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Czech anti-Communist fighters awarded

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Prague, Sept 6 (CTK) – Forty-three participants in the anti-Communist resistance and opposition received certificates and awards for their roles in the movement in Military Club Prague on Wednesday.

They were awarded for their support of unjustly persecuted people, spreading of “samizdat” literature, participation in protest events or authorship of anti-Communist texts.

The awardees include rabbi Karel Sidon, Jiri Gruntorad of the Libri Prohibiti library, writer Jachym Topol, publicist Jan Rejzek, and Josef Janicek, a member of the Plastic People of the Universe music band.

Sidon received a badge and commemorative certificate from Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky for his support of those unjustly persecuted, as well as his work within the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted (VONS), among other activities aimed at the restoration of freedom and democracy in former Czechoslovakia. Gruntorad was awarded for writing, printing and distribution of samizdat literature and for his participation in protest events.

Topol received a certificate for the publication and distribution of printed materials aimed against the totalitarian regime and for his activity within independent initiatives, as well as for maintaining the connection between the Czechoslovak and Polish opposition. Rejzek was awarded for the authorship and distribution of anti-regime materials and petitions and for his part in further events aimed at the restoration of freedom and democracy in former Czechoslovakia.

“No totalitarianism can break the whole nation. There are always those who are able to resist force and face danger,” said Alena Netolicka, the Deputy Defence Minister.

So far, the Defence Ministry dealt with more than 90 percent of award applications of participants in the resistance. The certificate has been awarded to nearly 1400 people and a total of 79.8 million crowns was paid to direct participants, while their survivors received a total of 6.5 million crowns.

The awards were granted by the Defence Ministry based on the Participants in Anti-Communist Opposition and Resistance Law and drawing on ground data from the archives of security forces supplemented with eyewitness testimonies.

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