ČMN unveiled a memorial plaque for General Josef Duda in Prague

Two years ago, on a lucrative brownfield site in the center of Prague near the Main Train Station, a street was created bearing the name of General Josef Duda. On September 15, 2023, a memorial plaque was unveiled for the distinguished Czechoslovak pilot Josef Duda, who contributed to the success of our British and Allied RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain.

On a cloudy September morning 83 years ago, it didn't seem like the Battle of Britain was coming to an end. However, the German Luftwaffe had a major plan. They gathered all their forces and launched an aerial assault on London. But the Royal Air Force was not about to give up without a fight. On September 15, one of the largest battles for London erupted, with 88 Czechoslovak pilots taking part. Among them was Squadron Leader Josef Duda, the first commander of "A" Squadron of the Czechoslovak 312th Fighter Wing. 83 years later, the ČMN real estate group decided to unveil a memorial plaque for General Josef Duda.

The air defense of Great Britain successfully repelled Luftwaffe's attack on that critical day. The Germans didn't even inflict significant losses on the aircraft of the Royal Air Force.

"It is a great honor and pleasure for me to participate in the unveiling of the memorial plaque for Josef Duda. Nowadays, heroes are often lacking, so it is very important to be aware of the past, to respect and remember the heroes of our recent history. Josef Duda undoubtedly is one such hero. He demonstrated this not only during World War II as a pilot in the Battle of France and later in the Battle of Britain but also after the war when, following the communist coup in 1948, he was demoted, had his property confiscated, and was forced to do manual labor. As evident, danger and evil can lurk both beyond borders and within a state. The Battle of Britain, which took place from July to October 1940, was one of the decisive phases of World War II in Europe. It occurred at a time when practically the rest of Europe was either an ally of Nazi Germany or had already surrendered. The participation of Czechoslovak pilots in this battle significantly contributed to Britain's defense. Prime Minister Winston Churchill summarized the Battle of Britain with the legendary words, 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.' The fact that Churchill's statue is located 100 meters from here above the buildings adds to the symbolism of this memorial plaque for Mr. Duda. For our company, Českomoravská Nemovitostní, it is an honor and pleasure to be able to place this significant historical symbolism on our building," said Josef Eim, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČMN, during the unveiling of the memorial plaque.

Even five years ago, when the Churchill building, where the memorial plaque for Josef Duda will be placed, began construction, the investors were thinking about this plaque. However, negotiations with preservationists took a long time, leading to the unveiling happening this year. The street in Prague 2 has borne the name of our famous Major General for two years now.

"Representatives of the City of Prague paid tribute to Major General and Group Captain RAF Josef Duda, CBE, by naming a new street in the very center of the city - on the border of three municipal districts - Prague 1, 2, and 3 - after him. On September 15, 2023, on the day of the turning point in the Battle of Britain, in which he actively participated as a fighter pilot of the Czechoslovak 312th Fighter Wing RAF, we are unveiling a memorial plaque with the participation of distinguished guests so that people can remember who this person was. It is an important stimulus for Czech history as well, as we are obliged to preserve the legacy of heroes and patriots who never betrayed and voluntarily went to fight and die for their subjugated homeland," said Zbyněk M. Duda, the nephew of Josef Duda, on the occasion of the unveiling of the memorial plaque.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by dignitaries such as the commander of the 533rd Unmanned Systems Battalion, General Josef Duda, from Prostějov, Kate Davenport from the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Petr Šnajdárek, Brigadier General of the General Staff of the Czech Republic, and Zbyněk M. Duda with his family, the nephew of Josef Duda.

"On behalf of the family, I would like to thank the organizers, Českomoravská Nemovitostní a.s., the 533rd Unmanned Systems Battalion of General Josef Duda in Prostějov, the Ministry of Defense's Department for War Veterans, the diplomatic corps of the United Kingdom, France, Poland, the City of Prague, Prague 2 Municipal District, and the Prague 2 Basic Art School for all the care they have devoted to this man and this solemn event," added Zbyněk M. Duda."