I’ve never thought of Prague in this way before

900_Prague vintage travel poster

“For centuries Prague, capital of Bohemia and occasional residence of the Holy Roman Emperors, was at the heart of German cultural and intellectual life.”

This is a sentence from Neil MacGregor’s book Germany: Memories of a Nation.

I’ve never thought of Prague and the Czech Republic in this way, of how Czech culture influenced Germany and the German people, despite being deeply Slavic, and vice versa.

Years ago I met two Czech filmmakers who had trekked to my hometown in Oregon to shoot some material for a documentary. As I was talking with one of them, he conveyed a deep resentment of Germany — the people, the language, the culture — which had dominated his country and countrymen much like the Russians have with the Baltic states and Poland.

These relationships in Europe are complicated, and has proved to influence the lives of my ancestors. I am discovering this more and more as I continue to learn as much as I can about them through genealogy and reading.


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