Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
Trip End Jun 13, 2012

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Up today and to take in the sights on Hradcany—the neighborhood by
Prague Castle.  Nerudova Street is a real
work out, but the view from the top is your reward.  I meandered around the castle complex for a
little while and admired St. Vitus Cathedral. 
Then I walked west toward Cerninsky Palace.  Across from the palace you will find the
Loreta Church.  Tucked behind the church
is the Capuchin monastery.  Here is the “domecek,”
a building which both the Nazis and Communists used for imprisonment,
interrogation, and torture.  There is a
small plaque on the side of the building commemorating the victims.

After climbing down from Hradcany I made a pit stop at CukrKavaLimonada
for rest and refueling.  The fuel
consisted of cappuccino and apple-almond cake. 
The cake had just come out of the oven, so it was still warm.  Read a little of Jan Patocka’s book Plato and
Europe.  The book is a series of lectures
Patocka gave privately in various apartments in the early 1970s—he had been
expelled from Charles University and so continued his teaching in these
underground seminars.  In this book he
argues that the Platonic conception of “the care of the soul” is the core of
European civilization.  Patocka would
become one of the first three spokesmen of Charter 77.  In March 1977 he died after a lengthy and
brutal interrogation by the StB (the Communist security police).  He was 70 years old.

After a little more meandering I met Adam Hradilek, of The Institute
for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, for coffee.  He is currently working on an oral history
project in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Museum.  He leaves Saturday to travel around the Czech
Republic to interview Czech witnesses to the Nazi death camps.  Finally, I had a long and enjoyable dinner
and interview with Pavel Bratinka in Prague 6, the neighborhood north of
Hradcany.  He is full of life and
thoughts about every topic under the sun. 
The interview that I did with him last May was published in The American
Interest (Jan/Fed. 2012).  If anyone would like a link to
the interview I would be happy to pass it along.  I also managed to navigate the tram and metro
getting to and from his neighborhood. 
The public transportation is excellent.


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