Prime minister gives award to member of Mašín group

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has presented a prime minister’s medal to Milan Paumer, a member of the armed anti-communist group led by Josef and Ctirad Mašín. The three killed six people including a cashier before and during a dramatic escape to West Germany in 1953; other members of their group were later executed. Last week the prime minister presented the same award to Josef Mašín at the Czech Embassy in Washington, the first ever official recognition of the group. Czech society is divided over their actions: some regard the men as freedom fighters, others believe they are murderers.

Author: Ian Willoughby