NEWS FROM THE CZECH CENTER MUSEUM HOUSTON - AUGUST 14, 2014
From the Heart of Europe to the Heart of Houston Texas
in the Museum District
4920 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77004 - 713.528.2060
Open Monday - Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm
The Charles Bridge over the river Vltava is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Prague. It is the oldest bridge in the city, built between the 14th and 15th century, and it spans the river with 16 pillars. It is lined with statues and lamps and this scenery, together with the Gothic bridge towers on both ends, makes the Charles Bridge a breathtaking historical monument. There is no better place in Prague for a walk in the evening.
September 1, 2014 marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Czech Center Museum Houston. There are plans to honor this date with a gathering to toast (1) The culmination of the span of ten years of operation in our magnificent baroque building; (2) Highlight the completion of a beautiful mural shown above on the side of our neighbor's building underwritten by the Houston Arts Alliance; and (3) Promulgate a series of events surrounding our Annual Gala in November all with intent of focusing on Endowment for Perpetuity contributions to the campaign around the theme of "Ten Years – Ten Million!"
Thanks to Friends of the Czech Center Museum Houston below who have made a contribution to the CCMH Endowment Fund 2014 Appeal. We are grateful to these supporters who will help our museum remain one of Houston's treasured gems and who have recognized, in their generous and thoughtful gifts, this critical component of support to establish an Endowment to allow CCMH to continue its mission for future generations. The Endowment will relieve the constant striving for funds over, above and beyond basic admission and membership dues. This effort continues, so please consider Gifts to the Endowment Fund 2014 at this time. Our thanks for the contributions by T.P. & Burnette Boyett, Carolyn Filipp Beseda, Dick Bily, Catholic Family Fraternal of Texas, Elizabeth Emr, Cecilia Forrest, Beatrice Mladenka-Fowler & Jesse Fowler, M. J. Heard, Jean Humlicek, Phil & Mary Kasik, Garry Kramchak, Marek Family Foundation, Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse, Dwight Schulz and Michael W. Stavinoha, MD since our last newsletter. Your gift may be made on-line right here, or make a check payable to CCMH.
Other Members and Friends' Ways to Contribute to the Endowment Fund are using various means to contribute to the Endowment Fund. Grace and Bill England made a contribution, "As an Honorarium in Appreciation of Roy and Mary Cullen for their gracious hospitality in their home for an evening of Czech Art and Dinner and the Cullen Foundation's Gift toward the Comenius Library at the Czech Center Museum Houston." Others, instead of flowers to honor a deceased member or friend of the organization, have used a contribution to the Czech Center Museum Houston as a memory gift for the endowment.
Czechs Annually Celebrate November 17th, a Day to Remember the Fall of Communism. In 1989, 20,000 students marched in a peaceful demonstration down Wenceslas Square in Prague, only to be brutally suppressed by riot police, who beat students with clubs and sprayed them with tear gas. On this day, November 17, the Velvet Revolution began in Czechoslovakia, and within ten days, a group of dissidents known as the Civic Forum had ousted the Communist leaders and formed a new democratic government. Those ten eventful days fell between November 17th and 27th, 1989. After the failure of the Prague Spring, many Czechoslovaks rightfully held doubts about the possibility of revolution, but as events starting in with Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland and continuing in the other Bloc countries seemed hopeful, the revolution in Czechoslovakia became inevitable.
|Contributors to Endowment Fund
Lorraine Rod Green**
Stan & Ralph Marek
Mary & Frank Pokluda, Jr.
Effie & Bill Rosene*
$1,000 to $5,000
Cathy & Larry Anderson
Eva Maria Campo Bartoskova
Grace & Bill England
Burdine Clayton Johnson
John Kahanek III
Betty & Mark Kubala, MD
Charles & Patricia Kubin
Ann & Elbert Link
Marek Family Foundation
Kerry & Peggy Mazoch
The Papanek Foundation
Edward & Sandra Pickett
Charles & Melissa Rod
Sandra & Jonny Rutherford
SPJST Lodge 88
Frank & Claire Svrcel
$250 to $1,000
Catholic Family Fraternal Texas
Willie & Gladys Gavranovic
Purvis & Lynne Harper
James & Jeanette Malloory
Marvin & Judith Marek
Tammy & Guy Mikeska
Henry & Dortha Pekar
Albert & Margaret Smaistrla
Michael W. Stavinoha, MD
Jean P. Stratton
Chris & Burd Venghaittis
$100 to $250
Joyce Macha Bartos
Eugene & Julia Bednar
Carolyn Filipp Beseda
T.P. & Burnette Boyett
Jerry & Anna Brannen
Eugene A. Cernan
K.D. Charalampous, MD
Jerry & Carol Horacek
John & Frances Istvan
Eddie Janek, Sr.
Phil & Mary Kasik
Daniel & Suzanne Kubin
Eugene & Kat Labay
Charles & Paula Looney
Fr. Stephen Nesrsta
Harper & Pearson
Prasek's Hillje Smokehouse
John A. Sixta, Jr.
Paul & Annette Sofka
SPJST Lodge 88
V.W. & Mary Uher
Roy & Rebecca Vajdak
Johnny & Linda Veselka
Jere & Sue Wallace
Norman & Tracy Zetka
$0 to $100
Dick W. Bily
Lorence & Zora Bravenec
Beatrice Mladenka-Fowler &
Robert & Henrietta Freeman
M. J. Heard
Chris & Cheryl Johnson
Janet Vacek Jones
Barry & Marian Malac
Jeff & Melanie Masek
Steven & Charlese Novotny
Damar & John Osika
Lindsey & Sherry Pierce
Sister Rosanne Plagens
Joe & Patsy Stankovich
Emil & Connie Stavinoha
Carol & Stan Steele
Norman & Tracy Zetka
|+ Response to appeal & pledge; * Certificate Loan Surrender; ** Legacy Gift; # Certificate Loan Interest Deposit
+/- Endowment from 9/30/13- $264,600
Communism had fallen first in Poland in June 1989 and then in Hungary in October, and finally, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. "In Poland the transition [from communism to democracy] lasted ten years, in Hungary ten months, in Czechoslovakia ten days," wrote journalist Timothy Garton Ash, who witnessed the revolutions throughout central and east Europe.
Every year, the Czechs celebrate November 17 as a national holiday, the Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy (Den boje za svobodu a demokraccii). Worldwide, it is known as International Student Day, but to the Czechs, it is the day their revolution began, led by students, intellectuals, poets and playwrights – the people who had been marginalized and blacklisted under communism. Their first president after communism was playwright Vaclav Havel, a former dissident who symbolized the transition from the cold, unfeeling technocrats of the Communist regime to an open, principled government with democratic values.
The Velvet Revolution would not have been possible were it not for the monumental events unfolding in the other Communist Bloc countries. The Estonian Singing Revolution was well on its way in Estonia, not to mention the election of Solidarity members to Poland's government. On August 23, 1989, two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands along a 600km stretch of road between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Finally, November 9, 1989 brought the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall. Also, on December 4 the border to Austria was opened, effectively ending the Iron Curtain division of East and West.
On the first day of the revolution, a peaceful student demonstration to commemorate International Students' Day began in Prague and ended with violence on Narodni Street, when riot police blocked off escape routes and severely beat students. That first domino began an avalanche, as almost every day afterwards until the end of December brought more protests with more and more people participating. By November 20 an estimated half-million peaceful protesters took to the streets, up from the 200,000 of the day before. A general two-hour strike that involved all citizens of Czechoslovakia was held on November 27 (various video clips from these protests and from the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968 can be seen at the Museum of Communism in Prague). After that, demonstrations were being held almost daily in Prague as well as in Bratislava.
One of the most important developments was the establishment of the Civic Forum by Vaclav Havel and other prominent members of Charter 77 and other dissident organizations, which would establish much of the post-revolution leadership, including Havel as president. The Forum was a mass popular movement for reforms that called for the dismissal of top officials responsible for the violent attack on the students, an independent investigation of the incident and the release of all political prisoners.
On November 28, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia sensed its defeat and agreed to give up their monopoly on political power. On December 10, Communist President Gustav Husak appointed the first largely non-communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948 and resigned. Alexander Dubcek was elected speaker of the federal parliament, and Vaclav Havel became the first president of a free Czechoslovakia since 1948 on December 29, 1989. With Havel as president, the students ended their strike, and the Velvet Revolution ended. Afterwards, the first democratic elections since 1946 were held in June 1990 and brought the first completely non-communist government to Czechoslovakia in over forty years.
The sixth etching of the Honor and Memorial Tiles has just been completed. Four hundred and fifty tiles of sizes 4 x 12 ($250), 6 x 12 ($500), 8 x 12 ($750) and 12 x 12 ($1,000) have been etched displaying approximately 850 names.
We will be soliciting donors for the seventh round of etchings. Your contribution to honor or memorialize a loved one will be considered a contribution to the Endowment Fund which names will proudly be displayed at the Czech Center Museum Houston and will be considered payment for membership the length appropriate to the amount of the donation. A $1,000 contribution will classify you and your family with lifetime status. Please see the following link for more information. http://www.czechcenter.org/support/honorwall.asp
Register Now! Join the Festivities! Coming Soon, The Apollo Chamber Players and European Folkscapes. Commencing the celebration of "10 Years – 10 Million!" Growing an Endowment Appeal for Perpetuity. First of a series of Cultural Events in Houston's Museum District Mid-October through Mid-November. Celebrating Ten Years since Opening the Baroque Palace on September 1, 2004. A museum connecting People to Heritage, History and the World. Other events are being planned. The Czech Center Museum Houston invites you to Brno Gallerie, Prague Hall, and Pilsen Hall.
Ed: The Apollo Chamber Players are a quartet of string musicians who studied at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and recently made their Carnegie Hall debut. The Chamber is sponsored by CCMH member Beryl Hogshead in memory of her immigrant father Louis Andor Komjathy who was born September 15, 1898 in the Austrian Hungarian Empire.
It has been said that "Trouble comes in threes;" and it is also said, "With each negative happening there is supposedly also a positive happening." This has certainly been borne out in the last few months. Of course, number 1 we count as Effie having a stroke and so not being able to come to the Center daily to fulfill her duties as Chairman and CEO, which was and is her joy and enjoyment. The positive happening was making us realize how much she added to the equation here, and she also now has a steady heartbeat, along with the heartening rally of our volunteer's timely and action-oriented efforts to cover the many and varied duties during Effie and Bill's absence; number 2 has to be a physical event to our Museum Building which happened during a recent night: a commode in the restroom on the second floor, controlled by a automatic flush valve, malfunctioned letting a torrent of water flood a large portion of the office area, damaging records, ceiling tiles, walls and carpet as far as the piano in Brno Hall. We are still trying to figure out the positives in this happening, but it did – like moving – force us to focus on books, papers and files which were damaged, to examine what we need to keep; and we now have a fresh touch of paint, and fewer possessions; and number 3 was that our one paid employee has decided to work closer to home; all of which forgoing events seemed to have happened at one time! The positive was the timely part-time help of Cristina Walsh and here again all our volunteers, led by President James Ermis, pitching in with extra duties and extra time. Thanks to them all!
You are welcome to view
this organization's IRS Form 990 available on the Guidestar website. Note this organization's name on filing was the Czech Cultural and Community Center, which now does business as the Czech Center Museum Houston. Click this link.
Interested Members may also view financial records by appointment.
What is Czech Sausage? Click to Czech out this website and give us your opinion.
Czech Language Online Daily It would be impossible not to learn from these simple distinct lessons. Try it now!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY9cp7r2CZc or http://www.studyczechonline.com/free-lessons
Update on Effie Thanks to all the members of CCMH, friends and relatives who have sent their well-wishes, flowers, telephone inquiries and visits to wish the best, along with their prayers, for a recovery from the devastating hemorrhagic stroke in her right brain she suffered on June 16, 2014. Her left side was flaccid, but thankfully her speech and mind were affected only cognitively. She was rushed by Houston EMTs to St. Luke's Hospital and placed in ICU to stabilize her, revise her blood pressure medications and monitor her heart functions. It was advised to place a pacemaker to correct her heart's lower chamber, and in so doing an atrial fibrillation she had suffered from most of her life has been corrected. She then was placed on a Rehab floor for therapy. She was then referred to Holly Hall Nursing and Rehab center for more physical therapy, and through them was recommended to be moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann for intensive monitoring and therapy, which she is now undergoing. She has been making milestones (at least for us) every day. Movement of the left arm and leg has begun; she is training to stand, sit and walk.
Please continue your prayers and wishes for her recovery.
Last Flight of American Bomber #118 - Posledni let is a testament to the heroism of American airmen who journeyed into the Czech territory to put an end to the terrible Nazi regime and the horrors of the third Reich in order to give us a chance to live in a free society. They left their loved ones in the comfort of their homes; many of them sacrificed their greatest gift, their lives. Without their courage and sacrifice, we would not stand now side-by-side as Czechs and Americans facing the new challenges together. The memory of their bravery must be reserved for current and future generations. Posledni let is a notable contribution in this respect.
His Excellency, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Petr Gandalovic
This fascinating account of American bomber number 118's last flight in August 1944 translated from Czech is one that should be of considerable interest to those studying the history of World War II in Europe. Anyone who has a special interest in the relationship between the US and Czechoslovakia at this time should read this book
Dr. Clinton Mahon, Prof. Texas A&M University.
Stanislav Tofel lives in Celadna in eastern Moravia of the Czech Republic with his wife Bozena. He has traced his family tree for several generations and shared his knowledge of genealogy with others. His passion for researching historical events, starting with World War I to the present day, led him to write several books about the history of Celadna and the surrounding area.
Galan Kralik was born in Houston, Texas in 1988. He studied Czech language and culture at the University of Texas at Austin and was enrolled in the Plan II honors program. He spent parts of his childhood living in Ohio and in the Netherlands. He is the owner and cofounder of a small business The Make a Request Foundation LLC and fancies himself a musician. Today he lives in Houston and is developing his inventions and studying Czech in his free time.
This is a book entitled Last Flight of American Bomber #118 on August 29, 1944 over the communities of Celadna, Nova Ves, Malenovice, Baska, Hodonovice, Palkovice, Metzlovice and Lhotka in Czechoslovakia, by Stanislav Tofel translated from Czech by Galan Kralik, published by the Czech Heritage Society of Texas.
She writes, "I am one of the lucky ones. Until recently, I was substituting on a regular basis as a crossing guard for the public school system. This was something I loved and enjoyed doing for over twenty years. Some of the children who were merely tots when I started have gone on to complete college and establish careers of their own. Sometimes they'd toot their horns at me as they drove by. I did this volunteer work to thank this country, the United States of America, for the opportunities that have been given to me. Sometimes when I was working with the children, I thought of my own childhood in a convent and growing up in a small town in Czechoslovakia. I thought of the war years, when I was taken away from my parents at the age of only twelve, put into a camp, and then placed with a German farm family as a slave laborer, where I was worked like an animal for five long years. I also remember my flight from the Russians as they advanced across Germany at the end of World War II and how I escaped and made my way in to the American Zone. My life has changed profoundly since I was a child in Czechoslovakia. It is miraculous that I have survived and found happiness and fulfillment. Yes I am one of the lucky ones. This is my story."
She writes as an Epilogue: "Some who read this memoir might find it interesting. I hope so. But, I also hope that they will find it instructive. The message I wish to leave to those who come after me is simply this: No matter how bad things get, never give up. Someone has said that luck favors the bold. Someone else has said that God helps those who help themselves. Well, I am one of the lucky ones. But as in a game of cards, when it is all over and everyone is getting ready to go home for the night, what counts is not how lucky you were, but how well you played the cards that were dealt to you."
Good Reads Available at our Prague International Gift Shop:
Texas Czech Polka Bands by CCMH Members Jimmy Brosch with Theresa Cernoch Parker.
Rustic Baroque - A novel by Jiri Hajicek - Set in South Bohemia about a decade after the Velvet Revolution.
Border Crossings - A Memoir that Reads Like a Thriller! by Charles Novacek.
Prague, My Long Journey Home - by Charles Ota Heller. A memoir of Survival, Denial and Redemption, providing a window into one Czech American's experiences!
The Czech Pioneers of the Southwest by Dr. Henry R. Maresh - a must read for research of your genealogy.
Living Longer Than Hate - W. J. Bill Morgan's life, a Story of Survival and Success by C.S. Ragsdale, PhD.
Fields of Light, A Son Remembers His Heroic Father by CCMH Member Joseph Hurka.
They called him “Žižka” - The One-Eyed. A grizzled warrior, he rose from service as a mere bodyguard at the court of King Wenceslas to lead armies of peasant men and women. By Jim Fuxa, CCMH member.
Marta - by Monika Koenigova - A Czech Girl's Story of Surviving the Third Reich and Its Aftermath.
For information on these books and to order, call: 713.528.2060 or visit our website.
2014 Calendar of Events
September 2014 – Anniversary of the Czech Center Opening
"Ten Year -Ten Million" Growing an Endowment for Perpetuity for future generations. A Museum to connect People to Heritage, History and the World.
Celebrating the Opening of the Czech Center Museum Houston, September 1, 2004 to the World, in the Museum District with special event to be announced.
By invitation only.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
National Czech Slovak Day Democracy (October 28, 1918) First Republic.
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or email@example.com.
Appearing Soon! Inquire for the November, 2014 Event
Tom Rowan, NASA Scientist/Engineer presents STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - Fun to learn for 9 to 12 year olds.
November, 2014 – Date to be announced
Register to be Notified - Coming Soon! Join the Festivities! 7:30pm. Prague Hall. The Apollo Chamber Players and European Folkscapes.
Annual Gala. Date to be announced.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Remembering the Velvet Revolution End of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989 leading eventually to second Republic 1992.
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Saint Nicholas Eve Celebration with the Bishop, Angel, and Devil, A Holiday Dinner for friends, families, and children.
RSVP to: 713.528.2060 or email@example.com for more info.
An Irish Toast: There are good ships, And there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea, But the best ships are Friendships - And may they always be.
"Time goes by so fast; people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you." Anonymous
"Those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything
are only looking for excuses."
"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."
Chinese and Czech Proverb
Questions or comments or to be removed, please email first and last name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effie M. Rosene, Chair/CEO, on behalf of Board of Directors,
Volunteers and Members and Friends.
This organization is supported in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the
Houston Arts Alliance and by the contributions of our Friends, Members and Volunteers.
2014 – City of Houston, Port of Houston: We celebrate 100 years
as a deep water port (1914-2014).
With the Panama Canal expansion opening in 2015, the Port of Houston
will be a direct conduit to Mid-America.