Czech leaders marked the 74th anniversary of the Prague Uprising at the Czech Radio building on Sunday, a focal point of the uprising in which Czechs took up arms against the Nazis.
On May 5 1945, Czech Radio or Český Rozhlas formally turned against the Nazi German government occupying the country and called on protesters to openly oppose Nazi rule. It began to broadcast in Czech for the first time in six years, and by noon, when it was clear that Czech Radio would be attacked and attempts would be made by the Germans to silence it, then the service began to call for help. It asked for military assistance from resistance fighters and any other Czechs that could prevent the liquidation of Czech Radio.
Some 30,000 people answered the call to take up arms against the Germans. For the next four days, Prague saw fierce street fighting which left over 2,000 dead.
German bombers flew in on May 7 and bombed the city, causing the destruction of most of the Old Town Hall; the centuries-old building was almost completely gutted and had to be torn down. The top of the tower was also destroyed, and the damage was caused to the famous Astronomical Clock. The Germans’ superior firepower gradually overwhelmed the Czech fighters, whose ammunition was insufficient.
Much to the surprise of both sides, a division of the Russian Liberation Army (ROA), which was strongly opposed to Communism and had been allied with the Third Reich, suddenly changed tactics and pitched in against the Germans. The Army had the ammunition and tanks that the Czechs so badly needed, and was instrumental in saving the city center.
The Prague Uprising finally came to an end with the arrival of the Red Army on the morning of 9 May.
The commemorative ceremony outside Czech Radio was attended by the Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, members of the Union of Freedom Fighters and others.
Prague was the last European capital to be liberated after six years of terror at the hands of the Nazis.