Politicians led by President Miloš Zeman, soldiers, veterans and witnesses met in the morning for a traditional act of reverence at the National Memorial in Vítkov, Prague. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) then told reporters that he respects all the fighters who helped liberate the country from the Nazi occupiers, and at present the victims of the war in Ukraine must also be considered. The current conflict reminds us that freedom and peace are not a matter of course. “Near Kiev, Mariupol, near Kharkov, there is a fight everywhere for our freedom and our independence,” Fiala said at Vítkov. According to Senate President Milos Vystrcil (ODS), the current Russian aggression casts a shadow over the liberating legacy of the Soviet army in World War II. Today’s legacy is that it is possible to defeat any dictator, said House Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová (TOP 09).
On the occasion of today’s national holiday, Zeman appointed 19 generals from the army, police, fire brigade, prison service and intelligence services. He did not reappoint the director of the Security Information Service (BIS) Michal Koudelka, who was nominated for the seventh time by the government.
President Zeman, who in the past did not hide his positive relationship with Russia, then, together with other constitutional officials, soldiers, representatives of Prague and legionnaires, honored the memory of fallen Ukrainian Red Army soldiers and victims of the Prague Uprising in Prague’s Olšany Cemeteries. In his speech, he recalled that a number of Ukrainians had also fought in the Red Army during the liberation of the former Czechoslovakia, and that the Czechia was now repaying their debts by supporting Ukraine and accepting refugees from the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Yevhen Perebyjnis, said in connection with present-day Russia that fascism had erupted again where the words about anti-fascism had been loudest. According to Perebyjnis, the world fell asleep, as it did before World War II, when it fell into the trap of energy dependence on Russia. “The world wanted to avoid war and chose shame again. And it has shame and war, as always,” he said.
The commemorations took place in a number of other cities around the country. The several-day Freedom Celebrations culminated in Pilsen. The Freedom Convoy drove through the city with 260 historic military vehicles, in which war veterans aged 97 and 98 also drove – three American and two Belgian. After the past two years of the coronavirus pandemic, when the program was narrowed down mainly to online broadcasts, the festivities took place again in full form. About 60,000 people attended the Pilsen celebrations, about half of whom watched today’s convoy.
In Pardubice, today’s commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II took place without showing respect to Russia or the Soviet Union and its Red Army. In their speeches, politicians in Zborov Square resembled the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In Lety na Písecku, where there was a concentration camp for Roma during the Second World War, people remembered the memory of Roma and Jewish victims of Nazism. Pieta in this place is also a challenge for the company to treat fair minorities in the future, said the head of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil. The Minister of Culture Martin Baxa (ODS) described the pigsty standing on the site of the camp as a place of Czech shame. He apologized to politicians from various parties who had previously ignored or denigrated the dark story of the Years. According to the Museum of Romani Culture, the demolition of the pigsty bought by the state four years ago should begin this summer. The Roma Holocaust Memorial should open there next year, unless there are any complications.
The day when Nazi Germany capitulated in 1945 is celebrated by the Czechia together with most European states as a national holiday. World War II, with more than 60 million casualties, became the biggest war to date. The Czechs fought against the Nazis on the Western and Eastern Fronts and also in the domestic resistance in the territory of the protectorate occupied by Nazi Germany. The restored war celebrated the end of the war on the victors’ side not only thanks to politicians who enforced the recognition of the government in exile and the continuity of the prewar republic, but mainly thanks to tens of thousands of volunteers who took part in the fighting on the anti-Hitler coalition.
Source: EuroZprávy.cz by eurozpravy.cz.
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