Freddie Botur, who was born Vratislav Botur, fled Czechoslovakia in 1948, shortly after taking part in a student march to Prague Castle aimed at preventing the Communists from seizing power. The ambitious young émigré eventually ended up in New York, where he became a successful developer and owner of tennis clubs, including the well-known Tennisport on the banks of the East River.
Since 1997, the Czech Foreign Ministry has been honouring those who promote the good name of the Czech Republic abroad with the annual Gratias Agit awards. Last Friday, October 14, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg handed out the awards to thirteen personalities from around the globe to thank them for their outstanding work.
A new documentary that will premiere in Czech cinemas next week depicts the lesser known part of the life of the Czech-born actor Jiří (or George) Voskovec. In his homeland, he is best known as the co-founder and co-star of Prague’s pre-war avant-garde theatre troupe, the Liberated Theatre. Having spent the war in exile in New York, Jiří Voskovec again moved to the US after the 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. The new film, entitled My Father George Voskovec, follows his daughter Gigi retracing her father’s life, from the difficult beginnings
Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra, Czech ambassador to the United States Petr Gandalovič and senators Štětina and Grulich will represent the Czech Republic at the funeral of anti-communist resistance fighter Ctirad Mašín in the United States on Wednesday. Mr. Mašín is to be buried with military honours and the Czech defence minister is to confer the Golden Linden military distinction upon him in memoriam. The decoration and the presence of Czech officials at the funeral has divided the nation since many consider the actions of the Mašín brothers, who killed six police officers, some of who were subdued and unarmed, in their daring escape from communist Czechoslovakia, highly unethical. According to the results of a poll commissioned by Czech Public Television only 15 percent of Czechs consider them heroes. Ctirad Mašín died after a prolonged illness at the age of 81.
Anti-communist resistance fighter Ctirad Mašín has died at the age of 81. The older of the two Mašín brothers succumbed to a prolonged illness in the company of family members in Cleveland in the United States. The brothers are known for their armed resistance to the Communist regime during the early 1950s and their killing of several officers of the secret police, one of whom was unarmed, during their escape from the country. Mašín then served in the American army for five years before becoming a private businessman. The brothers remain subjects of controversy today, with some saying they should be decorated for their deeds, while others consider them murderers.
Czech Center in New York has launched a competition to choose the author of street banners that will decorate the building of the Czech mission to the UN on Madison Avenue. The organizers set no specific theme for “Windows on Madison” as the series will be called; however, it should explore today’s social, cultural or environmental topics, Ivana Siglerova from Czech Centers said on Sunday. The competition is open for Czech artists as well as those who reside in the Czech Republic; the deadline for entries is September 11.
American jazz trumpet player Laco Deczi - born in Czechoslovakia – needs little introduction, especially for anyone familiar with the world of jazz. At 73, Deczi hasn’t let up one bit – most recently playing a month-long tour in his homeland. Despite a busy schedule, Laco took time off to come to Radio Prague’ studio; in this week’s Arts he discusses everything from life in New York to his spring tour.
If you want to find out more about the long history of Czechs and Slovaks in the United States, the place to start is The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The museum was devastated by floods in 2008 and some 6,000 flood-damaged volumes from the library are still being painstakingly restored. But the pace of recovery has been remarkably fast, and within the next couple of years, an ambitious project to rebuild and expand the museum should be complete. With it the library will also be up and running once again. In
If you want to find out more about the long history of Czechs and Slovaks in the United States, the place to start is The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The museum was devastated by floods in 2008 and some 6,000 flood-damaged volumes from the library are still being painstakingly restored. But the pace of recovery has been remarkably fast, and within the next couple of years, an ambitious project to rebuild and expand the museum should be complete. With it the library will also be up and running once again.
An era has come to an end with the demise of Americké listy, the leading Czech-language newspaper in the United States. Its publishers Petr and Vera Bísek have decided to call time on the bi-monthly publication, which succeeded a paper started in the mid 1960s by another Czech émigré, Frank Švehla. The couple, who are in their late 60s, live in New York state but are currently visiting family at a village near Plzeň. On the phone from there, Petr Bísek explained why they had taken the decision to close Americké listy.