Filmmakers to spotlight Czech Legions' history





American filmmakers Bruce Bendinger and John Iltis don’t mince words when stating the purpose of their current project.

“The Czech Republic had its history stolen,” Bendinger says matter-of-factly. “We’re trying to give a country back its history.”
This week, the two Chicago-based men will begin filming for a TV documentary about the Czechoslovak Legions. The history of the Legions, small armies that fought with the allies during World War I and played a significant part in Czechoslovakia’s independence from Austria-Hungary, was suppressed and rewritten here under Nazism and communism.

“For 50 years, you got yourself in a lot of trouble talking about it,” Bendinger says.

Drawing upon the expertise and experience of advisers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the documentary is part of a long-term effort called the Czech Legion Project (www.czechlegion.com), aimed at reviving popular knowledge about this oft-forgotten but pivotal episode in Czechoslovak history.



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