OVER 200 RECOGNISED AS ANTICOMMUNIST RESISTANCE FIGHTERS IN CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague Monitor on November 19, 2012, reported that a total of 223 people have received the status of resistance fighters since the law on anti-communist resistance took effect a year ago, Czech Republic Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS) told reporters.

The state has paid 15.2 million crowns in total to the resistance fighters, and 900,000 crowns to their closest family members.

The Defence Ministry, which is in charge of the agenda, has received 3714 applications for the resistance fighter status. It has rejected 424 of them so far, Vondra said.

Vondra on the occasion presented the certificate decrees to 14 newly recognised resistance fighters and to another six in memoriam.

“By joining resistance movement, the people put their lives and health at stake and ran a huge risk. They deserve our big thanks for it,” Vondra said.

The highest number of people have been recognised as resistance fighters for their anti-communist activities in the 1950s.

The second largest group includes people awarded for their resistance activities in 1948-1949.

A high number of them were printing and spreading anti-communist leaflets, illegal magazines and samizdat literature.

Many resistance fighters were couriers, recruited by Western intelligence services, guides who helped people cross the border to the West and agents of the democratic countries’ secret services.

In connection with people’s applications for freedom fighter status, historians unveiled a number of new resistance groups of the existence of which they did not know before, Eduard Stehlik, from the Institute for the Studies of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR), said.

The historians also gained new information about other members of well-known groups, he said.

The law on the third resistance symbolically took effect on November 17, 2011, the anniversary of the late 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. It defines various types of anti-communist struggle and resistance. It prevents the freedom fighter status from going to people who worked with the communist secret forces, were members of the Communist Party or its paramilitary units People’s Militia and of the communist-controlled National Front’s action committee.

Surviving anti-communist resistance fighters are each entitled to compensation of 100,000 crowns, their widows and relatives of the dead receive 50,000 crowns.

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