and cultivate ‘democratic socialism’. As communist Czechoslovakia opened itself up to the West, the USSR looked on with increasing disapproval. On the night of August 20, Soviet-led troops invaded Prague to bring an end to the reforms. Some of the photos of the turmoil that ensued have just gone on display in Prague.
Many in the Czech Republic, which is home to the first pilsner, believe Czech beer is the best in the world. In the past, Czech brewers shared their expertise with the rest of world and breweries in countries as distant as Colombia, the United States, Turkey and Venezuela were built by Czech engineers. In this edition of Panorama, we look at the art of Czech brewing today.
The scene is Prague. It is just before midday on St Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1945. An air-raid siren begins to wail. In previous weeks, Czechs have got used to the sirens, as Allied bombers have launched raid after raid on German cities, but so far the German-occupied Czech capital has been spared. This time it is different. Not long after the sirens stop a fleet of American Flying Fortresses appears in the skies. 152 tons of bombs are dropped on the densely populated centre of the city. The result is 701 people killed and over a thousand
The summer months are here and with it tourists visiting many of the country’s most notable castles and chateaux. But one site you might want to consider visiting, somewhat off the beaten path, is Blatná Castle in southern Bohemia, some 95 kilometres south of the capital. It’s not an understatement to say Blatná Castle is something out of a fairly tale, overlooking a surrounding moat and deer park. Blatná is the location we visit in Spotlight today.
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along…We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.” That was US President George W. Bush speaking in front of the Israeli Knesset on May 15th. The statement was not only controversial because it was viewed as a political attack on a fellow American – Senator Barack Obama - while away from American soil, but
In today’s edition of the Arts we meet American scholar Kathi Diamant, who has spent years researching and writing about her namesake – Dora Diamant. Dora was a Polish émigré living in Berlin when she met Czech writer Franz Kafka for the first time in 1923. She became the great novelist’s last lover – spending the final eleven months of his life with him in a shared Berlin flat. Kathi Diamant has just written a book about Dora, titled ‘Kafka’s Last Love’. She spoke to Radio Prague’s Anna Kubišta about how she originally became interested in the
Astoria in the borough of Queens is where you will find the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, a Czech pub and social centre which first opened its doors in 1919. Today it offers one of the very few large spaces for al fresco drinking in the whole of New York, a fact reflected in extremely long queues to get in during the summer months.