New Format of Czech Award Ceremony Provides Suspense
For the first time in the history of the Czech History Competition, the three main prize winners were selected during the actual award ceremony. On 22 October 2021, 10 finalists of the competition’s first round gathered at PANT Centrum in Ostrava to present their works. Competition organiser Tom Rett and Marcel Mahdal from PANT led through the event.
All finalists belong to the top quarter of the competitors and were asked to present their research on stage. Their presentations represented well the variety of formats students chose for their entries. They displayed multimedia presentations, often including audio or video snippets like interviews they had conducted with family members or contemporary witnesses. One participant was accompanied by his grandmother who added "live" memories as part of his presentation. A group of three students dressed up in historical costumes and gave a performance that matched the movie they had produced as a competition entry.
The finalists’ works covered both the fate of Holocaust survivors and students’ family members who suffered from persecution by the Communist regime in the 1950s. Others researched how artists shaped society in the course of history and how economic and political developments were mirrored in the fashions of different periods. There is no doubt that the competition title “The Impact of World History on Personal History in the 20th Century“ triggered an impressive variety of topics.
During a break that provided the finalists with the opportunity for exchanges about their experiences, the jury including e.g. Zdeněk Hazdra (Director of Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague), Petruška Šustrová (Publicist and Former Dissident) and Iveta Coufalová (Chief Editor dějiny a současnost) chose the three main winners of the competition based on their presentations.
One of the three main prizes went to the makers of a video about Přemysl Pitter who was a Czech Protestant preacher, writer, columnist, radical pacifist and social worker. Another prize went to the researchers of the persecution of a participant’s great-grandfather who was sent to the Gulag as a member of Carpathian Germans, and the third main prize went to an entry presenting the fate of Stanislav Broj who was sentenced to death for his fight against collectivism in Czechoslovakia after 1948.
Students then received their certificates from Ondřej Malý, famous Czech theatre and film actor who has been acting in awarded films about Czech history (e.g. Pouta/Walking Too Fast). Katja Fausser, Managing Director EUSTORY, invited all participants to join in cross-border EUSTORY Youth Activities and share they stories with prize winners from other countries.
In the course of the event, the Foundation “Daughters of the 50s” also awarded the Eva Vláhová Award to some entries that focussed especially on the period of the 1950s in former Czechoslovakia.