This morning I was watching an interview on the subject of who should be in the Pantheon of the National Museum when it is finally reopened (hopefully sometime next year) after a long-overdue reconstruction.
Should it include Julius Fučík, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Fu%C4%8D%C3%ADk_(journalist), a journalist, member of the anti-Nazi resistance, and member of the Communist Party? He was placed in the Pantheon after the war (I’m not sure whether his placement was before or after the Communists took full power in 1948), then removed in 1991.
Should it include Emperor Franz Joseph (ruled 1848-1916) and his wife? They’d been placed there sometime during the Habsburg era, then removed in 1918 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell apart and Czechoslovakia was created.
The interview veered onto the topic of how to handle the remains of the communist era that are sprinkled around everyday things, from decorations on building facades to names of streets.
The interviewer compared the Czech situation to Russia where, in his words, they’ve removed the greatest excesses of “socialist realism” but left a lot of things as they were. “Their attitude is, we lived through that history, we shouldn’t negate it.” But it leads to some absurd situations.
I was on the subway in Petersburg and I saw an ad for a bank: “Come take advantage of our amazing interest rate—20% on your deposits. Learn more at our branches. Investors and capitalists, come talk to us at our branch at 21 Dictatorship of the Proletariat Square.” (Rough transcription/paraphrase of part of the interview)It reminded me of an ad I saw on the subway here in Prague in 2013. A bank was promoting its retirement account, and the text was clearly aiming at young people with perhaps a 40-year horizon until they’d be drawing on their retirement savings. The tenor of the ad was the same as retirement ads anywhere: Plan now (and save with us) so you can retire in comfort.