Freedom convoy marking end of World War II begins journey from Prague to Pilsen

US ambassador to Czechia Bijan Sabet drew parallels between the aggression eight decades ago and the war in Ukraine.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 28.04.2023 15:10:00 (updated on 28.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Around 30 historic vehicles and motorcycles that belonged to the U.S. army passed through the center of Prague today to commemorate 78 years since the end of World War II.

Enthusiasts in uniforms of the period gathered near the convoy, which will continue to the south and west of Bohemia. This is the 19th edition of the so-called Convoy of Freedom, which is held annually.

"Today we honor the brave men and women, Czechs, Americans, and others, who courageously fought against oppression and persecution. We solemnly remember those who lost their lives in this struggle, whether as soldiers or civilians, and we also celebrate the victory of our common values, freedom, openness, tolerance, and dignity for all"

U.S. Ambassador Bijan Sabet

Event organizer Mirko Trubek said that, after the convoy’s procession, individual military history clubs ride along the same routes of the Allied armies during the 1945 liberation.

The commemoration traditionally culminates in Pilsen; the city has been commemorating the end of World War II and its liberation by the U.S. army for more than 30 years.

According to post-war official statistics, the number of victims of Nazism from the entire Czechoslovak Republic for the years 1939-1945 totals 360,000 people.

Known as the Liberation Festival Pilsen, and taking place between May 5 and May 8 – when World War II officially ended in Europe in 1945 – the event will offer a rich military-historical and cultural program, including exhibitions, concerts, and commemorative acts. 

U.S. Ambassador to Czecia Bijan Sabet, who was present at the convoy today, made parallels between the 1940s and current times. He noted that another dictator is currently trying to “impose his will on the free people of Europe,” and that both Czechs and Americans “know what is at stake.” He reasserted the importance of protecting democracy and freedom.

More than 50,000 citizens of former Czechoslovakia fought in foreign armed forces in World War II, according to the Czechoslovak Legionary Community (ČSOL).

The ČSOL will on May 7 at 10 a.m. hold a remembrance ceremony dedicated to the Czech victims of World War II at the Olšany Cemetery.

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