Sat, Dec 3 at 6PM

Download the InvitationPhotographs of Prague from 1932-1965 by renowned photographer Jan Lukas, and by his daughter Helena Lukas Martemucci from 1993-2011. Photos from Martemucci’s series Art, Citizenship, Healing, taken during her Fulbright Scholarship in 1998-1999, will also be presented. Exhibition open Dec 3 – 23, 2011
at the Bohemian National Hall

Followed by a Fullbright Alumni concert at 7:30 PM.


SVU Recommends: GOLEM. A play by Vít Hořejš

Nov 17 – Dec 4, 2011

Czechoslovak American Marionette Theater at La MaMa Theater, 66 East Fourth Street (Ellen Stewart Theater), NYC

Century-old and contemporary life-size wooden Czech marionettes interact with puppeteers, klezmer musicians and dancers.

Special Benefit Performance and Reception was held on November 18, 2011, under the Auspices of Ambassador Petr Gandalovič and Consul General Eliška Žigová.


Recreating the GOLEM: From Prague to the Simpsons

Tuesday, November 8 at 7PM
A slide lecture by Mark Podwal on how succeeding generations have recreated the golem legend to suit the times. The lecture will touch on the first mention of golems in Biblical and Talmudic sources, the origins of Prague’s golem legend, the transformed image of the Prague golem from servant to protector in the early 20th century, and numerous depictions of golems in book illustration, fine art, and film, including the Simpsons TV episode You Gotta Know When to Golem.

Mark Podwal is the author and illustrator of numerous books. Most of these works – Podwal’s own as well as those he has illustrated for others – typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Podwal illustrated Elie Wiesel’s retelling of the Golem legend, as well as his own children’s book “Golem: A Giant Made of Mud.” He is currently designing new embroidered textiles for Prague’s Altneuschul.


Czech Archeological Discoveries in Egypt

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 7PM
A slide lecture by Sylva Pavlasová, Czech Egyptologist and Consul of the Czech Republic

Sylva Pavlasová studied Egyptology and Prehistoric and Early Historic Archaeology at Charles University in Prague. As a curator of the Egyptology Department of the Náprstek Ethnic History Museum in Prague, she produced several exhibitions on Ancient Egypt, including a special exhibition for the blind which was also shown in Slovakia, Egypt, Australia and the United States. She served as cultural attaché in Egypt (1999- 2003), deputy chief of mission and chargé d´affaires at the Czech Embassy in Lebanon (2003-2006), a specialist at Middle East Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires in Prague (2006-2009).



Saturday, October 29 at 3PM
(The Emperor and The Golem),1951. Directed by Martin Fric
In two parts, with refreshments served at the intermission. Czech with English subtitles.

A film comedy based on the Prague Golem legend about a man-made clay “robot” that almost toppled the Prague court of Rudolph II in the late 16th century. The beloved Czech actor and writer Jan Werich, an icon of the Czech intellectual humor, stars in the double title roles of Emperor Rudolf II and his imperial baker Matthew. The two men decide to switch identities to search for Golem, and have a wonderful time indulging in their respective new lifestyles. Costume design by famed Czech animator Jiri­ Trnka.

Fun for the whole family! (recommended for children 7 and older)
Come in your Halloween costume, ideally period dress from the time of Rudolf II.
Intro by Chris Harwood (Columbia University). Organized in cooperation with the Czech Center.


Director MARTIN FRIC Read More …

How Did Cities Evolve?

an illustrated lecture by SVU member

Edward A. Toran

THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 2011 @ 6:30 PM

6th Floor, Mid-Manhattan Library,
40th Street and 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Edward Toran’s illustrated presentation points out the many intertwined influences where changes in production, business dealings, technology, warfare, communication and information could lead from minor inventions to major changes in urban landscapes. In all these obervations, recognizing present life procedures helps to clarify historic events; and knowing history always can help to understand future developments.


A Special Performance at SVU Conference
(June 3-5) at the Bohemian National Hall


The Petrifying Puppet Comedye.
Starring 100-year old Czech puppets speaking English.

SUNDAY, JUNE 5 at 3 pm

Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73rd Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues)

The story of the learned Johannes Faust, who sold his soul to the devil for ultimate knowledge.

The staging incorporates age-old technical tricks, fire and thunder, hellish gargoyles and underwater creatures.

With marionette theater, the Czechs brought commedia to the Faustian canon. They introduced the jester, Pimprle (Kasparek), into the story (his appearance in about half of Czech marionette plays gave the name “Pimprle Theater”) as well as three other clown characters: Faust’s comic guards, Dumpling and Bigcheeze, and his German valet, Wagner.

The Whys and Hows of Neo Historic Architecture

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Schwarzmann Building of the
an illustrated lecture of SVU member

Edward A. Toran

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011 @ 6:30 PM

6th Floor, Mid-Manhattan Library,
40th Street and 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Edward Toran’s presentation contemplates the logic, social and psychological requirements behind creating neo historic styles when the new building opportunities turned to borrowing and re-creating older historic architectural elements.

Tough Nuts to Crack: Challenges in Czech to English Literary Translation

May 2, 2011


A panel discussion with renowned translators:
Peter Kussi (Milan Kundera, Jiri Grusa),
Paul Wilson (Vaclav Havel, Bohumil Hrabal, Ivan Klima, Josef Skvorecky),
Alex Zucker (Jachym Topol, Petra Hulova, Patrik Ourednik),
and with Robert Wechsler from Catbird Press.

Moderated by Chris Harwood (Columbia U.), Produced by Suzanna Halsey (NYU)

překladatelské oříšky


You can use the above player, or you can download the audio file here (length: 83 minutes, download size: 38 MB)


Audio CD copies are available. Donation $10 + $2 S+H (USA). S+H varies according to destination. Write to order at

LECTURE SERIES on Nationalism in the Lands of the Habsburg Monarchy: The Challenge to Jewish Identity 3

Presented by Society for History of Czechoslovak Jews

Wednesday, APRIL 27, 2011 at 7.00 pm – Lecture 3

Anna Cichopek-Gajraj“Being Jewish in Slovakia and Poland after the Second World War”
Anna Cichopek-Gajraj, University of Western Ontario

After the Second World War, the Czechoslovak and Polish state redefined the boundaries around its national/ethnic community, defining anew who belonged and who did not. The process primarily involved the redefinition of criteria for citizenship. Of all the people negotiating recognition as citizens, few faced more challenges than the Jewish returnees and their communal leaders.

In her talk, Anna Cichopek-Gajdar will discuss how Jewish survivors in postwar Slovakia and Poland struggled to get citizenship through dialogue and conflict between their representatives, local administration and the central governments. By focusing on the daily efforts of Polish and Slovak Jews to rebuild their lives, she investigates the limits of belonging to national/ethnic communities in Central Eastern Europe after the Holocaust.

Anna Cichopek-Gajraj is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Western Ontario (until spring 2011) and an Assistant Professor at the Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has an M.A. in History from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. Her M.A. thesis on the anti-Jewish pogrom in Cracow in August 1945 was published as a book in 2000 in Poland. She also contributed to Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its Aftermath (Zimmerman, 2003).

The event takes place at Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY.

Remembering George Karnet – March 1, 2011 at 7 pm

Jiří Kárnet, Paris 1952A slide show and readings by family and friends.

George Karnet, Czech exile since 1948, was a journalist, poet, playwright and translator. He died on February 1, 2011 at age of 91 in New York City. Karnet was a friend and collaborator with prominent personalities of Czech theater and literature such as George­ Voskovec, Jan Werich, Emil F. Burian, Alfred and Emil Radok, Jan Grossman, Egon Hostovsky, Ferdinand Peroutka, and Pavel Tigrid. While in exile in Paris, he co-founded an influencial exile periodical Svedectvi­. In 1952, he relocated to New York where he also conributed to Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

From the Program in Brief:

Sue Karnet…………… slides
Frantisek Listopad….. video message
Viktor Debnar………… audio message
Katerina Kyselica……. reading
Eduardo Arrocha…….. video message (1)
Andy Bragen…………. a tribute
Marek Seckar ………… video message (2)

Created by Sue Karnet.

Many thanks to our friends in Prague:

Viktor Debnar, editor of George Karnet’s book Posmrtny deni­k, and to Simon Pellar and Graeme Dibble, for their English translation.

listen to audio (in Czech):

Viktor Debnar’s interview on Czech Radio 3 – Vltava



LECTURE SERIES on Nationalism in the Lands of the Habsburg Monarchy: The Challenge to Jewish Identity 2

Presented by Society for History of Czechoslovak Jews

Thursday, FEBRUARY 24, 2011 at 7.00 pm – Lecture 2

Rebekah Klein-PejÅ¡ová“The Emergence of Slovak Jewish Identity in Interwar Czechoslovakia”
Rebekah Klein-Pejšová, Purdue University

Before the Interwar period, there was no “Slovak” Jewry. This talk considers the emergence of a distinctive Slovak Jewish collective identity among the Jews of the territory of Slovakia, formerly northern Hungary, as they reoriented themselves in the new state of Czechoslovakia after the First World War. This process took place through Jewish national politics, communal architectural enterprise, and how they did – and did not – commemorate their war dead.

Rebekah Klein-Pejsova is Jewish Studies Assistant Professor of History at Purdue University. After completing her M.A. degree at the Central European University in Budapest she earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2007. She is currently working on a book manuscript concerning the dynamics of Jewish nationality and citizenship in Interwar East Central Europe. Her article, “Abandon Your Role as Exponents of the Magyars’: Contested Jewish Loyalty in Interwar (Czecho) Slovakia,” was published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Association of Jewish Studies Review.

The event takes place at Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY.

LECTURE SERIES on Nationalism in the Lands of the Habsburg Monarchy: The Challenge to Jewish Identity 1

Presented by Society for History of Czechoslovak Jews

Thursday, FEBRUARY 10, 2011 at 7.00 pm – Lecture 1

Hillel Kieval“Imperial Embraces and Local Challenges:
The Politics of Jewish Identity in Bohemia, 1867-1914”

Hillel Kieval, Washington University in St. Louis
When Jan Neruda’s Pro strach židovský (For Fear of the Jews) appeared in book form in 1870, his publisher Eduard Grégr-in language that would be picked up over and again-referred ominously to the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia as “our fiercest enemies.” Were Jews the enemies of Czech nationalism? Did they champion German cultural and political hegemony in the Bohemian lands?  What role did Austrian imperial policies play in structuring Jewish identities? And how did Jews come to express their own sense of self over the course of the 19th and early 20th century?

Taking up themes first addressed in The Making of Czech Jewry, Hillel Kieval revisits the position of Jews in the Czech and German national conflict, their identification with Austria and the Habsburg dynasty, and their changing attitudes toward the question of national belonging.

Hillel Kieval is the Gloria M. Goldstein Professor of Jewish History and Thought at Washington University in St. Louis and is the author of Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands (University of California Press, 2000) and of The Making of Czech Jewry: National Conflict and Jewish Society in Bohemia, 1870-1918 (Oxford University Press,1988).

The event takes place at Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, New York, NY.