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November 16, 2018
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Czech court rules in favor of songwriter's widow, xenophobic band loses prize named after him without authorization

22.6.2018 8:40
The neo-Nazi band Conflict 88 (left) once featured Tomáš Hnídek Ortel of the current band Ortel (right), which won second place in the Czech Republic's audience appreciation poll and popular music awards in 2016.
The neo-Nazi band Conflict 88 (left) once featured Tomáš Hnídek Ortel of the current band Ortel (right), which won second place in the Czech Republic's audience appreciation poll and popular music awards in 2016.

The Czech organization that gave a music award named after the songwriter Karel Kryl to the frontman for the xenophobic Ortel band, Tomáš Ortel, have lost their appeal of the lawsuit filed against them by the songwriter's widow. The Gold Award for the Legacy of Karel Kryl was given to Ortel last spring by a group called People to People (Lidé lidem) that actually was not authorized to use the songwriter's name at all. 

The Regional Court in Plzeň handed down its ruling against the award-givers on 20 June. The District Court there first banned them from abusing Kryl's name in October 2017.

That first-instance court also instructed those convicted of wrongdoing to apologize to Kryl's widow. The organization then appealed.

"There are no grounds for the defendant to appeal," Regional Court Judge Lubomír Fiala said on 20 June. The group was sued by the widow of Karel Kryl, Magdalena Krylová, for using his name without permission.

Kryl's widow did not like her husband's name being abused for political agitation in connection with the controversial Ortel band. According to Prague-based attorney Tomáš Bejček, who is representing the widow in court, the group abused the name and personality of Karel Kryl and denigrated his dignity, honor, memory and seriousness.

"The award was meant to celebrate the memory of Karel Kryl. He was a dissident, which can also be said of Tomáš Ortel. Both of them went against the establishment," the attorney for the sued award-givers, Oldřich Lukáš, told news server

Lukáš has previously called the lawsuit an attack. "So, the dark sun-worshippers (the optimists, those who loaf around in Prague cafes, and other traitors from the hatchery of Kalergi and the fans of Soros) have managed to get us where they wanted - on the edge of total destruction. This has happened through the lawsuit of Magdalena Kryl (his widow, who lived with Karel during the last two years of his life in Germany) over the fact that we have proposed awarding Tomáš Ortel the Gold Award for the Legacy of Karel Kryl for his patriotic songs," he wrote last November about the collections order placed on the association in a text asking for aid with paying off his friends' debts.

According to news server, Bejček pointed to Hnídek's past when explaining the widow's argument to the court. "He was a performer in the band Conflict 88, which is basically a neo-Nazi group," the attorney said.

The lyrics of that band were antisemitic and racist. The double 8 in its name is code for the Nazi greeting "Heil Hitler", as "H" is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

Lukáš objected in court to the characterization of Ortel's lyrics as racist and xenophobic. The representatives of the award-givers, according to him, are convinced that Karel Kryl is a famous celebrity whose art is part of the cultural wealth of the country.

"His spiritual legacy belongs to the entire nation," the defense attorney alleged. Ortel, whose birth name was Tomáš Hnídek, comes from Plzeň.

During the last three years of the "Czech Nightingale" music competition Ortel has won two bronze nightingale and one silver nightingale in the category of Male Vocalist. In April he got married at Zbiroh Chateau in the Rokycany area, where the SS command was headquartered during the Second World War, on Adolf Hitler's birthday.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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