Message from the Editor - Munich and St. Wenceslas

10 2005 Slovo redakce English
obálka čísla

"I no speak Czech" said a kind- looking man with a smile on his face as he entered the room in the Jindrisska Tower where we were just finishing putting up the last exponents of our Czech Dialogue exposition dealing with the 15 years of its existence. We all tried to help him by using any French, English or Russian that we knew. The man was an Englishman, a linguist and a historian.

"You have an amazing culture and a rich history. It’s a shame that today’s young people are not much interested in the history of their land. It may then happen that the tragic events of a nation repeat themselves," he added.

Three days ago we celebrated a national holiday, the anniversary of the death of St. Wenceslas. Some say, however, that it is his brother Boleslav who killed him, who is responsible for the existence of our nation since he annexed Moravia, Silesia, the Krakow and Cervene Hrady region to the existing Bohemia. Wenceslas is being blamed for being overly loyal to the Germans by promising to pay them with silver and oxen.

When I first came to London in 1983, I took pictures in Hyde Park of a black man whose thundering voice blamed the Germans for their expansionism and aggressiveness. That brought to mind my grandmother who proclaimed that she would never again speak a word of German. Not that anybody asked her to after the war, but she wanted to emphasize her aversion to anything German. Actually, it did have an influence on me along with the war films that we as schoolchildren were forced to see and which caused in my case a long-lasting trauma. A similar case was that of an arrogant Soviet military officer who visited our school or the gas mask drill to protect us from an atom bomb attack by the imperialists.

I am having interesting conversations with Mr. Slovacek from Oregon who is visiting here concerning the German menace. More shall be published about the subject.

Presently, I’m reading a book by Dr. Borivoj Celovsky, which also deals quite extensively with German supremacy. I greatly admire the man for writing in the few years since he has returned from exile 20 books. The latest one,"Germanisierung und Genozid – Hitler Endlosung der tchechisen Prage Deutsche Dokumente 1933-1945" was published in Munich by Stylus a Neisse. It came out in German and it’s a document concerning the Munich betrayal.

I was in Munich yesterday to see it christened. It took place in the Czech restaurant of St. Wenzelslaus. There were 18 of us who had come from CR but besides the publisher, only 2 couples from Germany. German journalists who had been invited did not come saying that they were not interested in that part of history, since there are no potential readers for such literature. We took a walk through town and had a chance to visit former party quarters of Hitler.

"It’s really amazing that at the end of the war most of Munich had been practically leveled to the ground but the Nazi buildings remained standing," said our guide Zdenek, an architect who has lived here since 1948.

At the gate we got the key to the room where the infamous Munich agreement had been signed 67 years ago. Today the whole building is being used as a music conservatory. I sat down at the Steinway piano and gently touched the keys. All became quiet. It was a strange feeling, a strange atmosphere that we felt around us. Then we went out on the terrace and looked out at Munich all lit up. I wonder if those gentlemen at that time ever came out to breathe in, the fresh Alpine air …

"Dear friends", said somebody from our group, and continued; "today it’s not so much a matter of a German menace, nor the yellow one when our parents warned us that the Chinese will beat us to death with their hats. It’s Islam now that’s on the march! Let’s just hope that those yellow hats will be headed its way. Otherwise may the Lord be with us …"

What do you think about that?

Eva Strizovska

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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