Major reenactment of "Battle for Czech Radio" held in Prague
Some of the last fighting of the war took place in Prague, long after most cities in Europe had been liberated. On May 5, 1945 Prague rose up against the collapsing Nazi regime, but some 3,000 people were killed in fierce fighting before the Russians liberated the city four days later. Czech Radio was at the centre of the Prague Uprising, and a large and dramatic reenactment of the battle for the station was held on Saturday.
Czech Radio appeals for help from the Allied forces based in Pilsen on May 6, 1945, on the second day of the four-day Prague Uprising; the Uprising began when Czech Radio broadcasters managed to gain control of the station from the Nazi occupiers, and barricaded themselves inside. A similar call was made by an unknown Scottish escaped prisoner of war, who somehow ended up in our building here on Vinohradska Street.
Scottish man: "We are calling urgently for our allies to help. Send immediately tanks and aircraft. Help us defend Prague. At present we are broadcasting from the broadcasting station, and outside there is a battle raging."
Alexandr Picha: "We didn't need much research, because we had a lot of photographs and a lot of memories of insurgents. But it was a very big deal to prepare this event. We had prepared it for six months."
Alexandr Picha was the main organiser of the reenactment of the "Battle for the Radio". What for him was the highlight of the whole event?
How many of the old veterans from that time were here today?
"About 15 who fought for Czech Radio and about 20 who fought [elsewhere] in the Prague Uprising."
I see you are wearing a gold medal. I believe you gave the same gold medal to some of these veterans earlier.
"This gold medal is a replica of the old silver medal which was given in 1945."
"I was here as a 17-year-old boy scout, and I fought here in this building with police, gendarmerie and Czech soldiers, like you have seen in this reconstruction."
Earlier I saw you carrying an old flag - what was that old flag?
"This flag is the flag of the Radio fighters."
He describes the reenactment as realistic and moving, and recalls the spirit of camaraderie between those who fought to defend the station.
"We called one another brother, brother."
Did you have any friends who died here in 1945?
"Many, many - their names are there on the plaque."
Lubor Suslik, a 17-year-old scout in 1945, referring there to a plaque in the entrance to our Czech Radio building, reminding us of those who came before us, and who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of freedom.