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26. 2. 2008 16:29

February 25, 2008: Premier Opened International Conference “February 1948 in Czechoslovakia: Start of Communist Totality and Transformations of

Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek today inaugurated an international scholarly conference “February 1948 in Czechoslovakia: Start of Communist Totality and Transformations of Society“ held in Prague’s Lichtenštejnský Palace. He took over the auspices over the conference that has brought together more than a hundred Czech and foreign historians and political analysts as well as eyewitnesses of the February 1948 events in former Czechoslovakia. This unique event, organized by the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, the Institute for Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the National Archives, and the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, is held between February 25 and 27, 2008.

In his opening speech the Czech Prime Minister was quoted as saying in part: “We need the best possible analysis of what had happened in our country sixty years ago and why. We owe this to the eyewitnesses of those events who fell the first victims of the totalitarian regime. We owe this to ourselves, people of the middle generation, who have not experienced the birth of this heinous system but who spent a greater part of their lives in it. And we owe this to our children and grandchildren who have not experienced communism and who should never do so. You, who have gathered here today, experts in historical disciplines, have great power in your hands. And with it a good deal of responsibility. Through you the general public learns both facts and their interpretation. The job of us, politicians, is to prevent the return of totality directly and immediately. Your work is still more important. Only by learning about this dark chapter of our recent past most truthfully and completely will we be able to prevent it from creeping in by the back door in the future. And we would be hard put to find objective laws in history. However, we will never run away from our own responsibility for it. As Czech philosopher Jan Patoèka said: ´History is not a view but responsibility.´ So let us keep those words in our minds,“ emphasized the Czech Premier at the end of his speech inaugurating the current international scholarly conference on February 1948 in former Czechoslovakia.

Press Department of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

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