Today in Mailbox: Listener feedback from Radio Miami International, response to Radio Prague's broadcasts, monthly listeners' quiz. Listeners/readers quoted: Henry Zapatka, Rutilio Flores, Vladimir Gudzenko, Constantin Liviu Viorel, Mohamed Elsayed Abd Elraheim, Hans Verner Lollike, Arne Timm, Jayanta Chakrabarty.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s monthly programme for your views, questions and comments. Thank you as always for all your feedback, be it via e-mail or on Facebook where you can find us at www.facebook.com/radioprague – where we post the highlights of our daily programme.

As our listeners in North America will know, Radio Prague’s broadcasts are relayed on shortwave via Radio Miami International on the continent on the frequency 9955 kHz and Radio Prague does confirm reception reports. Here are a couple of excerpts from recent listener correspondence kindly forwarded to us by Radio Miami International.

Henry Zapatka from the US state of Connecticut writes:

“Just a short note to send in a reception report of the program Wavescan that I listened to on your station. I enjoy this program and many others that you broadcast (World of Radio, Radio Prague, Radio Slovakia, Ukraine, etc.) during the week… I’m glad that you broadcast many of the shows at various times during the week so I’m able to hear them. I still enjoy listening to shortwave.”

Rutilio Flores from El Salvador wrote:

“I listen to your shortwave transmissions on my portable radio. As a learner of English I enjoy listening to your general programming since I get to hear the way people of different countries pronounce the English language. Tuning into Radio Miami International has helped me to hear a variety of radio productions, and indeed all of them have announcers pronouncing the English words in their own way. In such a fashion I have improved my English in a self-taught way, of course thanks to WRMI.”

We also received this feedback from our regular follower Vladimir Gudzenko from Russia:

Aviezer Tucker, photo: LinkedIn of Aviezer TuckerAviezer Tucker, photo: LinkedIn of Aviezer Tucker “Today, I’d like to refer to the interview by Aviezer Tucker, prominent scientist and writer, on the importance of the Václav Havel’s philosophical heritage. Sorry the name of the Czech philosopher and one of the spokesmen of Charter 77, Jan Patočka, was unknown to me, and I knew Václav Havel only as a politician and a playwright. In my home library, there is one of Havel’s books.

“So I am very grateful to you for introducing the Israeli-born political philosopher, who went in to your studio, and his books. I should like to note his words about Jan Patočka: ‘He saw the history of humanity, or at least the history of humanity in a modern era, is a history of alienation from truth. It was very important for him that people should live in truth. Not just know the truth, but live in truth’.

“These ideas are very important for this country, Russia, too. The country that is proud of its bloody and disgraceful past. The 1968 aggression towards Czechoslovakia was condemned by the first president of post-soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin, and has now been re-evaluated by the present president from the KGB. This Russia, which has not condemned its recent past, including the interventions to the republic of Moldova, Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Georgia, now is in a state of undeclared war with my dear homeland, the Ukraine."

Thank you for keeping in touch with us and letting us know what you think.

Thank you also for taking part in our monthly quiz dedicated to people of Czech or Bohemian origin who made a difference outside their homeland.

We are always happy to see our old-time listeners coming back to us– such as Constantin Liviu Viorel from Romania, who sent us this answer:

“The Czech sculptor born in Frenštát, Moravia on the 14-th of February 1879 was Albín Polášek. He worked as a wood carver in Vienna and at the age of 22, he immigrated to United States. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine arts and he was head of the Sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago. He created more than 400 works, but the most important ones are: the Wilson Memorial (1928), the Masaryk Memorial (1941), Mother Crying Over the World (1942) - about the World War, and Victory of Moral Law (1956), dedicated to the Revolution in Hungary.”

Mohamed Elsayed Abd Elraheim from Egypt wrote:

“He was born on February 14, 1879 in Frenštát, Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic. After serving as an apprentice woodcarver, at age 22 he immigrated to the U.S., following his two brothers, both priests, to Minnesota. He served nearly 30 years as head of the sculpture department for the Art Institute of Chicago before retiring to Winter Park, Florida in 1949. In 1961, Polášek married Emily Muska Kubat. The couple set up the Albín Polášek Foundation and transformed the Polášek's home into the Albín Polášek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, which remains one of Florida's most popular cultural attractions.”

One of our most faithful contributors, Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark, writes:

“Albín Polášek was born on February 14, 1879 in the Moravian town of Frenštát pod Radhoštěm. He learned to be a wood carver in Vienna. At the age of 22 he left for the United States where he studied to be a sculptor. He won different prestigious prizes, and he worked and lived in Europe and New York. Afterwards he headed the Art Institute of Chicago for almost 30 years.

“He created more than 400 sculptures, among the best known is the Masaryk Statue in Chicago and the statue of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the Czech Republic. He retired from the art institute and moved to Winter Park, Florida. A few months later he suffered a stroke, but with his right hand alone he was able to complete 18 more works. He died in Winter Park on May 19, 1965.”

Albín Polášek, photo: free domainAlbín Polášek, photo: free domain Arne Timm from Estonia adds:

“In 2000 he was named a ‘Great Floridian’ and in 2004 he was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.”

And finally our faithful listener Jayanta Chakrabarty from India:

“The Czech mystery personality is none other than Albín Polášek, a Czech citizen who emigrated to the United States as a wood carver. Perfecting his trade at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under the able guidance of the famed American sculptor and educator, Charles Grafly, he won a number of Cresson Travelling Scholarships which enabled him to study art at the American Academy in Rome and Greece. His capability and competence catapulted him to the post of Professor and Director of the Department of Sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute, a prestigious appointment which he held for 30 long years. This was the best period of his career wherein he created his masterpieces in a wide spectrum of subjects. His invaluable contribution to the world of art was recognized by the US National Academy of Design who elected him as Associated Member - a honorary degree only reserved for America's top painters, sculptors and architects.

Saints Cyril and Methodius of Albín Polášek, photo: Barbora KmentováSaints Cyril and Methodius of Albín Polášek, photo: Barbora Kmentová"His lifelong creation exceeds a staggering 400 works, many of which are displayed in the Spirit of Music in Grant Park next to the Chicago Art Institute, the Thomas Garrigue Masaryk Memorial at the University of Chicago and in the Bohemian National Cemetery. Some of his best known works like the President Woodrow Wilson Memorial, Radegast and the Saints Cyril and Methodius are to be found in the Czech Republic. The Albín Polášek Foundation which operates the Albín Polášek Museum and Sculptor Garden in Florida houses the most fascinating collection of the great sculptor's life and works in the form of scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, speeches and correspondence. Polášek won numerous laurels and awards like the honourable mention at the Paris Salon, Rome Prize Competition and the Widener Gold Medal from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His indomitable Czech spirit and determination enabled him to create outstanding works of art till his sad demise at the age of 86 years.”

Photo: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotosPhoto: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos Thank you very much once again for your answers and this time our prize goes to Koichi Saito from Japan. Congratulations and here’s a brand new question for the coming weeks.

This time please tell us the name of the Austrian physician, born in 1818 in the Central Bohemian village of Mořina into a Czech Jewish family, who studied medicine in Prague and Vienna and went on to play an important role in introducing modern medicine to Persia.

Please send us his name by September 7th to the usual address english@radio.cz. Mailbox will be back again in four weeks’ time. Until then please keep your e-mails and reception reports coming. Happy listening and take care!