Holocaust survivor George Brady honoured by the PM and Parliament

Jiří Brady and Bohuslav Sobotka, photo: ČTK

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday bestowed the Karel Kramář Memorial Medal on Holocaust survivor George Brady in recognition of his life-long work for democracy and human rights. The Auschwitz survivor, who was reportedly crossed off the list of nominees for a state award from President Zeman, has become a central figure in the Czechoslovak Independence Day celebrations getting recognition from institutions around the country.

Jiří Brady and Bohuslav Sobotka, photo: ČTK
Just a week ago, few people in this country recognized the name Jiri Brady or George Brady, 88, as he is known in Canada where he emigrated in 1948. The scandal surrounding the Czech-born Terezín and Auschwitz survivor, following reports that he had been crossed off the list of nominees for a state award because his nephew Culture Minister Daniel Herman met with the Dalai Lama against the presidents wishes, has made George Brady a household name. Politicians, academics and cultural institutions have been vying to meet with him and show respect and recognition for his work.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday presented George Brady with the Karel Kramář Memorial Medal (established in memory of Czechoslovakia’s first prime minister) for his tireless efforts in support of democracy and human rights. The prime minister said he was proud to meet with and recognize George Brady.

“I think that the Czech state owes George Brady recognition and I am happy to be able to present him with the Karel Kramář Memorial Medal. George Brady is a man the Czech Republic should be proud of; his life-story is one that should unite us. ”

Less than an hour later George Brady was given a standing ovation in the lower house of Parliament, where its speaker Jan Hamáček presented him with a memorial medal and certificate in recognition of his work.

The initiative to honour him came from the assembly’s former speaker, opposition Civic Democrat MP Miroslava Němcová who did not mince her words in criticizing President Milos Zeman for failing to honour the Holocaust survivor with a state award.

Mr. Brady with the symbolic key to the city, photo: ČTK
“This is our response to the actions of Prague Castle. People are outraged and insulted by what happened to George Brady and they want recognition for him. Everyone is trying to think of a way to atone for the humiliation, to find a way of telling Mr. Brady “we are not all like that”.

Prague City Hall likewise honoured Mr. Brady this week at a ceremony where he was declared honorary citizen and presented with a symbolic key to the city. Recognition for the Holocaust survivor also came from the Jewish Community and Olomouc University which is to present George Brady with an academic award for his work with students.

The 88-year-old Brady, who indicated this was his last trip to his homeland, was close to tears as he voiced his thanks for the show of support and recognition coming from all sides.

“I think the president did me a great favour by withholding a state distinction, because now I am getting so many awards that I don’t see the end of it.”

George Brady is expected to be guest of honour at Czechoslovak Independence Day celebrations on Prague’s Old Town Square on Friday to be attended by politicians, cultural figures and religious leaders who plan to stay away from the official celebrations at Prague Castle in protest against the president’s policies.