Saturday, 23 July 2016

Historian, former Charter 77 spokesman Milos Hajek dies

ČTK |
26 February 2016

Prague, Feb 25 (CTK) - Milos Hajek, Czech historian, anti-Nazi resistance fighter and a spokesman for the Charter 77 human rights platform, died at the age of 94 on Thursday, his son Radko Hajek has told CTK.

During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Hajek worked in underground groups that provided false documents and hideouts for persecuted Jews.

In August 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo and in March 1945 he was sentenced to death, but he lived to see the Prague Uprising at the end of the war in May 1945.

Hajek was decorated with the Israeli honorary title Righteous Among Nations for the salvation of Jews threatenrd with the Holocaust.

Hajek, a member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, was in permanent opposition to the party leadership. He joined the communist-led reform movement during the Prague Spring in 1968.

During the "normalisation" period that followed the crushing of the Prague Spring, he was expelled from the party and lost his job, but he could retire as a former resistance fighter.

He focused on scientific work, but he could not publish his works that only appeared in samizdat or abroad.

Hajek signed the Charter 77 human rights manifesto and became its spokesman in 1988.

He took part in the legendary breakfast French president Francois Mitterrand hosted for eight dissidents headed by Vaclav Havel, post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech president, on December 9, 1988.

Hajek was a co-founder of the Obroda movement a bigger part of which merged under his chairmanship with the restored Social Democratic Party in 1991.

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