Prague, Oct 26 (CTK) – Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova gave a symbolic key of the city to Jiri Brady yesterday as Prague’s expression of respect for the 88-year-old Holocaust survivor whom President Milos Zeman allegedly refused to award on the forthcoming October 28 national holiday.
Krnacova took the step in reaction to the scandal triggered by Zeman’s alleged deletion of Brady’s name from the list of those to be awarded. Zeman did so after Culture Minister Daniel Herman, who is Brady’s relative, met the Tibetan Dalai Lama in Prague last week, his critics say.
The Presidential Office has dismissed the accusation.
During WWII, Brady was interned in Terezin (Theresienstadt) and Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and he survived a death march. After the war, he emigrated to Canada, partly devoting his life to lecturing on the Holocaust and helping immigrants coming from Czechoslovakia.
“I never expected anything like this to happen. When I planned to go to my homeland, my wife asked me what I was going to do there for such a long time. We have a lot of entertainment now,” Brady said during the ceremony at Prague’s Old Town Hall.
He alluded to the uproar with which the Czech scene reacted to Zeman’s alleged decision not to bestow a high state award, the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, on him.
Krnacova (ANO) said she is glad to be able to hand a key of the city to Brady as an expression of her respect.
“Welcome in Prague, let’s Prague always be your home,” she told him.
Krnacova said many people seem to consider the Holocaust a matter of the past, but “the worst we could do is to forget the horrors.”
She said Brady’s life story was one of the motives that led her to present him with the symbolic key.
The other motive was that she disliked what has happened in connection with the planned presidential award for Brady.
“I think it is undignified and nothing like this should ever repeat,” Krnacova said.
Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), who attended the ceremony yesterday, said Jiri Brady is a man whose life mirrors the history of the 20th century. He still has a number from the Auschwitz hell tattooed on his arm.
Herman once again repeated that the Presidential Office previously announced to Brady that he will be awarded but subsequently it deleted his name from the list because of Herman’s meeting with the Dalai Lama.