The former factory in the small east-Bohemian town of Brněnec, where Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazi Holocaust, has been a sorry sight for years. The former textile factory, heavily polluted with chemicals, has long been abandoned and has gradually fallen to ruin. Now, with the Czech Republic’s State Environmental Fund releasing funds to help clear up ecological damages, there is hope of seeing the landmark restored.
A centre mapping the history of the LGBT community in the Czech lands opened in Prague on Monday. The new space, operated by the Society for Queer Memory, houses an exhibition about the history of the Czech LGBT community offering personal stories as well as historical documents. I spoke to Jan Seidl of the Society for Queer Memory and first asked him about the aim of the new centre:
A veteran aircraft touched down this morning on Czech soil for the first time in more than 75 years. The Lockheed Electra plane originally bought by the boss of the famous Czechoslovak boot and shoe empire Baťa has just flown in stages from North America and will now be housed in an aircraft museum on the outskirts of Prague.
Among the numerous events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII is a photo exhibition from the Auschwitz Album - a collection of photographs taken inside a Nazi death camp. The collection, on view at the Prague House of Photography, is a horrifying record of the extermination of Jews in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp, which had never before been shown to the Czech public.
As his secretary for nearly a decade and a half, Vladimír Hanzel was extremely close to the late Václav Havel. In this the second part of a two-part interview, Mr. Hanzel describes how the former dissident adjusted to life as president and how he was changed by four terms at Prague Castle. He also discusses Havel’s relationship to music – and his audacious plan to get the remaining Beatles to reform in the Czech capital.
Just over a week ago around 300 schoolchildren from the West Bohemian city of Plzeň crowded into its art nouveau masterpiece, now serving as its main cultural centre, to hear from around a dozen men around 75 years older. The former US and Belgian soldiers were among those who 70 years earlier had fought their way through Europe and landed up, sometimes fleetingly, in Plzeň at the end of World War II.
A new exhibition located in the upper part of Prague’s Wenceslas Square is displaying dozens of large format photos depicting the square’s golden era, which is in sharp contrast with its present state. What was once a living city boulevard has in the course of past decades turned into a rather unpleasant and crowded street with fast food venues, which locals try to avoid if they can. Ruth Frankova has more in this week’s In Focus:
Few people were as close to Václav Havel as his secretary of 14 years, Vladimír Hanzel. Originally a music critic and computer programmer, Hanzel was by Havel’s side in his dissident days before serving under him at Prague Castle during four terms as president. He was also the first person in December 2011 to make public the news of the death of the man who led Czechoslovakia to democracy. When we spoke, I began by asking Vladimír Hanzel about his fateful first encounter with Václav Havel.