Prague, Oct 26 (CTK) – Jiri Brady, a Czech Holocaust survivor living in Canada, received the Prix Irene prize for his contribution to reconciliation between people from the Irene group associating the Charter 77 signatories, therapists who help surmount the Holocaust trauma and other people yesterday.
The Irene group awarded him in reaction to the information that President Milos Zeman has changed his mind and will not bestow a state award, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, on Brady on the October 28 national holiday.
A scandal broke out several days ago when Culture Minister Daniel Herman, Brady’s relative, said Zeman had told him that he would delete Brady’s name from the list of those to be awarded if Herman met the Tibetan Dalai Lama, which Herman eventually did on October 18.
The Presidential Office has dismissed the accusation.
In her speech at the ceremony yesterday, the Jewish Museum curator Michaela Sidenberg mentioned the life and work of Brady, whose parents and sister did not survive the Holocaust and who has partly devoted his life to lecturing on the Holocaust horrors.
She said Brady deserves an award and it is unimportant that it has not been bestowed on him by Zeman.
Other speakers indicated that they feel ashamed of the developments accompanying Zeman’s alleged change of approach to awarding Brady.
“Nevertheless, as a result of his [Zeman’s] terrible conduct, you will be given many [other] awards and people will better acquaint themselves with your books and yourself,” one of the speakers said.
Brady’s daughter appreciated the support their family has received from Czech people.
She said the Presidential Office’s assertion that they never called her father to say he was going to be decorated was absurd.
Tomas Kraus, the Czech Jewish Communities’ secretary, invited Brady as the main speaker at a conference on Oswiecim next year.
The Prix Irene prize, awarded since 2003, bears the name of Irene Bloomfield, a British psychotherapist who taught a generation of therapists dealing with the Holocaust trauma and its transfer across generations in Prague in the 1990s.