President tries to defuse situation ahead of upcoming state awards
The Czech president’s spokesman has confirmed the head of state is considering presenting Auschwitz survivor George Brady not with a state honour but a separate award as a “gesture of good will”. The move is an attempt to defuse a widening scandal after the culture minister charged that Brady, his uncle, was struck off the list of this year’s award recipients as punishment for the minister’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.
That claim was denied outright by the Office of the President but Tuesday both his spokesman and the head of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindřich Forejt, explained that only an official letter – not phone calls – would have been proof of Mr Brady’s selection. Both stated that no such letter was ever sent. Jindřich Forejt:
“These are the facts: anyone due to receive an award receives a letter weeks in advance confirming they will receive an honour. In the case of foreign nationals or in the case of those with dual citizenship we also notify ambassadors and embassies to make sure that person has permission to accept honours from another country. These are the facts.”
“The list of recipients this year is closed and was counter-signed by the prime minister. But to show that he has no political reason not to honour Mr Brady, the president will consider the option of presenting him with an award at an appropriate time, as a gesture of good will.”
Mr Brady, who is 88, had maintained he was to receive one of the country’s highest honours, the Order of T.G. Masaryk. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, he made clear he was no longer interested in accepting an award from the head of state.
“I don’t need an award from anyone who didn’t feel like giving it – or had some reason not to give it to me.”