The event opens my photography exhibit -- "Day of the Lilacs: The Liberation of Western Czechoslovakia by the U.S. Third Army."
I will also lecture on Czechoslovakia's place in the history of World War II.
- How France and Great Britain surrendered the county to the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (the "Nazis") in 1938.
- The brutality of the occupation by the German Waffen Schutzstaffel (the "SS").
- How on May 6, 1945, Czechs ran into the streets to greet their American liberators with gifts of food and beer, with kisses, and with armloads of lilacs.
The liberation was militarily insignificant. The war in Europe would end two days later. So why did . . .
. . . the Third Army risk more casualties and more killings for an objective that would be the Allies' anyway?
And why, seventy years later -- May 2015 -- did thousands of Czechs line the streets of Pilsen to cheer and wave American flags for a parade commemorating the liberation?
For answers to the first questions, attend the lecture. For the answer to why I care . . . .
My father was in General Patton's Third Army. After two years, seven months overseas, he ended his military service guarding a remote Czech bridge along the Demarcation Line between the Allies and the Red Army.
My father was not a hero in the usual sense of the word. But he was part of an American enterprise that did heroic things.
Saturday's lecture and exhibit invite you share this experience.
Here is a link to a good newspaper account of the event, from the Kingwood Observer.
To attend, please RSVP to 713-528-2060.
Czech Center Museum Houston is at 4920 San Jacinto Street.
Most photographs in the exhibit were selected from this gallery.