Prague/Brno, Oct 25 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will bestow the Karel Kramar medal on Holocaust survivor Jiri Brady, whose name was allegedly deleted from the list of people to be awarded on October 28 by President Milos Zeman, Sobotka said in a statement sent to CTK yesterday.
He added that he considered the fact that Brady would not be awarded on national holiday, October 28, marking the 1918 establishment of Czechoslovakia, and the circumstances leading to it deeply unfortunate.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said he would like to award Brady for his lifelong defence human rights and freedoms as well as humanistic and democratic principles.
A few days ago, Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) accused Zeman of having said he would bestow a state award, the Order of T.G. Masaryk, on Brady, who is Herman’s relative, on October 28 if Herman refrained from meeting the Tibetan Dalai Lama during his visit to Prague.
After Herman met the Dalai Lama on October 18, the Presidential Office decided to not decorate Brady.
The Presidential Office has denied the accusation.
Sobotka said a number of people turned to him these days, recommending him to award Brady, whom he had personally met during his visit to Washington.
“I am convinced that he deserves an award for his strength and courage with which he managed to survive the Holocaust and for his academic and enlightenment activities,” Sobotka wrote.
Sobotka said he appreciated Brady for conveying his experience to the public to warn against the return of totalitarian regimes.
“I am convinced that state symbols, including the national holiday on October 28, and pride of such people like Jiri Brady should unite society and people,” Sobotka said.
The commemorative medal of Karel Kramar is awarded by the prime minister for efforts to restore democracy and human rights and freedoms. It was created on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the first Czechoslovak government and bears the name of first Czechoslovak PM Kramar (1918-19).
Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told journalists yesterday that Zeman would consider awarding Brady on another suitable occasion as a goodwill gesture.
However, Brady would not accept an award from Zeman under the current circumstances, his wife Tereza said.
Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, will present a commemorative sheet to Brady, Deputy Brno Mayor Petr Hladik (KDU-CSL), who proposed it, told reporters yesterday.
Brady is likely to take over the award in Brno personally. He and his wife will return to Canada next Tuesday.
A number of leading Czech politicians have called on Zeman to decorate Brady. Some of them are considering not to attend the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle due to the affair.
In reaction to the affair, the Chamber of Deputies, the Palacky University in Olomouc, north Moravia, and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) have also decided to decorate Brady.