Zatec, North Bohemia, July 15 (CTK) – A memorial plaque marking the 70th anniversary of the Volhynian Czechs’ return home was unveiled on a railway station building in Zatec, which was the final destination of the first transport of Czechs from Volhynia, today.

Volhynian Czechs celebrate the anniversary these days, organising meetings and a trip to Ukraine.

The Association of Czechs from Volhynia is also trying to help new repatriates.

On February 8, 1947, a train transport of some 10,000 families or 33,000 people in total arrived from Volhynia in Zatec. They found new homes in the abandoned houses of Sudeten Germans who were transferred from Czechoslovakia after WWII.

Thanks to the care of Volhynian Czechs, the region did not become desolate.

“The memorial plaque is a certain reminder of the whole long history that the descendants of Czechs from Volhynia preserve,” association chairwoman Dagmar Martinkova told CTK.

The association publishes magazines and organised trips to Volhynia, in the territory of the current northwest Ukraine, which belonged to Poland and Russia in the past. Czechs were moving there from the second half of the 19th century.

The repatriates from Volhynia managed to keep their rich social ane cultural life as well as some traditions despite the obstacles of the then communist regime.

“Now the third generation of descendants lives here. Their bond with their roots us quite strong… The interest in trips to Volhynia is still enormous and it has even been rising recently,” Martinkova said.

The Volhynian Czechs are trying to communicate with current repatriates. “Those are descendants of Czechs from Ukraine, not only directly of Czechs from Volhynia,” Martinkova said.

The repatriation programme has worked since 2015 and more than 600 expatriates from Ukraine have been resettled in the Czech Republic within it.

“The government has released 40 million crowns for the implementation of the programme in 2017. Some 300 people are planned to be resettled this year,” Klara Peknicova, from the Interior Ministry, told CTK.

The current programme is not limited to a ceratin territory only, but it is open to all expatriates who meet its conditions.

“There is a high interest in the programme in the expats’ communities. Mainly when it comes to expatriates from Ukraine, the number of those who do not meet conditions for being included in the programme is negligible,” Peknicova added.

The events marking the anniversary of the Volhynian Czechs’return home will continue on Sunday when a commemorative meeting is held at a memorial marking the 74th anniversary of the obliteration of Cesky Malin, a Czech village in Volhynia founded in the 19th century. Nazi Germans burnt down the village and brutally murdered most of its inhabitants on July 13, 1943.

($1=22.842 crowns)