Cities across Czechia commemorate 78 years since the end of World War II

High-ranking state officials took part in a memorial service held today at the National Memorial in Prague's Vítkov. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.05.2023 11:51:00 (updated on 08.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech politicians assembled this morning at the National Memorial in Prague's Vítkov to commemorate victims of World War II. The war in Ukraine was one of the main topics of their speeches, according to iDnes.

The politicians who took part in the ceremony included President Petr Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Minister of Defense Jana Černochová, President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, Chief of the General Staff Karel Řehka, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Markéta Pekarová Adamová.

Pavel spoke about the parallels between the aggression in Ukraine and Nazi Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in 1938 and also mentioned that he saw Ukrainian soldiers as heroes. "I am proud that the Czech Republic has supported Ukraine from the first minute and wants to preserve its honor," he said.

Minister of Defense Jana Černochová also emphasized that the Czech Republic was fortunate to join international organizations such as NATO. "As a country, we are very lucky to have been able to join NATO, many other countries were not so lucky, and no one will dare to do that to us," Černochová said.

An important location on the V-Day map

The largest celebration of the end of World War II in the Czech Republic happened this weekend in Pilsen, where thousands of people with Czech, American, and Belgian flags welcomed the Convoy of Freedom yesterday, ČTK reports.

A parade of more than 280 pieces of historic military equipment, the convoy is one of the highlights of Plzen's annual Freedom Festival, which is also one of the largest celebrations of its kind in Europe.

Until last year, American and Belgian veterans who liberated the city in May 1945 had pride of place on Jeep vehicles in the convoy. This year, for the first time, their family members rode in the Jeeps with bouquets of lilacs and photos of the veterans in their hands, while onlookers applauded and cheered them on.

The fighting head of the parade was the heavy equipment of the 16th Armored Division, which was the first to enter Plzen on the morning of May 6, 1945, spearheaded by the legendary American M4 Sherman medium tank.

The town of Rokycany, where the American and Soviet armies met during the liberation of Czechoslovakia in May 1945, also celebrated the anniversary with a parade attended by 6,500 people, Deník N reports.

No Russians invited this year

The Museum on the Demarcation Line in Rokycany, the largest non-state military museum in the Czech Republic, hosted the celebrations, which included representatives of Russia in previous years. This year, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the local city hall did not send an invitation to the celebrations at the Russian embassy or hang Russian flags in the city. 

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