Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed (Československo, stát, který zklamal)

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Czechoslovakia: The State That FailedAuthor: Josef Cermak (CzechFolks.com PLUS)

The author of the book “Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed”, Mary Heinmann, is an American historian teaching at the Strathclyde University in Scotland. Her book was published by the Yale University Press.

According to the review (an example of how reviews should be written) in the Economist (Nov.21, 2009), Ms Heinmann sees the former Czechoslovakia as a political entity which was born out of trickery and died in failure; as an artificial creature, essentially a fraud, and the wily duo responsible for the fraud, Tomas Masaryk and Edward Benes, who duped the victorious Western allies into creation of a new country, which ignored the interests of all ethnic groups (particularly the Germans) except Czechs and Slovaks; its treatment of the Sudeten Germans in the first republic as the ultimate cause of the first Czechoslovak republic’s downfall and (together with reparations imposed on Germany) in large part responsible for the Second World War; following the Munich agreement, it engaged in anti-Semitism, which – in her view – was simply continuation of existing tendencies; and the work of Edward Benes and Jan Masaryk during the Second World War she sees as a story of Czech guile and Western gullibility, while describing the three postwar years before the communist seizure of power as a horrible period of racial revenge, rape, robbery and deportation inflicted on guilty and blameless Germans alike. And the Prague Spring was simply a by-product of a factional fight in the Communist Party. Continue reading

A Unique Way to Compare Historic and Current Prague (Unikátní způsob pro porovnání historické a aktuální Prahy)

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Would you like to see how Prague used to look like 100 years ago? You may want to go to the website below that shows authentic Prague photos and compares them to real paintings by the Czech artist Jan Minarik (1862 – 1937). The website is well done and easy to use, and allows you to move a bar in the middle of the photo to look at the old painting or the most recent photographs. You will be able to see places such as Havelsky trh, Kaprova and Maiselova Street, Charles Bridge, the National museum building, and many other beautiful places in the capital of the Czech Republic. You will be able to explore a total of 29 photograph/paintings and see, in some cases, dramatic changes in the landscape, and building sizes and orientation. 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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Czech/Slovak Expatriates (5): Josef Skvorecky (Čeští/slovenští expati (5): Josef Škvorecký)

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Josef ŠkvoreckýAn article by Josef Cermak about Josef Skvorecky, a well-known Czech writer, publisher, and expatriate, who spent much of his life in Canada and celebrates his 85th birthday tomorrow.

I don’t think there are many Czechs unfamiliar with the name Josef Škvorecký, even though they may not know that he was born in Nachod on September 27, 1924. And almost everyone of them knows one or two of his books, books such as The Cowards (Zbabělci), The Miracle Game (Mirákl), The Tank Corps (Tankový prapor), The Engineer of Human Souls (Příběh inženýra lidských duší), or the book I love best, The Swell Season (Prima sezona). If the majority of Škvorecký’ s most popular books focuses on a society, split by ideology, at a time of revolutionary changes, his literary pallet is much richer. The Swell Season is a sensitive portrayal of the maturing process not only of Josef Škvorecký, but his whole generation. Continue reading

Howdy from Texas (Jak se máš?)

By Eva Střížovská (CzechFolks.com PLUS) that founded the magazine Czech Dialogue to connect Czechs around the world. In her book “Howdy from Texas (Jak se mas?)”, she uniquely captured her experiences with Czech immigrants abroad and their lives far away from their home country.

Ennis Polka (Part 1)

One day about 3 years ago I got a phone call, „Hello, is it Eva? I am Jerry from Texas. My grandpa was Czech. I am holding your magazine Česky dialog in my hand and I love it. When are you coming to Texas?“ Continue reading

CzechFolks.com Celebrates One Year Anniversary (CzechFolks.com slaví 1. výročí)

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Ilustrace: Miloslav HeřmánekToday is a special day for CzechFolk.com, because we celebrate our first anniversary. The past twelve months were really amazing and we can’t wait to see what is ahead of us. Less than 6 months ago, we also introduced another affiliate named CzechFolks.com PLUS that brings lots of interesting articles from our talented authors that live all over the world. That is why we believe it is time to tell you more about our site and introduce to you our team of volunteers that contribute to the site. 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

A Real American Hero in the Czech Republic (Pravý americký hrdina v České republice)

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Collapsing Eiffel Tower or a Paris Rooftop scene? If you watched G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, you could see just that and more. Even though the set looked like it was located in Paris and other geographical locations, it was actually carefully designed in Prague. The motion picture is just another movie that was filmed in the Czech Republic, but one of the characters was played by the Czech supermodel and actress Karolina Kurkova, who is now expecting her first child with her fiancé Archie Drury. Many Czechs and Slovaks may not be familiar with this “Real American Hero” that has such long history in the American culture. Why the Czech Republic and who is G.I. Joe then? We will try to answer these questions and show you some interesting videos from behind the scenes and from the past of this action figure. Continue reading

A Czech Song Mocks Putin (Česká píseň se vysmívá Putinovi)

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The Russian song, set to a popular 1970s Czech tune Jozin z Bazin (Joey of the Marsh) by a Czech singer Ivan Mladek, is becoming trendier on YouTube in recent days. Today, over three million people have seen the video. The Russian lyrics say, “Putin, Putin goes to Pikalyovo. Putin, Putin will make it cool for us… Putin, Putin is quick to do justice. Putin, Putin is our Prime Minister… Jozin z Bazin is the people’s choice … oligarchs, miners and even cops know that Jozin z Bazin will be our new president.” The spoof song was made to make fun of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, who was ineligible to run for a third consecutive term as President in 2008 and became Prime Minister. Continue reading