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Nazi forced labour documentary stuns Czech crowds

Bio Central Hradec Králové
Entrance to Bio Central cinema in Hradec Králové in January 2024. Image Credit: Roman Vysansky / CC BY 4.0.

My new film, Building Hitler's Empire, premiered at the Czech Embassy in London in October, raising £520 for the Ukraine Crisis Appeal — enough to provide 52 families with hygiene kits or 343 sleeping mats to those displaced by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

After this success, I decided to screen the film in the Czech Republic. I chose Hradec Králové, the birthplace of my Czech great-grandfather and namesake, Miroslav Jeřábek, who the Nazis conscripted and sent to work in Germany.

On Saturday 24 February, almost 100 people from across the region — some as far as Prague — filled the largest auditorium at Bio Central, the city's historic art-house cinema. I delivered a short address in Czech and then played the film, which lasted approximately 48 minutes.

Bio Central Hradec Kralove
A ticket for my premiere at Bio Central. Image Credit: Mirek Gosney
Hradecký deník Hradec Kralove
An announcement for my premiere in Hradecký deník, the regional newspaper for Hradec Králové. Image Credit: Mirek Gosney

Notable guests at the screening included Český rozhlas Hradec Králové (Czech Radio Hradec Králové) reporter, Adéla Kavříková, who interviewed me about my film before the event. Her four-minute report aired twice at 2.15pm on Sunday and 6.10am on Monday.

The descendants of the three Hradec forced labourers featured in the film also attended: Miroslava Vaňurová and Eva Hrubá (daughters of Miroslav Jeřábek); Radim Pavlík (grandson of Bedřich Pavlík); and Irena Dohnalová-Blažková (daughter of Bohumír Kozler).

Three Hradec men forced to work in Germany, shown on the big screen. Image credit: Mirek Gosney
Bio Central Hradec Králové
Mirek Gosney, Miroslava Vaňurová and Radim Pavlík at Bio Central. Image Credit: Anna Košťálová

The film was positively received by all, and a small contingent stayed and conversed in the bar area after the screening concluded. Further updates about my film will follow soon. But for now, find links to all of the English and Czech media coverage for my film below.

Watch the trailer (with Czech subtitles) or find the full film in three parts online. / Mladá fronta Dnes (Young Front Today)

Český rozhlas Hradec Králové (Czech Radio Hradec Králové)

Radio Prague International

National College for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ)

Newbury Weekly News / Newbury Today

St Bartholomew's School, Newbury


(Christmas 2023 issue, page 25)

(September 2021 issue, pages 12-13)

British, Czech and Slovak Association (BCSA)

Embassy of the Czech Republic


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