Concert in Memory of Patriška ze Slaného

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Author: Josef Čermák

The concert on Sunday, November 28, 2010, one in the series of Dr. Miloš Krajný’s Nocturnes, was sponsored by the estate and family of Patriška ze Slaného, Vlasty Scheybalová, born Provazníková. Both CzechFolks and the Toronto Satellite published articles about Vlasta a few months ago.

Today, just a few dates: Vlasta was born in 1928 in Slaný and she died there in 2009. For a number of years, she lived with her husband Frantisek and son of the same name in Toronto. Today, all of them sleep in their family grave in a charming little cemetery in Bolton, Ontario. A fate – at least seemingly – not dissimilar to the fate of many Czech and Slovak families. Except that the fate of the Scheybal family was written more tragically. And also, because Vlasta left behind an unusually deep footprint.

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From Generation to Generation – Agnes Tomašovová

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Author: Josef Čermák

Towards the end of last October, I attended in the North York Centre for the Arts – at the invitation of my friend, Ladislav P. Kozak, the pastor of the Slovak Lutheran Evangelical Church in Toronto, who seems to have friends everywhere – a festive occasion: the inauguration of this year’s “Holocaust Education Week”. There must have been at least one thousand of us, the majority, of course, Jewish. We listened to an outstanding musical program and good speeches, but the evening belonged to seven remarkable people, who witnessed the horrors of the Nazi regime and bore witness of it. The evening was organized by the Azrieli Foundation established in 2005 to collect, preserve and share the memoirs and diaries written by those who survived Nazism and found a new home in Canada, and share their testimony with the largest possible number of people (the books written by the survivors are distributed free of charge to libraries, educational institutions and Holocaust-education programs across Canada and given to everyone who participates in the Foundation’s activities. Continue reading

Alice Herz Sommer: Thanks to music I am still alive today…

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Author: Martina Roe

A few days ago I set off with my son to visit Alice Herz Sommer in her very cosy and modest flat in Belsize Park in North London and made an exclusive interview with her for readers of CzechFolks.com Plus. It was a few days before her 107th birthday.

Alice is currently the oldest Holocaust survivor and the second oldest Czech woman. Despite her age she welcomes several visitors each day into her flat who come to share her memories and life experiences. During my 40-minute stay she welcomed three more visitors from a young writer, visitor from Prague and another local lady who also survived her stay in a concentration camp. Till present day, Alice plays the piano for three hours a day and her flatmates say that living in the same block of flats as Alice means that they can listen to lovely piano recitals each day for free. Even passersby stop by Alice’s window and listen to her playing beautiful music. Alice loves to play Smetana and Dvořák, but her favourite is Beethoven. Alice assigns her longevity to optimism. Continue reading

A Story About the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square (Příběh Pražského orloje)

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If you would like to see a real historical object in Prague, surrounded by mysterious stories and a long history, you would find such a structure on the side wall of the Old Town Hall. Can you guess which one? If you guessed the Prague Astronomical Clock, you were absolutely right. This clock was built in 1410, by Mikulas of Kadan, and recently celebrated its 600th anniversary.

Mikulas of Kadan was not the only person behind this historical clock tower. He collaborated with Jan Ondrejuv, who was a mathematician and astrologist. The clock was then rebuilt by the master Hanus, who was permanently blinded so he could not recreate such a masterpiece anywhere else in the world. Master Hanus, however, damaged the clock and cursed it against those, who would try to repair it again. The clock became silent for more than fifty years. Continue reading

The Painted Churches of Texas: Echoes of the Homeland (Malované kostely v Texasu: Ozvěny vlasti)

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Praha church

Praha church

Watch this interesting video by KLRU television, a public TV station in Texas that did a story of churches built by 19th century Czech immigrants to this rough but promising territory. These churches transport the visitor back to a different era, a different way of life. The story of these buildings is the story of a people striving to succeed in a new country and still preserve the values and culture of their homelands.
The video, by Tom Spencer, also describes how today’s Czech generations preserve their culture and are proud of their ancestors, heritage and faith. It is almost one hour long but it is worth of watching.

More information about the video can be found HERE.

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Sledujte toto zajímavé video připravené stanicí KLRU, veřejnou televizní stanicí v Texasu, o kostelech postavených v 19. století českýmí přistěhovalci v tomto drsném, ale slibném území. Tyto kostely povedou diváky zpět do jiné éry, jiného způsobu života. Příběhy těchto budov jsou příběh lidí snažích se uspět v nové zemi a přesto si zachovat hodnoty a kulturu jejich domoviny.
Video, od Toma Spencera, také popisuje, jak si dnešní české generace zachovávají jejich kulturu a jsou hrdí na své předky, kulturní dědictví a víru. Video je téměř jednu hodinu dlouhá, ale stojí za sledování.

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WATCH THE VIDEO HERE  

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CF PLUS

Facebook Reunites Czech Mother and Son (Facebook spojil matku a syna)

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There is no denying the influence that Facebook has on the world and how we communicate, but the story that we first came across on Radio Praha really touched our hearts. Ladislava Schroderova didn’t know much about computers just a little over a year ago, but after hearing stories of families being reunited with loved ones on Facebook she set out on a mission to find her long lost son Jiri.

Ladislava was separated from her son in the 1980s when her estranged husband took custody of Jiri and defected to Austria. Continue reading

An Extraordinary Man (2/2)

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Katerina Erlebachova, author of this story, is an expat living in Ireland. Even though the story is not related to the Czech culture, we believe it belongs on this site. It describes the world and people through the eyes of a Czech woman, who found inspiration while living abroad and meeting people that impact so many of us around the world.
We would like to thank you for the wonderful and inspirational story.

Liam´s present life

Living alone and independently in a small house in Galway, Liam regularly trains in the gym, does tai chi, goes swimming, and works with a large variety of therapeutic modalities. He flies regularly to London for chiropractic treatment. He is extremely disciplined in his diet which is mostly organic with a large percentage of those foods being raw and unprocessed. Continue reading

An Extraordinary Man (1/2)

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Katerina Erlebachova, author of this story, is an expat living in Ireland. Even though the story is not related to the Czech culture, we believe it belongs on this site. It describes the world and people through the eyes of a Czech woman, who found inspiration while living abroad and meeting people that impact so many of us around the world.
We would like to thank you for the wonderful and inspirational story.

Three years ago I was slowly walking alone down an ancient street in Galway, a city in the West of Ireland. I had a mood that people in the Czech Republic call ‘spleen’. A mood when the day feels grey and the mind wanders from nothing to nothing. My gaze drifted to the window of a health food shop and came across something inside that I couldn’t look away from. A very big guy leaning on crutches was laughing widely. I went inside for a moment to observe the situation. The man moved very slowly, then his body stopped shaking for a moment. I had to concentrate to hear what he was saying because his articulation was difficult to understand. When I realized what he was saying I was astonished. He was telling jokes, dallying with the salesgirls. I bought some healthy chocolate in the healthy shop. I went outside and ate it all up. It was irritating. Continue reading

The End of a Consulate (Konec jednoho konzulátu)

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This year’s month of March did not treat our community overly kindly. The row of friends to whom we said good bye this March is longer than other years. Quite a number of us gathered the last day of the month in Montreal to attend a somewhat different funeral: we lost a consulate. And this was not a run-of-the mill consulate. Which is not to suggest that the Czech Republic (and before that Czechoslovakia) ever had in Canada an unusually high number of consular establishments. But the Montreal consulate had much closer ties ties with the Czech (and even more Czechoslovak) history, than is usually the case.

What goes for the Montreal consulate, goes equally for the City of Montreal: it was in Montreal where in 1924 a group of immigrants from Czechoslovakia – mostly Slovaks – established Československý podpůrný spolek (Czechoslovak Mutual Benefit Society); it was in Montreal where in 1929 two newspapers commenced publication: Slovenské Bratrstvo (Slovak Brotherhood) and Kanadské noviny (Canadian Newspaper) – /the first Slovak newspaper in Canada, Slovenské slovo (Slovak Word), was published in Blairmore, Alberta in 1910/. Continue reading

Email interview: Jan Kavalír interviews Josef Čermák (E-mailový rozhovor: Jan Kavalír zpovídá Josefa Čermáka)

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Author: Josef Cermak (CzechFolks.com PLUS)
 
 
 
 
 

 

1.
Q.: When did you emigrate to Canada and why? Was it entirely for political reasons? And why Canada?

A. I left Czechoslovakia (on my knees, secretly, “over the hillocks”) with my blacksmith friend Lada Dufek on October 28, 1949 (we were selfishly counting on the police raging in Prague). ‘Our’ ship, ‘U.S.A.T. Le Roy Eltinge’ arrived in Canada (in Halifax) on April 23, 1949. That ship wasn’t completely ‘ours’ but we Czechoslovaks formed a formidable group: 113 people. Continue reading

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 (CzechFolks.com 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