Mladen Vranic, a Canadian scientist of Croatian background with Czechoslovak connections (Mladen Vranic, chorvatský vědec v československém kontextu)

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Mladen VranicAuthor: Josef Cermak ( PLUS)

This remarkable story really began in 1921, when guided by J. J. R. MacLeod, Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best isolated from the pancreas the hormone later called insulin and discovered its use in treatment of diabetes. Collip, a visiting Canadian professor, purified insulin so that it could be given to diabetic patients. For this discovery Banting shared with MacLeod the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Banting died in 1941 in a plane crash while on route to England on a medical war mission. That year Best, who at that time served as associate director of the Connaught Laboratories (where a few years later – and this constitutes the first, very indirect connection suggested in the title of this article – Mikuska Perinova worked as a technician on the development of the Salk polio vaccine) was appointed director of the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto. There was depression in various members of the family and his omission in awarding the Nobel Prize may have later contributed to his severe depressions. Continue reading

Petition to Reconsider the Decision for Closing the Consulate in Montreal (Petice proti zrušení konzulátu České republiky v Montrealu)

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The Government of the Czech Republic has decided to close down our 90 year old Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Montreal on March 31. 2010

For 90 years the Czech Consulate in Montreal, a landmark and relevant member of the diplomatic community in Canada and Montreal in particular, has efficiently provided consular services and placed its substantial cultural, educational, humanitarian and scientific resources, not only for the disposition of Czechs and Canadians, but also for persons and institutions of a wide array of nationalities from the rest of the world.

Furthermore its staff has been awarded various honors, the most recent granted to the present Consul General, The Honorable Ms. Jaroslava Jeslinkova, Woman of the Year 2009 by the Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Québec. Continue reading

Joseph Ctirad Vrana

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Author: Josef Čermák ( PLUS)

Josef Čermák is one of our frequent contributors. Throughout the last 8 months, he has written many articles about our community in Canada and other stories that many Czech and Slovak expatriates relate to. This time his story has a sad tone to it as he announces the death of his friend, Joseph Ctirad Vrana, and one of the Czech immigrants in Canada. Click on the image if you would like to read his personal message.


Česká verze ZDE

Photo for © Marie Zieglerová

Pilsen…Ottawa….The story o two monuments to the victims of Communism (Příběh dvou památníků obětem komunismu)

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Obětem zlaAuthor: Josef Cermak ( PLUS)

The garden of his soul

The Pilsen monument is today known as the Meditation Garden of Luboš Hruška (the author of a book on the monument and its creator, Irena Kastnerová, named her book “Luboš Hruška and the garden of his soul”). It is also known as “The Monument to the Victims of Evil.” Originally, it was planned by its creator as a monument to the victims of communism. This is what he wrote about communism in January, 1998: “Even today we still don’t know all the catastrophes caused by communist power in the world. Tens of millions dead and mentally or physically marked, thousands of disrupted families, a ruined environment, crippled economy, but worst of all, sick human souls. Continue reading

Peter Nagy in Australia (Peter Nagy v Austrálii)

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Koncert v Melbourne (Concert in Melbourne)Melodies that bring a smile to your face, clever lyrics and recitation “charged” with a peculiar charm – no wonder that the compatriots in Australia evaluated a concert by Peter Nagy as one of the coolest they have ever experienced here.

Again, I had an opportunity to participate in the implementation of the Melbourne tour, organized in October in Sydney Australia by, as usual, an impresario Peter Vitek. Unlike singers Karel Gott, Helena Vondráčková, Marta Kubišová, and Olympic that we presented to Czech and Slovak viewers living in Australia in the past ten years, a Slovak singer Peter Nagy is not as known in the former exile since the beginnings of his artistic track dates from 1983. Continue reading

Czech Festival in Banat, Romania, Was a Success! (Český festival v Banátu, Rumunsko, byl úspěšný!)

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A unique Czech festival emphasizing the Czech culture just took place in Saint Helena, Banat in Romania. About six months ago you may have read about the Czech villages in Banat and their citizens that managed to preserve their culture and language for more than 180 years. The community, consisting of almost 2,000 Czechs, is somewhat special because it offers visitors the opportunity to see what the Czech villages used to look like. The Czech Republic is changing and its towns and villages transformed thanks to new technology and modern transportation. On the other hand, time in the villages in Banat has stood still and this year’s festival again showed how folklore traditions are still passed from one generation to the next.

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A Little Sneak Peak into the Czech and Slovak US Pageant (Malé nahlédnutí do soutěže Miss Czech-Slovak US)

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Last week a new 2009 Miss Czech Slovak US Queen was crowned during the Wilber Czech Festival held in Wilber, NE. This yearly event plays an important role in our Czech and Slovak community in the USA. It allows all Czechs and Slovaks to get involved in introducing our heritage to others. strongly believes in community involvement and holding on to our heritage. That is why we became a sponsor of the new award called the Heritage Involvement Award that focuses on the contestant’s involvement in Czech/Slovak events/activities etc. We are preparing an interview with the new 2009 Miss Czech Slovak US Queen, Brianna Tichy, and Tanya Jech, the recipient of the Heritage Involvement Award and you will be able to read about them soon, as well as about what it takes to organize such an event.

Today, we would like to show you a small sneak peak into the pageant. Continue reading

Czech/Slovak Expatriates (4): Jan Rubes (Čeští/slovenští expati (4): Jan Rubeš)

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jan-rubesAuthor: Josef Čermák ( PLUS)

According to an announcement made by his family on June 30, 2009, Jan Rubeš, one of the most impressive, most important and best loved Czechoslovak artists in the world, died at the age of 89. No cause of death was given.

Rubeš was born in Volyně, Czechoslovakia, on June 6. 1920, attended Real-Gymnasium (a Czech term for a high school) in Strakonice (graduating in the year of the Munich surrender), and matriculated at both the Faculty of Medicine. Continue reading

Czech/Slovak Expatriates (3): Mirko Janecek (Čeští/slovenští expati (3): Mirko Janeček)

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Author: Josef Čermák ( PLUS)

Last April, the Czech writer, Blanka Kubesova, paid in Pozitivni noviny a tribute to Mirko Janecek and his newspaper, Kanadské Listy. In her story, which also displayed several interesting photographs from her archives, Blanka Kubesova mentions that last year – after 42 years – Mirko Janecek ceased publication of Kanadske Listy, a newspaper he took over from I. J. Sharoun and first published in mimiographed form and later, as a printed monthly. Continue reading

Helping To Bring Power to the Powerless (Pomoc, která přinese moc bezmocným)

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While those of us living in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom enjoy basic freedoms and democracy, there are still many people struggling for basic freedoms and human rights in societies which deny them. Their lives, however, can be changed thanks to the commitment of people and organizations to provide them with support and help.

One of the countries where civil liberties used to be deprived was, for example, the former Czechoslovakia. Based on today’s research and surveys, young generations lack a basic understanding of what it was like to live under the totalitarian regimeContinue reading

Czech/Slovak Expatriates (2): Jarmila Knopova (Čeští/slovenští expati (2): Jarmila Knopová)

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Author: Josef Čermák ( PLUS)

Jarmila Knop (Puchýrová) was born on April 30, 1947 in Nové Město in Moravia, where her uncle Joza and aunt Věra Svítil still live. Reminiscing, after Jarmila’s death, at the recent ‘Zpěvánky’ (an annual musical session) in Nové Město, her class-mate, Blanka Vystrčilová, spoke so eloquently about Jarmila’s childhood and youth, that I can’t resist quoting generously from her remarks:

“A fair-haired little girl, with a satchel on her shoulder, walked to school, hand in hand with her mother. How could it be otherwise? Jarmila’s mother was a teacher at the elementary school. Time rushed by, the little girl was growing up, devoting practically all her free time to sports. She excelled in athletics – throwing a cricket ball or a grenade further than the best among the boys, was a good jumper (both the wide and high jumps), and a good sprinter. In Czechoslovakia, she ranked close to the top in several disciplines. Continue reading

61st Congress of the Czech and Slovak Association of Canada – from a slightly different angle

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This is a second article by one of our new authors: Josef Cermak, a Doctor of law, journalist, writer, poet, actor and a lifelong organizer of public and scientific life for Czech and Slovak countrymen in Canada. Last time he wrote about a famous physician Dr.Premysl (Mike) Pelnar that recently passed away. The story today is about his visit of the 61st Congress of the Czech and Slovak Association in Canada. The Czech version to this article can be found in our “Czech Only” version of named PLUS, where he regularly contributes with his insightful and brilliant articles.  

One can view the Montreal Congress celebrating 70 years of existence (under slightly different names) of the Czech and Slovak Association of Canada from different perspectives: Continue reading