Czech born Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka’s unique collection of photographs documenting the 1968 Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia opened at the Lumiere Brothers Gallery in Moscow on Friday. At the exhibition’s opening the photographer said he hoped the unique testimony would help dispel the myth that the invasion of Czechoslovakia was an act of solidarity with its people.
In this edition of Czech history, we look at the development of Czech-American relations over the past two decades. Ever since the fall of the Iron Curtain, they have been the pivot of Czech foreign policy. But after the euphoria of the Velvet Revolution and the era of Washington’s fascination with Václav Havel, these relations today are like a 20-year old marriage with no sex – at least according to some current and former diplomats who appeared in Friday’s debate hosted by the Foreign Ministry.
A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) was one of the best-known and most influential British historians of the 20th century. He is remembered in particular for his provocative left-wing political views and his conviction that German history made the country uniquely inclined towards aggression and expansionism. This made him an ardent opponent of attempts to rebuild Germany’s economy after the war, and a strong supporter of Czechoslovakia’s growing alliance with the Soviet Union. In July 1946, just after elections which saw the Communists emerge as the strongest single
A new documentary that will premiere in Czech cinemas next week depicts the lesser known part of the life of the Czech-born actor Jiří (or George) Voskovec. In his homeland, he is best known as the co-founder and co-star of Prague’s pre-war avant-garde theatre troupe, the Liberated Theatre. Having spent the war in exile in New York, Jiří Voskovec again moved to the US after the 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. The new film, entitled My Father George Voskovec, follows his daughter Gigi retracing her father’s life, from the difficult beginnings
I had never really been inside or had a proper look around, but I was sure the small church of St Martin in the Wall would have an interesting story, if for no other reason than its ancient appearance and peculiar name. Just off the central Národní třída is a classic Prague alleyway that’s tucked away from the shopping boulevard, neatly dividing the centuries from one another, and there you’ll find it. One of the oldest churches in the city, St Martin in the Wall is one of those relatively few landmarks whose story can transport you all the way
On Wednesday October 5th, history came round full circle in Prague as a bronze statue of US President Woodrow Wilson was unveiled outside the city’s Main Railway Station. The original 3.5 metre tall monument by Czech-American sculptor Albín Polášek was funded by Americans of Czech and Slovak descent and erected on 4th July 1928. It was pulled down by the Nazis 70 years ago and a restored copy has just been re-erected by the non-profit organization The American Friends of the Czech Republic.
During World War II, the political left in Britain and the United States had come to identify itself strongly with the fate of the Czech nation. This was partly a reaction to the shame of Munich in 1938, when Czechoslovakia had been abandoned by her allies, and it was reinforced by the role played by the British miners in launching the Lidice Shall Live movement. This had followed the Nazis’ destruction of the Czech mining village of Lidice in June 1942. In this spirit the president of the British Miners’ Federation Will Lawther, came at the end
For the occasion of September 28, I’m here at a place that some people actually call the real centre of the Czech Republic. Not the geographic centre to be sure, but certainly the focal point for much of the Czech Republic’s rocky modern-day history. It’s a statue of a man on a horse (which people call ‘the horse’ when they arrange one of the hundreds of meetings that take place here each day). But it’s of course the man on the horse that has overseen everything over the last hundred years from the declaration of Czechoslovak independence to the
One of Prague’s best known German-language authors was Egon Erwin Kisch, who was born in the Czech capital 125 years ago this Thursday. His excellent style and original choice of stories, together with his dramatic life, earned him a reputation of the ‘Raging Reporter’ that is still very much alive today.