From Normandy up to Pilsen
Due to one of the most important historical events of the past century – the end of World War II, an event that had a fundamental impact on the fate of the European people – the City of Pilsen has found itself in a unique position. As one of the cities liberated in May 1945, it is the last actual and symbolic place where the Allied forces’ journey through the European continent ended; it is a city symbolically linking France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
A celebration of the city’s liberation – the Liberation Festival – has been held in Pilsen every May since 1990. People from around the world have come to celebrate the liberation of Pilsen together with residents of the city, American veterans and their family members. Participation by the veterans, whose annual visits tend to be emotional, has until recently formed the cornerstone of the festival program. As time has passed since the end of the war, the number of veterans has gradually dwindled. Now only a handful remain who are still in good health and can, despite their advanced age, make the difficult journey to the Czech Republic. For this reason the City of Pilsen has been working on shifting the liberation festivities to further levels, thus ensuring the continuity of the Liberation Festival and the preservation of traditions and the memory of fundamental moments in Czech history.
The Liberation Festival program is divided into several parts. These are regularly repeating events such as commemoration services at World War II memorials and the Convoy of Liberty historical vehicle parade. The second part is composed of individual military history club projects that strive every year to offer a new and interesting approach to history linked to demonstrations of period military vehicles, arms and activities. Several of these projects are no longer one-time events and have continued to be featured.
Liberation Festival Pilsen 3 – 6 May 2013