Ever since Czech TV began broadcasting its own version of BBC’s show Who Do You Think You Are, many people have developed an interest in finding more about their own history, about who their ancestors were, where lived, and what they did. In this edition of Panorama, we discuss the boom in genealogy with researcher Blanka Lednická who a few years ago left her IT job and set up her own genealogy business.
A ceremony was held on Wednesday at Prague's Ďáblice Cemetery to remember those killed or incarcerated by Czechoslovakia's communist regime. Organised by the Confederation of Former Political Prisoners, it was attended by a number of political and religious leaders, who warned that many Czechs were succumbing to a dangerous form of political amnesia.
The run-down Praha-Bubny train station is now a fairly insignificant stop on commuter train routes going to and from destinations west of Prague. But in the early 1940’s, this was the setting for one of the darkest and cruelest chapters in Czech history. Now there are plans to create a memorial to victims of the Holocaust right in this station.
British journalist Charles Laurence first came to Prague as a child in the 1950s. His father, a diplomat, served at the UK embassy here, and brought his family with him. In the spy-ridden communist country at the height of the Cold War, he was soon targeted by the secret police. Fifty years later, Charles Laurence revisited Prague in search of what really happened. In his book The Social Agent: A True Intrigue of Sex, Lies, and Heartbreak Behind the Iron Curtain, he exposes Czech writer, and family friend Jiří Mucha as a man who spied on his father,
Last week Prague hosted an international conference that looked at the role played during World War Two by the London-based governments in exile of occupied countries. These included not just Czechoslovakia, but also many other European countries, including the Netherlands, Poland, Yugoslavia and France. These exile politicians played a complex, sometimes tortuous role in shaping not just the course of the war, but also the political order that followed. David Vaughan reports.
Few if any Westerners have been living in this part of the world for as long as Don Sparling. Indeed, the Canadian-born academic came to Czechoslovakia in March 1969, just seven months after the Soviet invasion that crushed the Prague Spring movement. He has been here ever since, for the most part living in Brno, where he eventually became head of the English Department at Masaryk University.
Like many child survivors of the Holocaust Vera Egermayer, started a new life in a new environment soon after the war. Her family moved to New Zealand when she was just eight and the country became her second homeland. A few years after the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia she returned to her birthplace as New Zealand’s honorary consul and faced the ghosts of the past, the murder of family members and her own internment at Terezin.
The City of Prague Gallery was given custodianship of the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace in Prague’s Old Town a few years ago. The gallery is finally ready to open the building to the public, and possibly make it one of its main exhibition and educational sites. Radio Prague headed over to the palace to speak with the team that is working on its new appearance.