Czech Centre New York to mark liberation of Pilsen by US troops

La libération en 1945, photo: ČT

A series of events are set to take place in New York and Washington this week to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by US troops. The main goal of the events, which culminate on Wednesday at the National Bohemian Hall, is to invite Americans to take part in the annual freedom celebrations, which are going to be even bigger this year.

Liberation of Pilsen, photo: Czech Television
Among those to attend the special programme at the National Bohemian Hall on Wednesday are WWII veterans as well as their relatives, many of whom regularly visit the annual Freedom celebrations in Pilsen. The most anticipated guests are Earl Ingram, one of the liberators, and George Patton Waters, the grandson of General Patton.

It will also be attended by representatives of the city of Pilsen and the Patton Memorial Pilsen museum, who initiated the whole event.

Miroslav Konvalina is the head of Czech Centre New York:

“We realised it was a great opportunity to present the work of the Patton Memorial museum in Pilsen. Their curator prepared an exhibition for us here at Czech Centre New York.

“There will also be another exhibition in Washington at the embassy and there will be a couple of concerts by the Pilsner Jazz Band. So this is a great opportunity to invite veterans and their families to the Freedom celebrations.”

Freedom celebrations in Pilsen, photo: Barbora Hakenová
The exhibition, entitled Liberation of Pilsen, will be unveiled at Czech Centre New York on Wednesday afternoon. It outlines the advance of Allied troops from Normandy to Pilsen, the role of General George S. Patton and other historical circumstances.

Ivan Rollinger of the Patton Memorial Pilsen museum, who curated the exhibition, says it also maps the many memorials to civilians and soldiers in the region of Pilsen.

“Even today, 75 years after the end of the war, there are still new monuments being erected to the victims of the Second World War, including fallen US soldiers.

“We still come across new information about the individual victims in the region, for instance in the Washington National Archive or in daily reports, and then we unveil new memorials to them.”

One of the co-organizers of the events marking the 75th anniversary of Pilsen’s liberation is CzechTourism. Michaela Claudino, the director of its US office, says they want to use the opportunity to promote the West Bohemian city as an attractive tourist destination:

Pilsen synagogue, photo: Ondřej Tomšů
“We are trying to show that Pilsen is an attractive destination either for a day trip or a weekend trip, not so far from Prague. It has several attractions, such as of course Pilsner beer, and the brewery, which are very well-known in the US, as well as the third largest synagogue in Europe or one of Europe’s largest squares.

“So we want people to realize that there are places outside Prague that are worth visiting and that have a connection to the United States. They can spend a day or a weekend there and they can also combine it with the unique celebrations that take place every year.”