H.E. Mr. Jirí Sitler, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Bucharest speaks about his Embassy’s recent projects aimed at raising the awareness of the general public on crucial moments in bilateral mutual history.
This year, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the World War I, or the Great War, how it was known back then. At the end of this conflict, on October 28, 1918, the democratic Republic of Czechoslovakia emerged as an independent country, united by alliance with the Kingdom of Romania. We Czechs still celebrate this date as our National Day.
Our partnership was reinforced 20 years ago, by signing the Agreement on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between the Czech Republic and Romania, and culminated this year by visits to Romania by President Milos Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and most recently on October 6, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek. It was symbolical, that – besides discussing the bilateral economic and cultural cooperation, the EU-related issues, and the consequences of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict to our region – our minister signed, together with Minister of External
Affairs of Romania Titus Corlatean, the Agreement between the Government of the Czech Republic and the Government of Romania on War Graves.This agreement will make it possible to commemorate even better the victims and heroes of the past – like the Czech volunteers who fought and died on the Romanian side in Dobruja in 1916, or the Romanian soldiers who helped to liberate our territory from the Nazi German occupation in 1944 – 1945. Of course, our historical ties are not limited to the times of war. Our Embassy organized a whole range of seminars and exhibitions, supported research projects and books about our mutual relations.
Most recently, we launched the project Czech-Romanian Relations in Comics, intended to highlight some important moments of our mutual history (Czech refugees in Romania in 1939, non-participation of Romania in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, life story of the Czech architect of the Romanian Royal family Karel Zdenek Líman, visit by Prince Mihai Viteazul in Prague, etc), and raise the awareness about them in the general public.
100 years after the beginning of the World War I, we commemorate all the fallen soldiers, victims and participants in the war regardless of which side they fought for.
Symbolically, we are celebrating our National Day in Timisoara, during an event organized jointly with the Embassy of Austria today, on October 31. Czechs, Austrians and Romanians fought on all sides of the conflict, in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and in the armies of the Entente. The cultural programme is be provided by the members of the Czech and German-speaking minority in Banat, who arrived to the region in the time of the Habsburg empire, and a Czech and an Austrian exhibition about the legacy of the World War I will be presented to the participants.
The Czech exhibition “Art in trenches of the World War I” was prepared in collaboration of the Embassy of the Czech Republic with the Military History Institute in Prague and the Public Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and includes – among others – works of the world-famous artist Frantisek Kupka, and by Otto Gutfreund, Emil Filla, Jan Stursa, Václav Spála, Josef Váchal, Vincenc Beness, Ladislav Síma and Vojtsch Preissig.
We will be reminded, once again, how spectacular are actually the achievements of the European integration, which made it possible to Europeans, who fought each other in both world wars just few generations ago, to evolve their relations from enmity to partnership, friendship, and eventually to forge their new identity as members of our unique family of nations, the European Union”.