Czech and Slovak countrymen commemorated at Czechoslovak National House the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Britain – Operation Adlertag/Eagle Day, Luftwaffe’s attempt to destroy the British Royal Air Forces. The event was held on the 13th of August 2020 in Bohemia House, restaurant operating in Czechoslovak National House in West Hampstead.
The event was organised by historian Alan Hovell and was attended by about 30 guests such as Slovak Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Ľubomír Rehák, Slovak Defence ataché Col Ján Goceliak, Czech Cultural ataché Martin Hošek, Czech Defence ataché Col Jiří Niedoba, his deputy officer Tomáš Kašpar, the Deputy Mayor of Camden, Sabrina Francis, historians Neil Rees and Jan Jůn, who also acts as an occasional correspondent of the Czech Radio in the UK, Anna-Marie Holub, on behalf of directors of Czechoslovak National House and others.
They celebrated the important role of Czech and Slovak pilots in protecting independent Britain. All guests very strictly followed pandemic social distancing restrictions imposed by British government in order to stay safe. Beer hall, the largest room in Czechoslovak National House was extended into the adjoint restaurant creation also very safe and spacious environment. And for the same reason was the event separated from other customers.
Jan Jůn, an immigrant from late 60’s introduced a summary of Czechoslovak pilots’ actions during Battle of Britain. Slovak Ambassador, Ľubomír Rehák, highlighted that both embassies in London support activities that protect the memories of our heroes in the fight against fascism. After laying down symbolic wreaths next to the plaque commemorating the names of fallen Czech and Slovak pilots, and 2 minutes of silence, Ambassador Rehák added that “using the individual stories of our heroes, particularly those who fell in combat, we can understand the sacrifices made by these brave people to provide us with freedom and peace”.
Historians Alan Hovell, and Neil Rees paid particular attention to the importance of Great Britain in Czechoslovak history, from supporting the creation of a common state for Slovaks and Czechs to helping our government in exile in London during WWII. Two Czechoslovak British Royal Air Force pilots, Otto Smik and Josef František, were used as an example of the professionalism shown by our pilot elite.
After the formal part of the event all guests led a lively discussion during the reception created from our Menu and expressed the warm Czechoslovak hospitality presented by Bohemia House and our staff.
You can watch this video recorded by Anna Bowman from the Borough of Camden.
Why Czechoslovak National House
The Czechoslovak National House located on 74 West End Lane was recently refurbished. The premises are used as Czechoslovak restaurant with a large selection of traditional dishes from both our countries. Members of the British Czech and Slovak Association regularly meet in the National House, bringing together citizens and friends of our three nations. Since its opening to the club members in 1947, and for public 50 years later, the National House was used as a meeting ground for Czechoslovak pilots, immigrants from the communist regime in several waves during second half of 20th century, hence Bohemia House’s management decided to renew the tradition of hosting commemorative events for the heroes of WWII, such as Eagle Day Anniversary.
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