Kramářova vila is the official residence of the Czech prime minister, currently Bohuslav Sobotka. I’m at a reception at the villa in honour of Miroslav Kusý, one of the few Slovak signatories of Charter 77. He is receiving the Karel Kramář Award from the prime minister for his contributions towards Czech and Slovak understanding. The event is attended by several notable figures, including historians, fellow Charter 77 signatories such as Vilém Prečan and Senator Petr Pithart, and the Slovak ambassador Peter Weiss.
The Czechoslovak communist-era secret police took an active interest in the Czech born first wife of US president-elect Donald Trump back in the late 1970s and 80s, according to newly examined archive materials. The StB kept an eye on Ivana Zelníčková after she immigrated to Canada in 1971, and later during her marriage to the American real estate mogul, who was apparently already revealing his presidential ambitions.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located in the majestic Baroque Černín Palace just above Prague Castle. The majestic building, as well as the nearby Loreta Church, plays a major part in a recently published novel titled “Chvála oportunismu” or “In praise of opportunism”. Its author, Czech diplomat Marek Toman, a guest in Radio Prague’s Czech Books programme earlier this year, works at the ministry and knows the building inside out. I began by asking him how he came up with the idea to make the actual palace the narrator of his latest
This Monday marked exactly 50 years since the death of Alice Masaryková, the first daughter of Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and his American wife Charlotte. A prominent figure in Czechoslovakia between the wars, Alice Masaryková is mostly remembered today as the founder of the Czechoslovak branch of the International Red Cross.
Che Guevara is probably one of the most famous revolutionaries of the 20th century. His iconic photograph, one of the best known images in the world. And for a few months between revolutionary episodes in his life, he spent a few months in 1966 at a secret intelligence villa on the outskirts of Prague.
It’s probably widely accepted these days that all countries spy on each other, even states on their so-called allies. And a book presented in Prague this week about the former East German secret police, the STASI, shows how it was true of the fraternal Communist countries of the former Eastern bloc, including former Czechoslovakia, as well.
This Monday marked an important anniversary in the history of the Czech lands. It was exactly one hundred years to the day since the death of Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia. The Habsburg monarch ascended the throne in 1848 and ruled the Czech nation for nearly seven decades.
Czech Political Prisoners: Recovering Face is the title of a book of photographs and texts by Jana Kopelentová-Rehak, a Czech anthropologist based in the US city of Baltimore. When the Šumava-born academic was in Prague recently we discussed the political prisoners, or “mukls”, she met and how they were marked by their experience of brutal communist labour camps. But first we spoke a little about her own life, starting with a key encounter in the 1980s, when she was taken in by Charter 77 signatory Miloslava Holubová.
Former Czechoslovak diplomat Vladimír Vochoč, who helped hundreds of Jews escape from Vichy, France during the Holocaust, has been recognised as “Righteous among the Nations”, the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Mr Vochoč is the 116th Czech to receive the tribute, sponsored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.