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

A Slightly Unconventional Thanksgiving (Trošku nekonvenční Den díkuvzdání)

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Today is Thanksgiving, a harvest festival celebrated in the United States and Canada. On this day people give thanks for the harvest. Even though Thanksgiving is not celebrate in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, many Czechs and Slovaks express their gratitude while living in the USA and Canada or other democratic countries. For them, living in a free country brings with it more appreciation than just during this holiday. Many of them left the country, while it was still controlled by the Communist party and found their freedom far away from their homes, while risking their lives during their escapes. The article named “Giving Thanks for Freedom, Remembering the Czech Revolution” posted on the San Diego News Network by Marketa Hancova, the dean of education at Platt College, San Diego School of Art and Design, speaks just about that and more. The English version can be found HERE and its translation is posted below. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving! Continue reading

Enjoy the Czech Hospitality of the Past (Vychutnejte si české pohostinství z minulosti)

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Do you still remember going to Czech restaurants and pubs with tacky decorations, dirty walls, sticky tables or dirty tablecloths with set in stains? The food from that era was very simple, maybe too oily or salty, but very cheap. In places like this you could find interesting people and an atmosphere that was much different form the one you may experience today. This week you can find a restaurant like this in Prague 3 called “U dvou Hrabalu” on Chelcickeho 14 Street. The restaurant was re-designed to show what Czech or even Slovak pubs used to look like in the eighties or maybe even earlier times. Until Sunday, the visitors have a chance to go back in time to re-live the past that may have already been forgotten.

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The Velvet Revolution and how the Czech public perceives it today (Sametová revoluce a jak to dnes vidí česká veřejnost)

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Ilustrace pro CzechFolks.com © František FrK KratochvílReaders of CzechFolks.com PLUS have been following a series on what foreign radios broadcasted in last weeks of the totalitarian regime and the early days of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. As the recent surveys have shown, it was the media and especially foreign radio broadcasts that had a major impact on sharing information with the Czech and Slovak population. This was confirmed by 86% of respondents in the research, which was done early in the autumn of this year by the staff from the Center for Public Opinion Research (part of the Institute of Sociology of the Cs. Academy of Sciences). Miroslav Sigl was invited to the final data presentation from the investigation of a large sample of 1046 respondents from the age of 15 and older. Continue reading

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 (CzechFolks.com 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

Totalitarian Regime Does Not Belong to the 21st Century! (Totalita do 21. století nepatří!)

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This is the title of a social event that is taking place in Prague. Some of you may think it is an ironic title since the Communist party rules in the current Czech Parliament; however, the event is reminiscent of the communist era of the last century, when both countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were united as Czechoslovakia and the country was “sheltered” by the powerful Iron Curtain. The event itself is directed to the public of all ages; however, the major contributors to the event are in fact children and young adults that did not live during this era in Czech and Slovak history.

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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

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 (1): Dr. Premysl Pelnar (Čeští/slovenští expati (1): Dr. Přemysl Pelnář)

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The story below is about a very important Czech doctor, Premysl Pelnar, who recently passed away (5th of April, 2009) at the age of 95 years old. Dr. Pelnar, a Czech physician, who immigrated to Canada from the former Czechoslovakia in 1964, played a significant role in the area of occupational health. For example, he organized several research projects that resulted in hundreds of scientific publications and lead several research projects all over the world. A fund named “Dr. Premysl (Mike) Pelnar Academic Enrichment Fund” was also established in his honor in the Department of Occupational Health at McGill University in Montreal. The story is written by our new author 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. The Czech version to this article can be found in our “Czech Only” version of CzechFolks.com named CzechFolks.com PLUS, where he regularly contributes with his insightful and brilliant articles.

I am hoping that Dr. Premysl (Premík, Mike) Pelnar is with us in spirit. I am sure that if he could, he would be with us in body as well. And most likely would deliver a riveting, charming and smiling oration on the vicissitudes of his life. And what a life it was! 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

Festival “Mene Tekel” – Stories of Victims of the Totalitarian Regime That You Will Relive (Festival “Mene Tekel” – Prožijte Příběhy Obětí Totalitního Režimu)

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On February 23rd, a third year of the international festival against totalitarianism “Mene Tekel” has started. The cultural event accompanying the Czech presidency in the EU Council will last one week. During this time, people will revisit memories and hear testimonies of former political prisoners. The festival will also include artistic reflections of totalitarianism in films, books by living legends, verses of imprisoned men and woman, historians’ views, and much more.

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Children and Communism – How Much Do They Know? (Děti a Komunismus – Kolik Toho Ví?)

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It has been twenty years since the end of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia. Today, many adults of ages 40 and above still remember what it used to be like to live in a communist country. Some of them even attempted to escape the regime by illegal crossings through a border line with the western countries that was symbolically called the Iron Curtain. Many children today don’t know much about the tough times during the communist regime and even schools don’t teach them about this important part of the Czech and Slovak history. The change is emerging soon, however, since a new history curriculum is being tested at selected schools.  Possibly a new video for small children describing the end of the Iron Curtain by the Czech government will introduce a new way of teaching about the history of former Czechoslovakia after World War II.

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