A recent poll commissioned by the Post Bellum organisation which collects 20th century oral history recordings has found that while 86 percent of Czechs believe knowing one’s roots is important, less than a half of the population actually do anything about it. And that’s what the organisation aims to challenge, with a public contest searching for the most captivating personal accounts from the 20th century.
Commemorative events are being held around the Czech Republic on Friday and at the weekend to honour the late president Václav Havel on the fifth anniversary of his death. The former dissident, playwright and one of the first spokesmen of Charter 77 died on December 18, 2011, at the age of 75. One of the main events, a two-day screening of films related to Václav Havel, gets underway in Prague on Friday afternoon:
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.