Prague

Emil Zátopek: The greatest Olympian who defied Russian tanks

Emil Zátopek was once the world's best loved athlete – many runners still consider him the greatest Olympic champion of all. But in 1968 his life took a turn for the worse. His brave stand against the Soviet tanks that invaded his native Czechoslovakia saw him fall foul of the Communist authorities – and vanish from public life. Today, he is all but forgotten. And yet, argues Richard Askwith, his story is as relevant today as it has ever been

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Under a Cruel Star: a Life in Prague 1941-1968, By Heda Margolius

Heda Kovály, the Czech translator of Roth, Chandler and Bellow, had a tragic history. In 1941, the mass deportation of Jews from Prague was instituted by the Nazis. "We were not yet inured to sounds of gunshots followed by agonizing screams, to unendurable thirst, nor to the suffocating air in the crammed cattle cars." Before they reached the Lodz ghetto, many perished on the long march in the snow, naked and barefoot.

Farewell Vaclav, we need you more than ever

Stephen Weeks has had a ring-side seat for the procession of Czechs mourning the loss of their national hero this week. Here, the author explains what Havel meant to his country – and laments the politicians who have squandered his glorious legacy