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One Minute Czech

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One Minute Czech

Coffee Break Languages

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Learn Czech in minutes! How would you like to be able to use the basics of Czech confidently and accurately? With One Minute Czech you can learn to do just that in short, easy-to-follow video lessons. You’ll learn just enough Czech to express yourself in a variety of situations, and the course is the perfect starting point to get a taste of this wonderful language.
 
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History remembers Gustáv Husák, the last communist president of Czechoslovakia, as the face of a spineless regime that ruled during the Normalisation era. He had risen to power in the wake of the Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring – a reform movement that Husák had supported. And while a political prisoner himself in the 1950s, he w…
 
On 17 July 1975 the first manned international space mission, carried out jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union. Millions of people around the world watched on television as a United States Apollo module docked with a Soviet Union Soyuz capsule. The project, and its memorable handshake in the heavens, was a symbol of détente between the…
 
This Saturday marks the centenary of the birth of Alexander Dubček, one of the most charismatic leaders of 20th century Czechoslovakia who led the country during the Prague Spring. A Communist Party loyalist, Dubček is seen today largely as a tragic figure, who caved in to Soviet demands following the 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia.…
 
A new book, paying tribute to victims of the Nazi regime who have a Stolperstein (stumbling stone) in their memory placed somewhere in Prague, is being launched on Wednesday. Titled Prague's Stolpersteine - Stumbling Stones - Defiant in Their Memory, it is the work of Prague-based Briton Trevor Sage, who has been looking after the city’s stumbling …
 
Following a decade of preparation, a permanent exhibition on the history of ethnic Germans in the Czech lands opened at the City Museum of Ústí nad Labem this week. The exhibition, entitled “Naši Němci” (or “Our Germans” in English), explores relations between Czech and German communities dating back to the Middle Ages.…
 
Fragments of the co-called Maloměřice kettle, a masterpiece of Celtic art, is currently on display at the Dietrichstein Palace in Brno. The kettle, which was probably used as a ritual object in Celtic ceremonies, was found more than 80 years ago on the outskirts of the city at one of the largest excavated Celtic burial sites in Moravia.…
 
Now, what do you think of when you hear the name Leonid Brezhnev who ruled the Soviet Union for 18 years from the 1960s to the 1980s? An old guy waving weakly from the Lenin mausoleum? Well, think again! We speak with Susanne Schattenberg, the author of a new biography that systematically dismantles the stereotypical and one-dimensional view of Bre…
 
Fred Weir was a third-generation red diaper baby from Toronto and a long-time member of the Communist Party. His uncle, trained at the Lenin School in Moscow in the 1920s as an agent of the Communist International, the Comintern and spent many years in the USSR. Fred had visited a few times, had studied Russian history up to the graduate level, but…
 
Archaeologists from the Rakovník Museum have announced a rare discovery from the Migration Period —­ a gold ring and clasp decorated with Czech garnets and almandines, which probably come from India or Sri Lanka. According to experts, the roughly 1500-year-old find is one of the most unique of its kind in Europe.…
 
From beer labels to literary classics like A River Runs Through It, trout fishing is a beloved feature of the iconography of the American West. But as Jen Brown demonstrates in Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West (U Washington Press, 2017), the popular conception of Rocky Mountain trout fishing as a quintessential…
 
In 1977 Václav Havel wrote a lengthy report describing his arrest days after the publication of Charter 77 and subsequent, often intense experiences. The fascinating text was lost for decades but having been discovered is being released on Thursday under the title I Hid It Somewhere. I discussed it with Michael Žantovský, director of the Václav Hav…
 
Today I talked to Ben Guest about his new book Zen and the Art of Coaching Basketball: A Namibian Odyssey (2021). Pressure plays, buzzer-beaters, and mindfulness meditation: A team of teenagers goes for the championship in Namibia’s professional basketball league. Ben Guest takes a high school coaching gig on the other side of the world. On the fir…
 
For almost half a century, the hottest front in the Cold War was right across Berlin. From summer 1945 until 1990, spying was part of everyday life in both East and West Berlin. I speak with historian Bernd von Kostka of the Allied Museum in Berlin-Dahlem who has co-authored with Sven Felix Kellerhoff the book Capital of Spies: Intelligence agencie…
 
For more than 400 years, the grounds beneath the Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod remained sealed and shrouded in mystery. Following the burial there in 1611 of Petr Vok of Rožmberk – the last of the famous Bohemian family line – not a soul has ventured into the vault. An expert team has now uncovered the truth behind (some) enduring legends.…
 
Today we are joined by Rebecca Joyce Kissane, Professor of Sociology at Lafayette University, and Sarah Winslow, Professor of Sociology at Clemson University, who together are the authors of Whose Game?: Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports (Temple University Press, 2020). In our conversation, we discussed why people play fantasy sports, how men and …
 
"They don't know me. They don't know what I'm capable of." Diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder, a form of autism, as a toddler, Anthony Ianni wasn't expected to succeed in school or participate in sports, but he had other ideas. As a child, Ianni told anybody who would listen, including head coach Tom Izzo, that he would one day play fo…
 
In 1985, an eighteen-year-old named Riho Terras arrived at the Soviet armed forces’ large conscript assessment facility in Tallinn obeying his conscription orders. Little did he know that 26 years later he would be a NATO General. Riho shares his experiences in the Soviet Navy with us in some detail. We hear about his service on the Soviet frigate …
 
Both a symbol of the Mubarak government’s power and a component in its construction of national identity, football served as fertile ground for Egyptians to confront the regime’s overthrow during the 2011 revolution. With the help of the state, appreciation for football in Egypt peaked in the late 2000s. Yet after Mubarak fell, fans questioned thei…
 
The battle between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns is remembered as one of the greatest fights of all time. But in the months before the two finally collided on April 15, 1985, there was a feeling in the air that boxing was in trouble. The biggest name in the business, Sugar Ray Leonard, was retired with no logical replacement in sight, w…
 
I talk with the writers and editors of Terrorism in the Cold War a new two volume book that uses a wide range of case studies including Polish Military Intelligence and Its Secret Relationship with the Abu Nidal Organization and Gladio – Myth and Reality: The Origins and Function of Stay Behind in the Case of Post-war Austria. The book sheds new li…
 
We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary with this interview, and so I wanted to introduce a special guest for today: Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, talented writer, journalist and dear friend. We’re going to talk—mostly—about Nur’s latest work: an essay for the collection Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond (Harp…
 
For older generations of Czechs – and European designers of virtually any age – “bentwood furniture” and Bystřice pod Hostýnem are synonymous. For it was in that tiny Moravian town that hundreds of thousands one of the world’s most iconic pieces of furniture, known simply as “Chair No. 14”, literally took shape. In essence, modern furniture what bo…
 
The current state of Czech President Miloš Zeman’s health and the lack of information provided by his office have raised a debate about the public’s right to information with regard to the country’s top official. Miloš Zeman is not the first head of state who has suffered from serious health problems during his presidency that impacted his ability …
 
During the Second World War, approximately 600,000 Czechs were forced into slave labour for Nazi Germany. However, a few thousand Czechs were also forcibly deployed in Norway. A new project called Noráci, carried out by a group of Czech and Norwegian scholars, traces the fate of these men, based on their memorabilia as well as on the memories of th…
 
Czech legislators are discussing whether to declare May 27 – the day of the assassination of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 – a “significant day”. The proposal is the result of an initiative launched by Prague 8 – the municipality where the assassination took place. The district mayor says he has high hopes for…
 
Emanuela Grama was born in the mid-1970s’ in a small provincial town in Eastern Romania. She provides us with a great insight into life in the Romanian provinces during the 1980s. Emanuela lived in a small two-bedroom flat and tells of her parents working in a factory while her grandparents looked after her. Her father listened secretly to Radio Fr…
 
The Czech Republic has the world’s third-largest collection of testimonies from people who lived under totalitarian regimes in the 20th century. That collection of the Memory of the Nation project, includes interviews with some 13,000 people who suffered under, fought against, tolerated or collaborated with the Nazi and Communist regimes. As the Me…
 
According to the results of a new study published in the academic journal Science, all known modern versions of Hepatitis B can be traced back to the same original version of the virus that affected people before they were even farmers. The major study drew on samples of pre-historic human remains collected by Czech archaeologists.…
 
The early 13th century Reliquary of St. Maurus is among the nation’s greatest of treasures. The elaborate Romanesque shrine, plated in silver and gold, and adorned with gems and semi-precious stones, is in itself an exquisite work of art. It also is said to contain the relics of four saints – not least, John the Baptist. Adding to its incalculable …
 
Today we are joined by Jessica Luther, a freelance investigative journalist, and Kavitha Davidson, a sport and culture writer with the Athletic, who together are the authors of Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan (University of Texas Press, 2020). Our free-flowing conversation covered the use of indigenous Americ…
 
Pete Curran served with BRIXMIS, the British Military Liaison Mission in East Germany. Their operation was established by a post-WWII Allied occupation forces' agreement, where British, US and French missions had relative freedom to travel and collect intelligence throughout East Germany from 1947 until 1990. Pete’s story starts with details of his…
 
Frank Olson was an American bacteriologist, biological warfare scientist, and employee of the United States Army Biological Warfare Laboratories. In 1953 at a meeting in rural Maryland, he was covertly dosed with LSD by his boss Sidney Gottlieb, who was the head of the CIA's MKUltra mind control program. Nine days later, Olson plunged to his death …
 
Squadron Leader John Robinson AFC (ret’d) was an RAF pilot who was tasked to fly into the mushroom clouds of nuclear bomb tests to capture samples at Operation Buffalo at Maralinga in 1956, and Operation Grapple, at Christmas Island in 1957. He tells of his recruitment into RAF, initial training and his cloud sampling missions as well his experienc…
 
Today we are joined by Petr Roubal, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History in the Czech Academy of Sciences, and author of Spartakiads: The Politics of Physical Culture in Communist Czechoslovakia (Karolinum Press/Institute of Contemporary History, 2019). In our conversation, we discussed the genealogy of the Spartakiad gymnasti…
 
In the autumn of 1951, Communist authorities launched a massive wave of agricultural “collectivisation”, forcibly evicting thousands of Czech farmers from their land and homesteads. To mark the 70th anniversary of “Operation Kulak”, a monument to the victims was installed this weekend below Mount Říp – a place of symbolic importance in Czech mythol…
 
We hear of Joanna's heartbreak when her visa is refused, preventing her from marrying Yuri. However, using an ingenious method she manages an emotional reunion and eventual marriage as the Soviet Union begins to dissolve. Details of the book giveaway are here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode200/ Part one is here and part 2 here Joanna’s boo…
 
A rare Renaissance shield, which was originally stolen by the Nazis from Konopiště Castle during the Second World War, is now being returned to the Czech Republic by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Representatives of both the museum and Czech institutions signed an agreement earlier this week, ending a several-year verification process.…
 
The Plant-Based Athlete: A Game-Changing Approach to Peak Performance (HarperOne, 2021) by Matt Frazier and Robert Cheeke reveals the incontrovertible proof that the human body does not need meat, eggs, or dairy to be strong. Instead, research shows that a consciously calibrated plant-based diet offers the greatest possible recovery times, cell oxi…
 
In July 1947, not even three months after Jackie Robinson debuted on the Brooklyn Dodgers, snapping the color line that had segregated Major League Baseball, Larry Doby would follow in his footsteps on the Cleveland Indians. Though Doby, as the second Black player in the majors, would struggle during his first summer in Cleveland, his subsequent tu…
 
Saint Ludmila, the first historically documented duchess of Bohemia, was murdered on the 15th of September in the year 921. Together with her husband Bořivoj I, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty, she sought to spread Christianity throughout the Czech lands, and was de facto ruler of Bohemia after his death, when their sons were too young to sit on t…
 
Joanna is questioned by the KGB and the FBI, falls in love with Yuri and starts to smuggle the bands' music out of the Soviet Union to produce the album. Details of the book giveaway are here https://coldwarconversations.com/episode199/ Part one is here and part 3 here Joanna’s book, Red Wave written with her singer/songwriter daughter, Madison, in…
 
Conventional wisdom about running is passed down like folklore (and sometimes contradicts itself): the right kind of shoe prevents injury—or running barefoot, like our prehistoric ancestors, is best; eat a high-fat diet—and also carbo load before a race; running cures depression—but it might be addictive; running can save your life—although it can …
 
Joanna Stingray was only 23 years old when she first set foot in the USSR and started meeting now-legendary musicians and artists of the Soviet underground. By 1985, she was writing and recording with them, and smuggling their music to the West in order to produce the groundbreaking album Red Wave: 4 Underground Bands from the USSR. This is her tes…
 
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Czech-born architect Jiří Boudník was working on a new federal courthouse in Brooklyn, three subway stops from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. After a second airplane hit the Twin Towers, and orders came to evacuate his worksite, Jiří Boudník headed towards Ground Zero, knowing – thanks to his back…
 
After more than a two-year break, caused by Covid-related restrictions, Czech archaeologists have returned to Israel to continue excavations at the Tel Motza temple. Experts say the discovery of the shrine from the time of King Solomon, which matches the Biblical description of the first temple in Jerusalem, could rewrite history.…
 
Over the past, nearly two decades, the Stuck in the 80s podcast has emerged as the go-to for all aspects of 1980s nostalgia from a North American point of view. And, much like Cold War Conversations, Stuck in the 80s is an award-winning podcast. Recognizing that decade’s popular culture was heavily influenced by the Cold War, co-host Peter Ryan org…
 
I speak with Aden Magee who operated as the commander of a highly specialized Counterintelligence (CI) unit in West Germany during the last decade of the Cold War. We talk about his book The Cold War Wilderness of Mirrors - Counterintelligence and the U.S. and Soviet Military Liaison Missions 1947–1990. This is a rare book that details some never-b…
 
Dr Františka Schormová was awarded Charles University’s highest academic accolade this spring for her dissertation titled “African American Poets Abroad: Black and Red Allegiances in Early Cold War Czechoslovakia”. The young literary scholar and translator is now working on turning it into a book, which will trace the circulation of African America…
 
A Medieval treasure encompassing more than 400 silver coins was found in the woods near the South Moravian Castle Lukov recently. Two members of the local castle society found them while picking mushrooms. The coins are now being restored and analysed, but should be put on view soon at the annual Lukov Castle Day on September 19.…
 
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