In the run-up to the 66th anniversary of the end of WWII Czech public television featured a documentary throwing more light on events that have received little publicity in the past – the atrocities committed on German civilians in post-war Czechoslovakia. The subject has been avoided for years, but film director David Vondráček says Czechs need to hear about what happened and face up to events they may not be proud of.
A now famous appeal broadcast from the Czech Radio building on May 5, 1945, sparked the Prague Uprising. After hearing it on the air, thousands of people took to the streets to fight the Nazi oppressors. On Thursday, several events were held to mark the 66th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising, including a ceremony in front of the Czech Radio building.
This month marks the 60th anniversary of the official launch of Radio Free Europe, the American-funded broadcaster which was established as an anti-communist source of information during the Cold War and is widely considered to have played a critical role in the ultimate collapse of communism. Now based in Prague, Radio Free Europe continues to provide news and information to countries where independent media reporting is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed. In this edition of Panorama, we look back at the history of Radio
In the jumble of alleyways that is Prague’s Old Town, if you look carefully, you’ll make out the form of the ancient fortress of Ungelt, built over with baroque and renaissance facades, but still standing after 1000 years. This is the customs house of Ungelt, where foreign merchants came to store their wares, and a reminder that Prague has always been a cosmopolitan, multinational city ever since its earliest days.
The Regional Museum in Mikulov, in southern Moravia, has opened an exhibition of historic scientific instruments once used at the town’s 380-year-old grammar school. The exhibition highlights the beauty of the elaborate antique objects, and it also shows what role the school, founded by the Catholic order of the Piarists in the middle of the Thirty Years’ War, played in the town’s history.
In recent weeks, I’ve tried to capture something of the tense atmosphere of the time leading up to the Munich Agreement of September 30 1938, when the British and French Prime Ministers Chamberlain and Daladier allowed Hitler to carve up Czechoslovakia and march unopposed into the Sudetenland. The agreement left the country as a fragment of its former self; not only Germany, but also Hungary and Poland, claimed large chunks of Czechoslovakia’s borderlands. Here is how Radio Prague reported on the final border agreement, reached some weeks after
In today’s Spotlight Radio Prague visits an early Baroque palace known as Michnův palác in the historic quarter of Malá strana. Built in the 16th century, it first belonged to the Micha family before it became munitions factory in the mid-1700s. In the early 20th century, after the founding of Czechoslovakia, it was sold to the patriotic Sokol sport and gymnastics organisation, which renovated it and named it Tyršův dům (or Tyrs’ House) after its main founder.
In the last days of World War II, nine-year-old Ota Heller picked up a revolver and fired it at a German soldier. He did not wait to see if the man was still alive. For decades afterwards he talked to no one about the experience, and only recently has Ota Heller – or Charles Ota Heller, as he is now called – felt able to return to his memories of the war, collecting them in his book “Out of Prague”. In this week’s Czech Books he talks to David Vaughan.
Deep beneath the city of Prague is another city altogether, one that most people are completely unaware of, and that they’ll hopefully never see. It is a system of hundreds upon hundreds of concrete bunkers with their own electricity, water and ventilation systems awaiting the day that you might hear the air-raid sirens wailing.
This Tuesday marks 25 years since the shock of the Chernobyl disaster, when Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded, sending previously unseen quantities of nuclear contamination into the air. A radiation cloud spread over Russia and Central and Western Europe, with the first reading of the disaster registered more than 1,000 kilometres away in Sweden. To date Chernobyl is still considered the world’s worst nuclear accident, leaving whole villages and cities in the area abandoned. What is less known is that in the early