Few people in the Czech Republic know that a significant chapter in the history of early Czech sound recordings was written by Czech immigrants in the United States. For several years now, Filip Šír from the National Museum in Prague has been searching for the lost recordings and the stories of the people behind them. Last year, he published his findings in a book called Bohemia on Records, written together with music collector Gabriel Goessel. But he says there is still much more waiting to be discovered.
Despite being in his early 30s, Martin Mucha is already a successful Czech businessman in New York. Many locals may know Igluu, the real estate website he co-founded which claims to be the largest source of verified home listings in the Big Apple. Apart from looking into ways of expanding and innovating the company, Mr. Mucha also plays an active role among America’s Czech community. I recently had the chance to catch up with him and began by asking when he first decided to be an entrepreneur.
Just over 100 years ago, the American steel town of Pittsburgh was host to a memorandum of understanding between the nation’s Czech and Slovak immigrant communities to create an independent republic following the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, the city is home to one of America’s largest Slovak communities, a modest Czech one, and a school that unites expatriates of both. Alice Ždrale, head of the Czech and Slovak School of Pittsburgh, on a working trip back to her native Prague, shares the story of the informal school, one of the
Czech President Miloš Zeman offered his condolences to his US counterpart
Donald Trump on Monday, following two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio this
weekend which left 29 people dead and at least 50 injured.
The Czech head of state called the attacks “brutal killings, which are nothing less than mass murder.”
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed and injured. According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, there are no Czechs among the victims of the shootings.
Journalist Julie Urbišová has just published a book entitled Doma v NOLA, or At Home in NOLA, with NOLA meaning New Orleans, Louisiana. Having first visited the city on a student stay in 2007, Urbišová has now been living for several years in New Orleans, from where she reports for Czech Radio, Czech Television and other outlets. Our conversation took in NOLA’s Czech connections, its crime rate and Hurricane Katrina. But it began with the organisation of its famous Mardi Gras parades.
Bohdan Pomahač led the team that carried out the first ever full transplant of a human face in the United States. The Boston-based plastic surgeon recently received the Gratias Agit award from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. After the ceremony, I spoke to the famous physician about various aspects of facial transplantation – and much more.
The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, prides itself on bringing Czech and Slovak expats more in touch with their roots, as well as inspiring all people to connect with Czech and Slovak history and culture. The museum’s President and CEO Cecilia Rokusek visited Radio Prague’s studio to talk about its mission, current projects and outlooks for the future. I first asked her to say a few words about the museum’s history.
An event at the Strahov Monastery took place on Tuesday to celebrate the statue of the Virgin Mary in Exile, which was placed in its garden exactly 25 years ago. The statue, which previously stood in the Czech Benedictine College in Lisle, near Chicago, was commissioned by Czechoslovak expats in the US in the 1950s and became a symbolical connection to their homeland.
A century ago the Czech community in New York was centred around the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Indeed, an estimated 40,000 Czechs lived in the area known as Yorkville. Ed Chlanda’s family were members of that community and the 80-year-old kindly gave me a tour of the neighbourhood, taking in a former Czech bank, the street where he grew up, the Jan Hus church and the Bohemian National Hall. But we started at the New York Sokol on East 71st St., where Chlanda is an active member. Surrounded by photos, medals and other memorabilia in the Sokol
Robert Tomanek is currently in Prague researching a book about Czech immigrants to America and the Sokol gymnastics movement, of which he has been a member almost all his life. The Iowa-based scientist, who grew up speaking Czech, is also a member of the board of the Sokol Museum and Library in the US – an institution that he and his colleagues are now working hard to create. When Tomanek visited our studio we discussed all things Sokol, past and present. But we began with his own background.