Saturday, May 14, 2011

Radio Prague Today 5.14.2011

Articles posted on www.radio.cz today

Křivoklát Castle

With the arrival of spring in the Czech Republic the tourist season is beginning to slowly re-awaken and with it a favourite Czech pastime - visiting the country's many castles and chateaux with family and friends. In that spirit today we visit the royal castle of Křivoklát - a most remarkable site with a history that stretches back to the 12th century. Found on a promontory of rolling hills overlooking deep woodlands, Křivoklát was a favourite of King Wenceslas IV. He used it primarily for leisure and sport, preferring it to his father's more famous Karlštejn, located in the same region. Over the centuries Křivoklát then served as bastion as well as prison; as fans of the esoteric will know even famous English alchemist Edward Kelley was imprisoned there, breaking his leg in a botched escape. Certainly, Křivoklát never easily released its own. Their histories continue to pervade the site going back hundreds of years.

Jan Masaryk and the experiment in vivisection

In 1938 at the height of the Sudeten crisis, Jan Masaryk was Czechoslovakia's ambassador in London. He was the son of the country's first President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and was well known as being both articulate and entertaining. He was also completely bilingual, his mother Charlotte being from the United States. But Jan Masaryk's abilities as a communicator failed to influence the politicians in Britain, when, in September 1938, they agreed to let Hitler take over the Sudetenland. Masaryk resigned immediately as ambassador and in the following broadcast he makes his reasons only too clear.

Unique WWII recordings found in an attic

Every year in May, ceremonies take place on town and village squares across the Czech Republic to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. Since the fall of communism, a particular effort has been made to remember the Czechs and Slovaks who fought in the British armed forces, whose role was long neglected by the communist regime. Recently rediscovered recordings offer a unique and highly atmospheric insight into the life of the Czechoslovak RAF pilots. David Vaughan has more.