For this week’s programme we interrupt our chronological journey through the Czech Radio archives, and go back as far as 1912. Throughout this summer in Prague it has been hard not to notice posters depicting the Titanic as the great liner sank on the night from April 14-15 1912. They are advertising an exhibition of artifacts from the ship currently on show in the Czech capital. One member of the crew who survived was a young Czech waiter, Rudolf Linhart. He had been working in a London hotel in the years before the First World War and at the beginning
Fifty years ago today, three boys aged 14 and 15, boarded a regular flight between Prague and Brno. But they had another destination in mind – Munich, in West Germany. With no airport security, one of them had a handgun he had taken from his grandfather, and after some 10 minutes in air, they entered the cockpit and began to act. But the plan went terribly wrong, and they all spent many years in prison. One of them, 65-year-old Michael Procházka, recently put out a book, Confessions of a Plane Hijacker, which recounts the whole story up to his departure
Set up in 1936 primarily as a tool to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Radio Prague itself long served as a mouthpiece for communist propaganda. Since the 1990s however, the station is the only Czech public news service, providing information about the Czech Republic in six languages to audiences around the world. Marking Radio Prague’s 75th anniversary, the Czech-born, UK-based writer, and former Radio Prague reporter Benjamin Kuras and Radio Prague’s own David Vaughan discuss the most interesting moments in the station’s
Of course, Radio Prague would not have turned 75 if it wasn’t for our loyal listeners. We would like to thank you for your support and interest over the years, and for the many anniversary emails you have sent in. On the occasion of our 75th anniversary, we did something we usually don’t do – we called some of our listeners from around the world. Here’s one of them, Stan Schmidt. He listens to Radio Prague from Evansville, Indiana, in the United States.
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
In November 1945, six months after the end of World War II, the units that had taken part in liberating Czechoslovakia began their official withdrawal. Various ceremonies were held, first on November 15, to say farewell to the Red Army troops, who had fought their way in bitter fighting through Slovakia all the way to Prague. Then a few days later, on November 20, the withdrawal began of the American units that had liberated Western Bohemia.
In the last few weeks Veronika Hyks has been reading from the memoirs of Jaroslava Skleničková, an extraordinary story of survival in war. We have now reached May 1945. After nearly three years in Ravensbrück, the women of Lidice are now free, although they still face the trauma of returning home to find that the village has been wiped off the map and that all their menfolk and nearly all their children are dead. David Vaughan introduces the eighth episode.
Without question the town of Kutná Hora in central Bohemia is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Czech Republic, a town with a long and fascinating history. In the 13th and 14th centuries the site became increasingly famous for silver deposits which drew miners and production that would eventually account for as much as a third of all the silver production in Europe.
In last week’s From the Archives we heard about radio’s central role in the Prague Uprising against the German occupation at the end of World War II. Not only did the signal for the uprising to begin come over the air, but the radio also helped to co-ordinate the fighting. It also played a third role. At the time the Red Army was already approaching Prague from the east, and General Patton’s Third Army was in Plzeň just a few dozen kilometres to the west. Many of those fighting in the streets of Prague were untrained and had few weapons, and the
Ahead of the 43-year anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s invasion by the Soviet Union and her main allies on August 21, a new book offers a hitherto little explored perspective on this traumatic chapter of Czech history. Titled “Invasion 1968. The Russian View”, it explores Russians’ attitudes towards the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the trauma that some of the Soviet soldiers involved in it experienced in its wake. Sarah Borufka spoke to the editor, former Russian correspondent for Czech TV Josef Pazderka, about the Russian experience