The Bubny Railway Station in Prague, which saw tens of thousands of Czech Jews leave for the ghettoes and Nazi death camps, is set to become a new Holocaust Memorial. A ceremony at the future Memorial of Silence on Monday was attended by Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, representatives of the Israeli, US and German embassies as well as Holocaust survivors. I spoke to Tomáš Bouška, coordinator of the Shoah memorial and first asked him about the special “sculpture” being unveiled:
Saturday is the 70th anniversary of one of the blackest days experienced by the Czech lands during WWII, when US planes dropped some 150 bombs over Prague, leaving 700 people dead and levelling around 100 buildings. Foggy conditions had led the American airmen to mistake the city for Germany’s Dresden, over 100 kilometres to the north. I discussed the tragic error – and other aspects of the events of February 14, 1945 – with historian Jan Adamec.
Remembrance events marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, organized by the European Jewish Congress in the Czech Republic have strained relations between Prague and Warsaw and left Czech politicians fending off accusations that the country is pandering to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was not invited to attend the commemorative events in neighbouring Poland.
Public broadcaster Czech Radio has backed in initiative for a Vickers Wellington bomber undergoing restoration work in Great Britain to feature the markings of the Czechoslovak 311th squadron which flew with that type of RAF bomber in World War II. Czech Radio’s correspondent in London, Jiří Hošek, first learned of the reconstruction project last autumn, and came forward with the idea. What are the chances the plane could feature the colours of the 311th? And what is the aircraft’s place in Czechoslovak military history? Find out in today’s
The name Jan Valeška will be familiar to very long-term listeners of Radio Prague. After a stint at the station’s African service that began in the early 1970s, he returned to head the English department in the initial years after the Velvet Revolution. Valeška subsequently worked as a translator and two years ago published a huge dictionary of English phrasal verbs, as in act on, act up, act out, etc. Before we discussed the book, which was three decades in the making, I first asked him what language Radio Prague’s erstwhile African section broadcast
Later this month the Czech Republic will hold commemorative events over two days to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at the end of World War II. The initiative, the daily Gazeta Wyborcza suggested, has Polish representatives seeing red, not least over fears the Czech ceremonies could overshadow Poland’s own. According to the daily, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was contacted by his Polish counterpart over the matter.
Prague Castle, which is said to be the largest ancient castle in the world, covering an area of nearly 70,000 square metres, is set to undergo some significant restoration work this year. The reconstruction, which concerns for instance the Old Royal Palace and Saint Vitus Cathedral, is expected to cost some 290 million crowns. I spoke to František Kadlec of the Prague Castle Administration, who says the restoration of the castle buildings is a never-ending process: