A large presentation of the Legions Association at IDET, Legiotrain set off next September
The Czechoslovak Legions are presented at IDET at the outdoor area in front of Hall V with their Legiotrain 100 project, designed for the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The exhibition includes among other things three cars of this legendary train, with soldiers and ladies in period uniforms, as well as demonstrations of equipment and gear of the Czechoslovak Legions in a period camp.
The tent contains panels with photographs, where one can see the renewal of war graves and records of their existence in Russia, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition to meetings with war veterans there will be a gala concert of Ondráš military group entitled "Roses for War Veterans" with a presentation of replicas of historical combat flags of the Czech Legions. They will receive the flags from the City of Brno.
Czechoslovak volunteer units in Russia and France were established in August 1914 and from the beginning acted in favour of the Russian and French armies in the Forces Agreement. "The centennial anniversary of Czechoslovak Legions will be used for patriotic education and development of traditions in the spirit of the Legions’ legacy. The aim of the project is to recall the key historical merits of Czechoslovak Legions in the context of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia," said František Trávníček, South Moravian care coordinator for war veterans.
The project is scheduled for a duration of six years and it will include among other things the renovation of Legions’ graves, the care for war graves in general, ceremonial events, exhibitions and lectures, with the acquisition of replicas of legions uniforms and equipment, founding a Legions and nation founders museum, making a film about the history of the state and other events. Implementation already started in 2009 because the project is very large and includes a huge amount of preparatory work and a number of sub-tasks and activities.
The Legiotrain project is a very important part of these activities; it envisages the acquisition of a replica legions train from the period of the fighting on the Trans-Siberian railway and its ride through cities and towns across the Czech Republic accompanied by lectures during those six years. The project is coordinated by the Czechoslovak Legions Association in close cooperation with the Czech Railways, National Technical Museum and Wings on Wheels Foundation. The legions ideas were forbidden during the Nazi occupation and communist rule, the Czechoslovak Legions Association was abolished and the continuity of awareness and knowledge of this tradition which is very important to us was broken. Therefore, the Legion 100 project should play an important role in restoring tradition of struggle for freedom and democracy in the spirit of the legacy of Czechoslovak Legions.
The "Legion 100" project should help strengthen national consciousness and national pride, as well as enhance the prestige of the country. Legionaries risked their lives not only on the fronts of World War I and afterwards, but also participated significantly in active resistance against the German occupants during World War II. The intellectual basis of the legionary movement in Czechoslovakia became undesirable in the late forties of the last century and the legionary tradition could no longer be maintained.
Legion 100 includes: Legiotrain – a mobile replica of a legions train from the "echelon war" period on the Trans-Siberian Railway, exhibitions and lectures as a reminder of the historical role of the founders of independent Czechoslovakia to the Czech and Slovak public with emphasis on the young population of both countries and the organization and holding of exhibitions in the Czech Republic and abroad related to key events and activities of the legions. Another activity focuses on printed media, starting with small material in the form of picture booklets to the legionaries’’ memoirs. The project also includes care of war graves and memorial sites in the Czech Republic and abroad, ceremonies at the war graves, re-enactments of battles that have played an important role in the recognition of an independent Czechoslovakia. There will also be various workshops and lectures as well as pilgrimages abroad.
Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic Vlastimil Picek and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic Lieutenant General Peter Vojtek both got acquainted with the project during IDET. The Slovak representative promised the Legions Association that the neighbouring republic will also provide one historical train carriage, so that in the final stage, the train should have eight of them next year. Starting in September next year it should ride through the Czech Republic and Slovakia.