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August 1968 Anniversary Program at Czech Center New York

Like every year, the Czech Center New York is commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the events of August 21, 1968 which occurred in Czechoslovakia. Those resulted in the end of the Prague Spring and the attempted reforms of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. A harsh, repressive regime took over and heralded an era of so-called normalization. This led to a wave of emigration, with many Czechoslovak citizens escaping to the West, including North America.

 

The Czech Center New York commemorated the tragic occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies led by the Soviet Union with the unique photo project: Dušan Neumann: I Saw It Happen – Prague, August 1968.

The reporter, Dušan Neumann, who spent the second half of his life in the USA, spoke to attendees in our online talk about the circumstances that led to him taking photos on the fateful day of the invasion, including speaking about the specific locations in Prague and the atmosphere of that day in the streets.

 

If you missed the live event, you can also take a look at the video slideshow of Neumann’s photographs with written commentary here:

 

To end the evening program commemorating the historic event, which in the year 2020 was marked by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in New York, the Czech Center organized a short musical get-together in front of the Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan, where young Czech actor and musician, Ronald Prokeš, paid tribute to legendary Czech singer-songwriter, Karel Kryl, by signing and strumming the folk singer’s most haunting protests songs which were written as an immediate reaction to the 1968 events, a single day after the occupation.

Watch video HERE


 

Miroslav Konvalina, the Czech Center New York director, adds, “We initially wanted to organize a small event commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the occupation, emphasizing the historical context and personal experiences of those who literally saw it happen. Ultimately, thanks to our online live broadcast, we had a larger turnout than ever before. Dušan Neumannhas presented his photographs on the web for the first time and we are glad that he chose to do so on www.czechcenter.com.”

 


 

For more info about the live event with Dušan Neumann on August 21, 2020, click here.



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