Smoke from the radio - Barbara Day remembers

Barbara Day

We often complain about the times we live in, but in Prague today we are lucky. It was only a little over three decades ago that city experienced one of the bleakest moments in its twentieth century history, as Russian tanks rolled down the cobbled streets. The author and academic Barbara Day was in Prague in 1968, having arrived as a theatre graduate on a cultural exchange programme, and she witnessed at first hand the Soviet-led invasion, on the 21st August 1968. Here, in this brief snapshot memory, she remembers looking down over the city.

"I was living in a villa on Hanspaulka looking over from the balcony over the city and you could hear the machine-guns, you could hear the firing, you could see the smoke going up from the radio station and from Charles Square. Down in the street below there was an armoured car with Soviet soldiers reconnoitering, and at the same time the radio was on. It was that sort of intense feeling of everything happening and not knowing what was going to happen."