Woodrow Wilson returns to Prague’s central station

Statue of US president Woodrow Wilson reinstalled next to Prague’s central railway station 70 years after Nazis tore down the original

Tom Jones | 09.09.2011
Replica statue of Woodrow Wilson being lifted onto its pedestal in front of Prague's main station

A three-and-a-half-meter tall statue of Woodrow Wilson was erected in the park in front of Prague’s main railway station on Thursday. The copy of a statue torn down by the Nazi occupiers in 1941 now stands at the same spot where the original was erected in 1928 in honorof the US president who played a key role in the birth of the Czechoslovak state in 1918.

The statue erected in Vrchlické Sady, the park in front of Prague’s main railway station, is an exact replica of the original statue created by sculptor Albín Polášek. The statue faces the most-frequented entrance to the Czech capital’s busiest railway station.

‘Woodrow Wilson is looking out with the same view as the statue from 1928. History is being returned.’

“President Wilson is considered as a father of our free statehood because under his leadership America backed the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic,” Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats, ODS), who attended the installation of the replica statue, told journalists. “Woodrow Wilson is looking out with the same view as the statue from 1928. History is being returned.”

Svoboda, together with the Mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, and Philip Kasik from the group American Friends of the Czech Republic, which initiated the creation of and financed the replica statue, placed photographs and documentation mapping the history of the statue and the creation of its replacement in a bronze tube sealed with wax inside the statue for future generations.

“Today’s newspapers are also there as is the custom with storing messages for future generations,” Svoboda said.

The official unveiling of the statue will take place on October 5, with President Václav Klaus and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia, scheduled to attend.

A number of events dedicated to the replacement of the monument to Woodrow Wilson are being planned, including an exhibition in the National Museum in Prague, a conference at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the theme of the legacy of Wilson and the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš G. Masaryk, and a golf tournament.   

The replica statue was created by Czech artists Václav Frýdecký, Michal Blažek and Daniel Talavera. 

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