This is your Peace

Prague 1968

Four years after the crushing of the „Prague Spring“ I came to Prague with a group of students in 1972 and the pictures of the tanks in Prague and the self-immolation of the student Jan Palach as a protest against the Moscow dictate were still unforgotten. The „Prague Spring“ of 1968 – a hope that all too quickly fell victim to the imperialism of the Soviet Union.  Another time to Berlin, Warsaw, Sofia and Budapest.

The Soviet Union dissolved, Russia’s policy did not change when Putin came to power. The list of military interventions has become longer and the brutality has and leads today to the destruction of entire cities and countries: Georgia, Armenia, Aleppo, Libya,Crimea, Ukraine…?

The Soviet Union dissolved, Russia’s policy did not change when Putin came to power. The list of military interventions has become longer and the brutality has and leads today to the destruction of entire cities and countries: Georgia, Armenia, Aleppo, Libya,Crimea, Ukraine…?

Posters at Prague University
Text : This is your peace
Text: This is Imperialism

Today, once again, tanks are rolling into a European capital to crush people’s longing for a dignified life in freedom and democracy with tanks. The increase of the imperialist Soviet occupations of the Soviet Union within the Warsaw Pact to Putin’s mania for revision is the cold, murderous warfare in violation of international law, are war crimes that deliberately kills civilians and attacks humanitarian institutions such as hospitals, schools and kindergartens, destroys food warehouses and water pipes to demoralize the people.

Text : The best method of use

In 1972, life in Prague had inevitably returned to normal, under the varnish covering the sadness and hopelessness . 

Then in the „cold war“ as now in times of globalization, the rest of the world had little to oppose Soviet aggression. It was this mood that was still felt everywhere.

But in all crises, people have resisted resignation creeping in. I saw a sign of this when I opened the closet door in my hotel room while putting away my things. Largely carved into the inside of the closet door was 3:2 in the inside of my closet in the hotel room without further comment.  It didn’t take my memory long to understand the meaning. It was an expression of joy and revenge. With 3:2 the team of Czechoslovakia defeated the Soviet Union and thus became the ice hockey world champion in 1972 by this triumph against the oppressors.  It was a hidden sign and a step towards the resurgence of hope and self-confidence, especially because of the great importance of this sport in both countries.

Prague was full of tourists and could be visited again in its beauty . The damage of the occupation had been largely repaired, the infrastructure, including the tourist one, was functioning. My warnings about the danger of exchanging money black were taken. What I did not know, the bus drivers of both countries had organized the exchange of money to avoid the official large margin and the export of the coveted Crimean sparkling wine among themselves.  And still there remained a certain uneasiness and latent fear because of the constant surveillance. This had already begun at the border crossing with meticulous passport controls and searches of the bus. It was terrible that some students had their hair cut off because the long hair of some did not match their passport pictures.  A harassment and deliberate humiliation of the so decadent Westerners. Bad also especially because they were exposed to their „long hair already at home often pressure and discussions and have not been influenced by it. Here delivered to the cold power no protest helped, against this chicanery, because in case of the refusal the entry was prevented. As an accompanying teacher, I was not in a position to spare them this experience.  It was a lesson about arbitrary state power, better than any lesson could have conveyed.

Radiant weather in this beautiful city let us enjoy the days nevertheless. On the Karls Bridge over the Vltava River with the view of Prague Castle, political reality came back for me. An elderly gentleman had observed our group, approached me and asked if I had some time to talk. He had collected posters and handbills at the university in 1968 and asked me to take them with me to the West as documentation of that time. We met in the evening at Luka’s home and spent a nice and exciting evening. As a farewell he gave me a bag with the documents and we hugged each other for a long time, knowing the low probability of seeing each other again.

Lukà had found his form of resistance and brought it to a conclusion for himself.

The euphoria of this encounter made me realize the risk I had taken only shortly before the border.  Shortly before the border, despite all warnings, some of the group had to leave – the result of too many bottles of Pilsener Urquell before the return trip. So it was clear that our bus would be searched very carefully. They were always trying to prevent so-called defections of locals to the West.

I hid all documents under my sweater and coat around the middle of my body and was lucky. We had to get off and the bus was thoroughly searched, but not us. Only slowly my pulse calmed down and nobody had noticed anything of my nervousness.

At that time I could only pass around the contemporary documents and show them. On the occasion of the war crimes in Ukraine and in order to document the continuity of the Soviet-Russian imperialist attacks on freedom and democracy, as well as a call not to give in to a deceptive calm, I show them here on the Internet – as a reminder and a warning.

Gallery „Prague Spring“ 1968 – In the gallery are the notices at the university, newspaper clippings and posters that Luka entrusted to me in 1972. They should reach the West and not be forgotten.

(With Google translator photo function the texts can be translated)
Funeral of Jan Palach

(c) Dr.Burkhard Mielke. All rights reserved.

All pictures © by Burkhard Mielke, all rights reserved, commercial and private use prohibited.

Veröffentlicht von

Dr.Mielke Burkhard

Dr.Burkhard Mielke Berlin ist meine Stadt – Geburtsort und seit Jahren wieder die Stadt, in der ich lebe. Geprägt hat mich am meisten mein Studium der Romanistik und des Sports an der Sporthochschule und Universität zu Köln. Begeistert hat mich jedoch meine Promotion zum Dr. phil., die mir ermöglichte, mit dem Thema „Tourismus oder Völkerverständigung? Die internationalen Begegnungen der Schulen“ eine Verbindung der Faszination des Reisens mit Begegnungen von damals jugendlichen Menschen, Kulturen und Lebensorten herzustellen. Als junger Lehrer waren es Schüler-Austauschfahrten mit Tunesien, als Schulleiter die Schulpartnerschaften mit Upstate New York, Beijing und Shanghai, als Präsident der Europäischen Schulleitungsvereinigung (ESHA) und Mitglied der Internationalen Schulleitungsorganisation (ICP) viele internationale Tagungen zur Bildung der Jugend an unterschiedlichsten Orten der Welt. Immer war es mein Bestreben, Leute mitzunehmen in diese Faszination des einen Augenblick lang Fremdens, des Austausches und der neuen Erfahrungen, die mir auf immer andere Weise sagen: Ja, das ist meine Welt.

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