Czechs celebrate liberation

updated By Dean Nathan

The Czech Republic is commemorating the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Germany in 1945.

In Pilsen, where Te Kāea reporter Dean Nathan has been based for the last week, thousands have attended celebrations in the town square.  A parade of army vehicles and tanks drove through the town centre and citizens thanked the veterans who put their lives on the line.

Tom Ingram, a veteran of the 2nd Calvary Regiment, who travelled to the celebrations in the Czech Republic says the citizens turn out every year to give their thanks, “They don’t call us veterans, they call us liberators.”   

For the Czech people it’s been a long struggle to independence having suffered under Nazi administration during WWII and then Communist rule until 1989.  Lada Peskova who works for CTK, the Czech News Agency says the Czech people appreciate the cost paid by those who fought the battle, “Freedom is not for nothing, you have to fight for freedom, so I think we all do celebrate that.”   

This Wednesday the citizens of Pilsen will get their first chance to view the works of Gottfried Lindauer, who produced dozens of portraits on Māori village life in the 19th century.

His descendants in NZ and the descendants of the Māori subjects he painted will attend the exhibition opening, marking the event with a ceremonial return of his spirit.