Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) – The Post Bellum Czech organisation which will decorate four anti-communist fighters on November 17, also wants to bestow the annual Memory of Nation Award on Jiri Brady, a Holocaust survivor whom President Milos Zeman has refused to decorate, Jana Hakova, from Post Bellum, has told CTK.
Brady, 88, who has devoted a part of his life to lecturing about the Holocaust and who lives in Canada, is a relative of Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).
Herman says Brady was among the personalities whom Zeman plans to decorate with state awards on the October 28 national holiday, but his name was deleted from the list after Herman met the Tibetan Dalai Lama in Prague a week ago.
Hakova said hundreds of people turned to Post Bellum last weekend, asking it to bestow the Memory of Nation Award on Brady.
She said Brady deserves it and Post Bellum definitely wants to honour him at its ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Nazi crackdown on Czech universities on November 17, 1939 and the start of the anti-communist Velvet Revolution on November 17, 1989.
It is not yet known whether Brady will be decorated with the Memory of Nation Award. It depends on whether he will agree with accepting it from Post Bellum, Hakova said.
She said Brady has met their request to narrate his life story for the Memory of Nation archive. The narration is the basic condition for a history witness to receive the award.
Post Bellum director Mikulas Kroupa said he would not like the Memory of Nation award to be perceived by people as a political protest against Zeman’s behaviour. The award started to be presented seven years ago, long before Zeman became president.
“Nevertheless, I admit that this sentiment can hardly be prevented in the current situation,” Kroupa added.
The four personalities Post Bellum is going to award are Czech women Ludmila Vachalova and Jitka Malikova, and two Slovak men, Anton Tomik and Rudolf Dobias, who together spent 28 years in communist prisons.
Vachalova was given a prison sentence at the age of 17 for spreading information about the conditions in an a camp for convicts.
Malikova, then a student of medicine, hid persecuted priests and monks in her flat. A court sentenced her to 11 years in prison.
Tomik, convicted of treason, succeeded, together with several fellow prisoners, in escaping from the communist labour camp in Jachymov, west Bohemia.
Dobias issued anti-communist flyers, struggled in support of jailed Catholic priests and called for people’s resistance to the communist regime.
The four personalities to be awarded have been chosen by several thousands of documentary film-makers, researchers, teachers and other collaborators of Post Bellum and the Memory of Nation project.
The award annually goes to the witnesses of the 20th-century history milestones, who proved with their lives that honour, freedom and human dignity are no empty words.
Brady arrived in the Czech Republic on Sunday. He said the Czech Presidential Office recently told him that he is to be presented with a high state award, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk.
However, his name is not included in the list of those to be awarded now that Herman, his relative, met the Dalai Lama in Prague last week.
Herman says Brady would not accept an award from Zeman any more.
Brady previously received awards in Britain and Germany, for example, for his lifelong highlighting of the Holocaust horrors.