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

Jakub Cermin – a Political Prisoner and a Symbol of Freedom and Humanity (Jakub Čemin – politický vězeň a symbol svobody a humanity)

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The number of people with deep national values and knowledge of Czech and Slovak history over the last half century is shrinking. One of the people that fell in this small margin of the Czech and Slovak population just passed away. Jakub Cermin (May 2nd, 1917 – August 27th, 2009), the former head of the Freedom Fighters, could really say a lot about his life experiences. As a matter of fact, he wrote hundreds of articles reflecting his memories, feelings, views, and hopes about our nation. His blindness, towards the end of his life, however, did not stop him as he still continued in sacrificing his life and dignity for our liberty until his passing. Continue reading

1968 – A Year Without a Summer (1968 – Rok bez léta)

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Today, like every year, Czechs and Slovaks commemorate the infamous anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. On that day the former liberator put an end to Dubcek’s effort to build “socialism with a human face.” The invasion reflected the disapproval of the rebirth of social and political freedom known as “Prague Spring.” On the night of August 20 to 21, 1968, the country was invaded by five Warsaw Pact countries. On that day the Prague Spring ended and was followed by the cold “Brezhnev’s Doctrine” that brought a new chill to the Cold War. The “Détente” was over. Continue reading

Blast From the Past (Vzpomínky na minulost)

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One of our readers sent us some interesting photos. They describe our past from times that may be long forgotten – from the communist era. Some of the photos made us laugh, whereas others reminded us again how oppressed and isolated our lives used to be. If you lived in Czechoslovakia during this unfortunate time in our history, you know what we are talking about. For those fortunate ones, who did not live through these times, we can just explain what the slide show is about. Simply said, they bring back images of times, places and things that do not exist anymore. For example, you should stop to take a look at a roll of toilet paper that was as stiff as writing paper. Truly, it was a famous shocking item for foreigners that visited our country. You may also see a line to a meat market that did not have much to sell. Continue reading

Vaclav Havel – A Year Later Hospitalized Again (Václav Havel – Po Roce Opět Hospitalizován)

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(www.unscburma.org)

The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, was hospitalized and underwent throat surgery. After the surgery he suffered complications and was in serious conditions. His condition; however, just slightly improved compared to Wednesday morning. He is able to move and eat but he is very tired and needs a respiratory to breath. His wife, Dagmar Havlova, visits him on regular basis but even her visits are limited to give the former country leader a better opportunity for quicker recovery. 

Less than a year ago, Vaclav Havel ended up in the hospital. Last year he suffered from bronchitis and complained of a heart problem. His condition was not serious at that time but he needed intensive treatments. Havel used to be a heavy smoker and frequently experienced health problems. After his operation to remove lung cancer and other surgeries, he had breathing difficulties and needed extra care to treat other health problems caused by these invasive treatments.

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The Best Christmas Gift – An Auschwitz Survivor Story (Nejlepsi Vanocní Darek – Pribeh Zeny co Prezila Osvetim)

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Birkenau

It has been more than half a century since World War II ended. There are fewer and fewer people in the world that can describe what they experienced during these tough times. Stories about German concentration camps are almost forgotten or even dismissed as exaggerated or even fabricated. One Czechoslovak Jewish citizen lives today to tell you that the camps existed and her tattoo with her ID number remains as a reminder of her traumatic experience. Her name is Alice and she moved to the USA along with her children that are now in their 50s. This year they spent Christmas separately but Alice was still present in a way – they watched her interview named “Shoah” (Holocaust) that describes her experiences prior, during, and after her stay at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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The US Radar Base Talks Bring CZ Tank Back Home (Diskuze o US Radarove Zakladne Prinasi Cesky Tank Zpet Domu)

Between the two world wars, Czechoslovakia was one of the Europe’s most industrialized countries and one of the world’s biggest arms producers. The LT-35 light tank was the most cutting-edge weapon in its category. It was admired by Nazis during World War II and also by Americans after the war. Now, it is coming back to the Czech Republic from the United States thanks to the Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova, who negotiated its transport within the framework of US radar-base talks in the United States in July.

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