Barbara Coudenhove-Kalergi was born in Prague in 1932. As a member of the German-speaking minority in Czechoslovakia, she and her family were forced to flee the country at the end of the Second World War. She later settled in Vienna, where she became a journalist and author – ever with an eye on events happening in her old homeland. I joined Barbara at her home in Vienna to discuss her life and work.
The 100th anniversary of the revolution bringing the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin to power in Russia is being marked with discussions and exhibitions in the Czech Republic. Although the events preceded the creation of a separate and independent Czechoslovakia around a year later, Czechs and Slovaks were very much caught up in what was happening.
A new exhibition looking at the First World War and its impact on the people of Prague has just been launched in the Czech capital. The exhibition is timely, coming ahead of celebrations next year of the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, but suggests that opposition to the war and Austria-Hungary was far from universal throughout the period.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic David Meron on Thursday opened an exhibition recalling the contribution of Czechoslovakia’s first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and his son, Jan, who later became foreign minister, to the creation of the State of Israel. I spoke with Ambassador Meron during the exhibition launch at Černín Palace and first asked how the idea for such an exhibition arose.
The long-awaited film about Milada Horáková, a democratic MP executed by the Communists in 1950 and perhaps the most powerful symbol of resistance to Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime, officially premieres in Prague on Thursday evening. The film was made by Czech US-based director David Mrnka. The role of Milada Horáková is played by Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer:
A relationship starting up between a married woman in her mid-forties and a widower approaching 80 might still raise eyebrows even in these modern Viagra times. But in 1920’s Czechoslovakia when the man was the iconic president of the country, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (TGM) it would clearly have done much more than that.
Czechs abroad have always been an integral part of the nation’s identity, but in the years of communism this bond was broken. The cultural and political life of Czech emigrés and exiles, especially in the West, came to be seen as a threat. Nearly three decades after the fall of communism, something of this suspicion still remains, and in the Czech Republic it is surprising how little we know about the Czech diaspora and their contribution both to their host countries and to the idea of what it means to be Czech. The historian and political scientist