The 16th all-Sokol slet (gathering) begins in Prague next Sunday and will bring together thousands of people from the Czech physical fitness organisation, which was founded in 1862. Among those attending the week-long jamboree – which this year celebrates the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia – will be hundreds of members of American Sokol. Its president, Chicago-based Jean Hruby, stopped by at our studios ahead of the big event.
Jana Reichová left Czechoslovakia just weeks after the country’s invasion by Soviet-led troops in 1968 and started a new life in Sydney together with her husband and son. Soon after her arrival in Australia she became involved in work for the Czech and Slovak community. Among other things, she contributed to Czech broadcasts at SBS radio popularising works by exiled authors. Last week, Mrs Reichová received the Gratias Agit Award from the Czech Foreign Ministry for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has handed out its annual Gratias Agit Awards to Czech expatriates and foreigners for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. This year’s recipients include the Parisian branch of the Sokol movement or the group of Russian citizens, who protested on Moscow’s Red Square in 1968 against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Troops.
One hundred years ago this autumn, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk stood atop the stairs of Independence Hall in Philadelphia – where both the American Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were adopted – to proclaim the creation of a new sovereign state, Czechoslovakia. But the seeds of liberty first took firm root in the spring of 1918 with the May 31st signing of the “Pittsburgh Agreement”, a memorandum of understanding between the Czech and Slovak immigrant communities to create an independent republic.
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.
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.
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”
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.