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Exhibition on first Czechoslovak president opens in Senate

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Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) – The Second Life of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937) exhibition presents a different perception of the importance and legacy of the first Czechoslovak president (1918-35) during 80 years since his death that was officially opened in the seat of the Czech Senate on Thursday.

The official opening took place on the day of Masaryk’s funeral (September 21, 1937).

“We have none like Masaryk to be respected by all,” Senate chairman Milan Stech (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said at the exhibition opening.

The current society is full of scepticism and negativism and it lacks real authorities, Stech added.

He also expressed regret at the fact that current President Milos Zeman had not found a few minutes in his schedule to commemorate Masaryk at his grave in Lany, the presidential summer residence in central Bohemia.

The exhibition presents documents and testimonies from the crucial events in Masaryk’s life. It focuses on his perception immediately after his death when he was worshiped and after WWII and the collapse of the communist regime in 1989 when he was considered a role model as well as the suppression of any memory of him after the Communists seized power in the country in 1948 when his statues and memorials were destroyed.

The new exhibition also offers photocopies of Masaryk’s handwritten notes and documents.

They include a copy of the manuscript of Masaryk’s proposal for the Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation by the Czechoslovak Interim Government, known as the Washington Declaration from 1918, and a copy of his letter of abdication in which the outgoing president wrote that “states maintain themselves by the ideas from which they were born.”

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