An annual showcase of contemporary Czech films called Czech That Film is currently underway across the United States. The festival is the largest Czech cultural event in the country and offers both Czech expats and local film enthusiasts a unique chance to get acquainted with present-day Czech cinematography.
The Prague-born rock musician and songwriter Ivan Král turned 70 on
Saturday. Král emigrated to the United States with his family in the 1960s
and became involved in New York’s punk scene in the following decade,
performing with an early incarnation of Blondie and becoming bassist with
the Patti Smith Group. He later played guitar with Iggy Pop.
In the 1990s Ivan Král released solo albums with some success in the Czech Republic and produced a number of Czech musicians. He continues to reside in the US.
Zuzana Wienerová emigrated to the United States in the 1960’s with her late husband, RAF pilot and World War II hero Jan Wiener. Mr. Wiener was imprisoned by the Communists for five years after returning from Britain. We spoke today about their romantic love story, their life in the U.S. and the challenges they faced. I first asked her how she and her husband met.
Artist Sonya Darrow spends her time in the Czech Republic and in Iowa, two places where she feels at home. Her interesting exhibition “Stezky/Pathways” recently opened at the American Center in Prague. I spoke to her about how she explores the questions of identity and cultural connections though her work and started off by asking her how she become involved in the Czech community.
The Senate committee for expats has requested the government to consider
the repatriation of some 240 ethnic Czechs from Venezuela where they are
suffering from permanent unrest and poverty.
Millions of people in the country are now affected by a shortage of food and medicines. Of the 240 expats who have expressed a desire to return to their old homeland 146 have Czech citizenship.
There are estimated to be around 300 ethnic Czechs living in the country.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Czech Embassy in Caracas was closed down six years ago and such requests are now dealt with via the Czech consulate in Havana.
War veteran Colonel Josef Holy has died at the age of 99. Holy fought in
the Eastern front in WWII and was later taken into German captivity.
After being released he joined a resistance group composed of Volhynian Czechs and volunteered for the newly formed 1st Czechoslovak army corps. He fought in the battle for the Dukla pass, where he was hit in the head by a shrapnel.
After the war he was a member of the anti-communist resistance for which he was sentenced to 18 months in jail and later only allowed to do menial labour. Holy was rehabilitated after 1989 and received the Memory of the Nation Award.
Decorated in a style reminiscent of a Czech apartment from the 1960s, London’s Lounge Bohemia is a cocktail bar with a twist. Each drink is served with its own colourful story and many draw on scientific techniques, including, for instance, being turned into edible alcoholic cotton. Even the glasses look like something out of a mad professor’s laboratory. Lounge Bohemia is every inch the creation of Czech Pavel Tvaroh, who has been running the basement bar for more than a decade. When we spoke there I asked Tvaroh about its “molecular mixology”
The number of people who receive Czech pensions and live abroad has been
steadily growing in recent years, according to data released by the Czech
Social Security Administration on Tuesday. In 2017, the number of Czech
pensioners living abroad reached 93,236 compared to 59,548 in 2010.
More than two thirds of the recipients are based in neighbouring countries: 32,000 pensions are sent to Slovakia, over 19,000 to Germany and over 15,000 to Poland. In total, the Czech Social Security Administration is sending pensions to people in 88 foreign countries.
In several countries there was only one recipient in 2017, including Algeria, India and Madagascar.
Sylva Šimsová was 18 when her father, a Social Democrat politician, told her the family had to escape from Czechoslovakia. It was 1949, a year after the Communists had taken power. The young Sylva insisted that her fiancé, whom she had met through her beloved scouts only six months earlier, come with them. Remarkably, almost 70 years later she and her husband – a composer and broadcaster who goes by the name Karel Janovický – are still together.