Masaryk returning to Kostelec, hat not in hand
To mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, the town of Kostelec nad Orlicí took up a public collection to erect a new statue of the country’s founder and first president, Tomáš Garrique Masaryk. But it won’t be a faithful replica of the original – removed by the Nazis and later melted down by the Communists.
But, as was the fate of many statues of Tomáš Garrique Masaryk in town squares throughout Czechoslovakia, subsequent totalitarian regimes looked to install new heroes, and the monument, unveiled with great fanfare in 1935, was torn down by the Nazi less than a decade later, then hidden by locals to prevent its destruction. Kostelec nad Orlicí deputy mayor Tomáš Kytlík:
“The sculptor Karel Bartáček, from Prague, worked on the sculpture intensively for many months. The statue will be 2.3 metres high – not including the base – so we are talking about a truly ‘monumental’ work. Typically, the president is depicted standing firm and wearing a long coat. Ours will be in a suit, with no hat in hand, taking a symbolic step forward – which is not such a traditional representation. In the end, we agreed with the artist’s concept. His ‘disposition’ will be a little bit different than the one people in Kostelec knew during the First Republic.”