Karlovo Namesti – Dr. Vaclav Benda

 

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Where: At Karlovo Namesti (Charles square), in Prague 2 at house number 287 and opposite of tramstop Novoměstská radnice. It is a small walk from the Palacky monument.  GPS: 50.077495, 14.419256

What: It is a plaque with a sculptured head that commemorates Dr. Václav Benda. The plaque reads; “In this house, from 1969-1999 lived and fought for freedom and democracy Dr. Václav Benda dissident and politician”.

Who: Dr. Václav Benda (August 8, 1946 – June 2, 1999) was a Czech political activist. While originally striving for an academic career, this all ended when he refused to join the Communist party in 1970.  Benda became active in the dissident movement against the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and was one of the founding members and a signatory of the Charter 77 in 1977.

This Charter was a document that criticized the Communist government for failing to implement national and international human rights provisions it previously agreed with. Charter 77 was signed by various influential people who represented all sorts of occupations, political viewpoints, and religions.

For his role as a spokesman for Charter 77, Dr. Václav Benda was arrested in 1979 and imprisoned until 1983 by the communist regime. After the fall of communism in 1989 he went into politics and became the first chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, the KDS and stayed active in different political positions until his death in 1999.

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