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Zeman apologises for failure to find Peroutka’s article

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Havlickuv Brod, East Bohemia, June 26 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman apologised Friday for that an article named “Hitler Is a Gentleman” which he ascribes to journalist Ferdinand Peroutka has not been found, but he will not apologise for his words about Peroutka.

He said so at a press conference at the close of his three-day visit to the Vysocina Region.

Peroutka (1895-1978) was a prominent Czechoslovak democratic journalist during the interwar period. He was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945. He left the country after the 1948 communist coup and later worked for Radio Free Europe. He died in the United States.

Peroutka’s granddaughter, Terezie Kaslova, has filed a complaint against Zeman, demanding an apology from him.

The disputes over Peroutka started with Zeman’s speech at a Prague conference on the Holocaust last January, in which he spoke about intellectuals’ failures in face of a crisis such as the rise of Nazism.

Zeman said Peroutka, one of the most influential Czech journalists, published the article “Hitler Is a Gentleman” in Pritomnost (Presence), a prestigious Czech political magazine in the interwar period.

Experts and the Ferdinand Peroutka Society have said Peroutka never wrote the above article.

In reaction, Zeman assigned his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek to find for the article, but he has not succeeded as yet.

In April, Zeman said unless the article is found, he will apologise, but later he said he will only apologise for the failure to find the article.

“I apologise for that the article has not been found,” Zeman said Friday. “But I cannot apologise for that I claimed that the article exists because I read it with my own eyes,” Zeman said.

Earlier this week, Zeman offered to pay 100,000 crowns out of his own pocket to the person who will find the controversial article.

Meanwhile, Ovcacek has posted other allegedly controversial articles by Peroutka on the web page of the Presidential Office.

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