Marie Susedková spent two and a half years in communist labour camps helping her cousin. Photo credit: Paměť národa, via Facebook.

Prague, Nov 18 (CTK) – The Memory of the Nation (“Paměť národa”) awards were yesterday given to five individuals from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine who stood up against the Communist and Nazi regimes, at a ceremony in the National Theater in Prague.

The awards were given to a woman who supported the partisans during World War II, and Ukrainian dissident Myroslav Marynovych, who spent seven years in a forced labour camp and five years in exile in Kazakhstan.

The awards are given annually by the Post Bellum organisation to heroic figures from the key struggles of the past century.

One award was granted to Marie Susedkova, who spent two years and six months in Communist forced labour camps for having helped her cousin.

Another was given to Anna Sestakova, whose husband was jailed by the Communists for sedition. She remained alone with her three small children, labelled as an enemy of the state. She was twice forced to leave her home and she was approached for collaboration with the Communist StB secret service, which she rejected.

The evening ceremony also included the story of Pavel Eli Vag, who went into hiding along with his sister in the Slovak mountains when he was 12 years old, to avoid being sent to concentration camps.

Marie Henzlova was decorated because she and her relatives supported partisans during World War II, for which she paid with the loss of her closest family members.

The ceremony ended with the Ukrainian national anthem.

Post Bellum, an NGO mapping 20th-century events and phenomena mainly through the testimonies of witnesses, has presented the Memory of the Nation awards since 2010 to people who proved in their lives that freedom, honour and human dignity are not just empty phrases, who behaved courageously, and never betrayed their principles.

Laureates include war veterans, political prisoners, anti-Nazi and anti-Communist fighters, Holocaust survivors, dissidents, persecuted artists and priests, and personalities from underground culture.

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