Thousands of people braved the cold this week, queuing up for hours in rain and snow, for a rare chance to see the Bohemian crown jewels which went on display at Prague Castle on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Who were the coronation jewels made for and what are some of the legends attached to them? Czech Radio spoke with the jeweler whose family has been in charge of their maintenance for years.
Franz Fühmann (1922-1984) was one of East Germany’s most widely read writers. He is also one of few that have stood the test of time. He grew up in Czechoslovakia in Rokytnice nad Jizerou, a small town in the mountains close to what was then the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. This provided the setting for several of his stories, drawing from his pre-war memories of the Sudetenland. They form part of his 1962 collection The Jew Car which is now available in English, published by Seagull Books and translated by Isabel Cole. David Vaughan
Fifty years ago on January 5, 1968, the news came out of the ongoing central committee party meeting of the Czechoslovak communist party that Slovak, Alexander Dubček, had been chosen as the new party boss. Dubček was little known in Czech circles but his name would soon be known around the country and the world.
Czechs and Slovaks are marking 25 years since the break-up of Czechoslovakia and the birth of two independent republics in the heart of Europe. What led to the so-called Velvet Divorce after more than seventy years of a common state and was it inevitable? How do Czechs and Slovaks feel about the break-up today? And have the two neighbor states managed to retain the special relationship born of many years of close co-existence? Find out in Radio Prague’s mini-series devoted to the break-up of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago.
A Prague court has halted a case centred on Communist persecution of kulaks following the death of a man believed to have been the country’s oldest defendant. His alleged crimes took place in the early 1950s when Czechoslovak agriculture was being collectivised, often using extremely harsh measures.
"It’s the economy stupid." That phrase underlying US president Bill Clinton’s first election campaign sums up one of the major fault lines in Czech-Slovak relations in the 20th century and many of the reasons for the eventual divorce. Separated, the two countries initially followed different paths, but the outcome has been surprisingly similar with one notable exception, the euro.
The two main architects of the separation of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago exceptionally shared the same platform in Prague on Monday to give their version of why the dramatic move was necessary and how it played out. Not surprisingly, both the former Czech and Slovak politicians agreed wholeheartedly that history had proved them right.