Czechast with Don Sparling, a Canadian from Brno
Canadian by birth, Don Sparling found a new home in Brno. Among other things, he explains why he prefers living in the second Czech city rather than the capital Prague.
Don Sparling first came to what was then Czechoslovakia when the Communist government was trying to reform itself, introducing the so-called “socialism with human face” in the process that became known as the Prague Spring of 1968. Don was a student of English Literature at Oxford University in Britain at that time. Curious about what would happen to the country after the Soviet-led invasion crushed the reform process, he later applied for a teaching job at a state language school and spent several years in Prague. But he found a wife and new home in Brno, the second largest city in the country.
Being a history buff, he became fascinated with the history of the city that used to be a truly multicultural and multilingual industry hub of the Habsburg Empire long before WWI. In this episode of Czechast we also talk about how the relationship between German and Czech speaking inhabitants of Brno was complicated by WWII and decades of suspicion on the Czech side. But also about how the younger generation has been succesfully trying build bridges between the city and people whose ancestors were forcibly expelled after the war.