Prague, Feb 9 (CTK) – Czech politicians have joined the unique project of abandoned graves adoption, which has been underway in Prague for a few years, and have spent their own money on preserving dilapidated tombs of their predecessors or other favourite personalities, Pravo writes yesterday.
For example, lawmaker Jiri Junek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) has adopted the grave of Enrique Stanko Vraz (1860-1932), a legendary globetrotter, situated in Prague’s Olsany Cemetery.
Junek has learnt about the graves adoption project from a Czech Television’s report, he told Pravo.
“I consider Vraz a personality close to me. I have paid a ten-year rent [for the grave], which was one condition. The other condition is to repair the tomb. I am going to do so still before the [October general] election,” Junek said.
Vraz crossed America, Africa and Asia on the turn of the 19th century and contributed to rare nature and ethnographic collections such as that of the National Museum in Prague.
Former justice minister Helena Valkova (ANO) has shown interest in the preservation of the grave of 19th-century priest Frantisek Josef Rezac, Pravo continues.
She originally wanted it to be adopted by the Prison Service, but a Finance Ministry’s decision bans state institutions from adoption projects.
Finally, Rezac’s grave has been adopted by the Prison Pastoral Care organisation, the paper writes.
Valkova told Pravo that the project is very useful since it raises the society’s respect for the personalities whose spiritual legacy should persist. She said she would ask the City Hall to earmark money for it.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) plans to adopt the grave of Frana Zeminova, a democratic lawmaker in inter-war Czechoslovakia, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in the same communist show trial that sentenced her colleague Milada Horakova and other democrats to death in 1950.
“She devoted her life to struggling for a better position of women in society. She was a trade union leader and one of the leading Czech feminists. It will be an honour for me to care for this woman’s grave,” Marksova told Pravo.
The project’s coordinator, Oldriska Dvorakova, said politicians and other participants usually have personal motives to join the project.
“In most cases, the motive is their closeness to the deceased person’s legacy. Some explicitly do not wish the information about their position of lawmakers to be added to their names,” Dvorackova said, referring to the labels at the graves concerned, which offer a brief profile of the personality buried there and the name of the grave’s adoptive caretaker.
The project involves more than 250 graves, 130 of which have already been adopted and most of them repaired.
More than a hundred graves are still waiting for adoption, including the tomb of 19th-century influential politician Julius Gregr and one of the leading painters, Frantisek Zenisek, Pravo writes.