The first commemorative event took place already on April 15 at the memorials in the Silesian village of Sudice, where the so-called Ostrava operation of the Red Army began. The commemoration took place as last year, i.e. without representatives of Russia, who were not invited this time either.
“Another change was that World War II veterans no longer participated in the event. Currently, we can count up to twenty of them, and most of them are already sick and their age makes it impossible for them to participate,” Martin Ogořálek, spokesman for the Ostrava regional headquarters, told Práv.
Patton’s grandson arrives
While the beginning of the Ostrava operation is traditionally commemorated in Sudice, its end associated with the liberation of Ostrava always culminates at the Red Army monument in Ostrava’s Comenius Gardens. The traditional event was not held here for the first time last year, and it will be similar this year.
“Due to the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, we will not hold the previously traditional ceremonial act with military honors. However, an ecumenical service is being prepared, which will take place on April 28 in the church of St. Václav in Ostrava,” Gabriela Pokorná, spokeswoman for the Ostrava town hall, told Práva. People will be able to honor the memory of the victims of the battles throughout the day at the memorial in Comenské sady. The representatives of the city management will do the same.
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Part of this year’s liberation celebrations in the Opava Region will also be a series of commemorative events organized by the Czechoslovak legionary community. It starts on Friday, April 28 in Sudice and will continue through Bolatice, Štítina, Dolní Lhota and Čavisov to Ostrava-Vítkovice. At war memorials, or at the graves of war heroes, short devotional gatherings are arranged with the participation of mayors, sometimes with a cultural performance by elementary school students.
Pilsen will commemorate the liberation by the American army at the traditional Freedom Celebrations, from Friday 5th to Monday 8th May. But for the first time without the participation of war veterans from the USA and Belgium. “Some left us, some were unable to do so due to their health,” said Mayor Roman Zarzycký (ANO). The official invitation went to the last six addresses, unfortunately not a single one received a positive response. However, family members of war heroes will arrive in Pilsen, including George Patton Waters, the grandson of the legendary general.
As every year, period army camps will be visible in the city, and the most anticipated point of the program, the passage of a convoy of approximately two hundred historical military vehicles, will take place on Sunday morning. The so-called liberation convoy will leave this Friday morning from the American Embassy in Prague. Due to the war in Ukraine, the combat demonstrations did not take place last year, and the organizers will not return to them.
Kroměříž will also commemorate the anniversary of liberation in the first week of May. “The celebration will be a reverent act at the Romanian soldiers’ memorial on May 3, which will be complemented by a meeting a day later at the grave of Ludvík Svoboda at the local cemetery,” explained mayor Tomáš Opatrný (ANO).
The Prague Uprising
In Brno, on May 8, a commemorative event will take place in the area of the Kounice dormitories. The event will start at 10am. “However, we do not know who will arrive at this time. We don’t even require confirmation,” municipality spokesman Filip Poňuchálek told Práv. The town hall did not invite the representative of the Russian party.
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Last weekend, a commemorative event for the end of the Second World War took place under the Veveří Castle near Brno. The organizers emphasize that it was a tribute to all the soldiers participating in the liberation of Czechoslovakia.
“A significant part of them were Ukrainians in the Red Army. There were, of course, Czechoslovaks, Romanians, Hungarians and representatives of other countries. If we didn’t organize our event, we would forget about them, and they definitely don’t deserve that considering what they did for us,” said stage creator Ivan Vystrčil with the Acaballado association.
No more events have yet been reported in Prague for the 78th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the town hall and state institutions have not yet announced them. Until yesterday, the only announced gathering was the KSČM pieta on Kinských Square in Prague 5, where Soviet tank No. 23 stood on a high plinth, which, however, did not arrive at this location in May 1945. The Communists called their assembly on May 9, which they continue to consider “the day of liberation from fascism”.
Precisely May 9 was revered in Czechoslovakia due to the arrival of the Red Army in Prague as the end of the war until the Velvet Revolution. This was followed by a logical nod to May 8, the European Victory Day. After all, on May 8, 1946 at 4:00 p.m., German General Rudolf Toussaint, who commanded the units fighting against the Prague Uprising, signed the capitulation in front of the Czech National Council. The Russian tanks arrived later.
Politicians, falconers, scouts and witnesses in Prague traditionally commemorate the Prague Uprising at the Czech Radio building, where it broke out on May 5, 1945.
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