The funeral has taken place of Milan Paumer, who died on July 22 at the age of 79. He was a member of the controversial Mašín group, who dramatically shot their way across the Iron Curtain in the 1950s. Though many people consider the group killers, a number of senior Czech politicians attended Wednesday’s ceremony, and the prime minister no less made a strong defence of their actions.
Jan Bubeník was one of the organisers of a student march in Prague on November 17, 1989 to mark the anniversary of a Nazi crackdown on Czech universities 50 years previously. When the marchers carried on to Národní St in the centre of the city they were brutally attacked by police, an incident which set in train the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. Bubeník quickly became one of the student leaders of the Velvet Revolution, and even served briefly as a member of parliament. Today he runs a successful recruitment agency. At its Prague offices
Milan Paumer, a member of a group who made a dramatic escape from communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, has died in Prague at the age of 79. He, Josef and Ctirad Mašín and their associates were fierce anti-communists and were extremely unusual in taking up arms against the regime. Some Czechs regard Paumer and the rest of the Mašín group as freedom fighters. However, for others they were not heroes but cold blooded killers.
Archaeologists have just discovered what they say is the first evidence that the Czech Republic’s most important pilgrimage site was inhabited during the era of the Great Moravian Empire; pieces of ceramic material found during a dig at Velehrad are being seen as proof that it was indeed settled in the 9th century.
A Czech noble has weighed into ongoing talks about whether the Czech state should sell one of Prague’s Baroque architectural masterpieces to its current tenants: the German embassy. For the Germans, the building is more than a 17th century architectural jewel, it is also part of their recent history.
The name Jaroslav Preiss does not create many ripples when it is thrown out today. Perhaps one Czech in a hundred could identify who he was. But at the birth of Czechoslovakia and in the 1920s and 1930s, Preiss was an economic and business colossus and contributed to making the country into a major industrial player between the wars. Chris Johnstone looks at the life of the controversial figure.
The Battle of Grunwald, where 600 years ago the Polish and Lithuanian armies defeated the mighty order of the Teutonic Knights, changed the map of central Europe. The legendary Czech 15th century general Jan Žižka took part in the battle on the side of the Poles. But Žižka was yet to become the leader of the Hussite movement and a Czech national hero. When the armies clashed at Grunwald on July 15, 1410, Jan Žižka was a ruthless mercenary ready to fight for whichever side hired him.
Prague last week hosted the 16th International Oral History Conference. And among the dozens of seminars, workshops and presentations, there was one about an ongoing project to interview cinemagoers and movie house workers in the country’s second city, Brno. The idea is to produce a picture of the cinema experience in the city over four decades. In this week’s Panorama, we look at some of the results so far.
Children of Stalinism is the title of a series of documentary films about the often harrowing experiences of daughters of political prisoners in 1950s Czechoslovakia. It has just been announced that four of those films will feature in the New York Independent Film Festival, which takes place later this month. To find out more, Radio Prague spoke to the project’s producer, Zuzana Dražilová.