In 2021 I was approached by Leah Gaffen from Class Acts, an initiative that works with bilingual children in the Czech Republic, with a particular focus on drama and writing. Leah and her colleagues were interested in family history, and they invited children and teenagers between eleven and eighteen to write a story in English about someone in their family who had inspired them or influenced how they see the world.
In three tales of heroism, we are taken to a small Czech town during the wartime occupation, to India during the struggle for independence and into the skies in 1944.
We bring three very different tales of heroism during the 1930s and 1940s. The first is a classic story of wartime courage and adventure, as seventeen-year-old Rade Meech-Tatić recounts a dramatic episode in the life of his grandfather as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Then we turn to occupied Bohemia and Moravia, where eleven-year-old Amy Piper tells the story of her great-great-grandfather from the town of Čáslav, who warned his fellow citizens that they were in danger of arrest. And our third story takes us several thousand kilometres to the south and east. Sixteen-year-old Anushree Kshirsagar from Brno also has a tale of courage and resilience as she talks of the role of her great-great-grandfather in the struggle for Indian independence. Three young people whose home is here in the Czech Republic celebrate three very different family heroes.
Fourteen-year-old Eva Nováková takes us to the world of her great-grandmother, broadcasting legend, Olga Szántová.
In the third episode of our series looking at the recent past through the eyes of the youngest generation, we hear a story of exile and return. Fourteen-year-old Eva Nováková chose the format of a short radio play to draw us into the world of her great-grandmother, Olga Szántová. Older listeners will remember Olga, who died in 2003. She was a legend of Czechoslovak broadcasting and a good friend to many of us here at the radio.
A Stitch in Time: Part 2 – A New Circle of Life
In this episode we continue our journey into the recent past through the eyes of the youngest generation, starting with a classic tale of European emigration in search of the American dream. It is followed the moving story of a Czech family whose world was turned upside down by the First World War and the story of a Moravian village that has disappeared without trace.
A Stitch in Time: Part 1 – The Thing about Roots
We recently invited children and teenagers from across the Czech Republic to write a story about a member of their own family who had become an influence or inspiration to them. Many of the stories were beautifully and sensitively written, drawing us into the recent and sometimes more distant past through the traces it has left on families. In the coming weeks we shall be joining the children as they explore the world of their family’s history, but in this first episode we offer a foretaste of what is to come.