DECEMBER 14 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan

Since 2014, this signature program of SVU NY has challenged scholars, scientists, students, artists, and professionals of Czech and Slovak descent to introduce their work, project, or subject of their research or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes. In English.
Moderated by Christopher Harwood, Ph.D., Columbia University

Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU/NY), New York chapter, in association with the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic, and with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

Ivana Andersen (visual art), Katerina Dvorakova Mankova  (photography), Eva Giannone  (baking and Energy USA, natural medicine), Roman Lewkowicz (folk dance Limboracik), Katerina Lu (ballroom dance), Jakub Mihalik, PhD (Fulbright Scholar at New York University – Philosophy), Michal Racyn (Fulbright PhD student at Columbia University – Slavic Studies), René Georg Vasicek (creative writing & experimental writer), and Otto Zizak, Jr.  (restaurateur, musician, farmer, generalist).


Free and open to the public.
Suggested donation of $5.00
Seating is limited.
Click here for the program notes with speakers’ bios.


Last year’s edition of The 6-Minute Challenge, Vol. 12 in 2021, is available on our YouTube Channel.

FOREMOST CZECH DEMOCRAT: Vojtech Náprstek (1826-1884) 🗓

Sunday, NOVEMBER 13 at 4 pm on ZOOM!

Dr. Michael Schouten will provide an overview of the fascinating life and times of his ancestor, Vojtech Náprstek, who is affectionally known as “nejvetší ceský democrat” (foremost Czech democrat).

Register here to receive the ZOOM link

Jan Šejbl of the Náprstek Museum in Prague will address its current exhibitions.

Born in 1826, Vojta Naprstek came of age when Czechs were reasserting their national identity after 200 years of Austrian oppression. Exiled to the United States for his role in the 1848 Revolution, he spent ten years living on the American Frontier, heavily influenced by America’s progressive thinking and democratic values. Upon his return to Prague, he made numerous contributions to the Czech National Revival (národní obrození) as a philanthropist, politician, and innovator. Notable examples still endure today include the Naprstek Museum of Asian, African, and Native American Art (now part of the National Museum), the American Ladies Club, and the Naprstek Library.
Surrounded by colorful, influential, and dynamic personalities, Vojtech Naprstek’s life is entertaining, informative, and historically significant.

This event will celebrate the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on November 17, 1989, and a return to democracy in Czechoslovakia.

Michael Schouten was raised in New York but has settled in Scotland after receiving a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh. He has a longstanding interest in Vojtech Naprstek’s life and has previously delivered a similar presentation to the Edinburgh Czech Society. He is related to Vojta Naprstek through Vojtech’s Grandfather.

Wikipedia on Vojtech Naprstek
Vojtech Náprstek

SVU New York and Jitro Choir from Hradec Králové team up to send help to Ukraine

In June 2022, SVU New York helped to organize an outstanding concert of the Czech girls’ choir Jitro at Merkin Hall in Kaufman Music Center in NYC. Their repertoire consisted of classical Czech and international songs, sacred music, and contemporary Czech compositions. Together with Jitro’s choirmaster, Jiri Skopal, we decided to donate all concert proceeds to a concrete project helping people in war-torn Ukraine. Our board member, Vera Dvorak, suggested a grassroots initiative of volunteers delivering essential food and toiletries to a Byzantine Catholic parish in Khust, Zakarpattia Oblast – a former part of Czechoslovakia – run by Ms. Rybová from Strelice near Brno and by the priest Myroslav Barnychko. The food is distributed under his supervision to refugees staying in local gyms and parish halls where they found temporary asylum.

It has been eight months (!) since Russia attacked Ukraine and the help coming in is clearly weakening – though it’s just as needed now as at the beginning of the war. On the same day we sent our gift of $530 (13.500 in CZK), the volunteers set out already on their 19th trip with a small truck and a pickup loaded with food.

For more information, please read here (in Czech).

You can contribute directly to Pavla Rybova’s account. It is a small private initiative and they do not have a separate account.

Czech Bank account:Pavla Rybová 670100-2207448813 / 6210 mBank
Pavla Rybová
tel. 607 546 197

vera Dvorak and Jitro in NYC
Jitro in Merkin Hall
Food delivery to Chust- Ukraine
Help in Chust

Czech Political Prisoners

Book talk by Jana Kopelent-Rehak: Recovering Face: Czech Political Prisoners and The Politics of Joking
October 30, 2022 on ZOOM


Dr. Jana Kopelent-Rehak presented two of her books, Recovering Face: Czech Political Prisoners and The Politics of Joking. She discussed stories of men and women who survived concentration camps under the Communist regime and how the post-totalitarian state and society are coming to reconciliation with crimes. Then, she explored how humor, used as political expression, can provide a powerful critique, a non-violent form of political protest a space for restoring human dignity.

The books are available for purchase online.
Czech Political Prisoners: Recovering Face: Rehak, Jana Kopelentova: 9780739176344: Amazon.com: Books
Published by Lexington Books (December 14, 2012)
ISBN 978-0739176344
192 page

The Politics of Joking: Anthropological Engagements – 1st Edition
ISBN 9781138314054
Published by Routledge (November 5, 2018)
206 Pages

Kopelent Rehak books

From Jewelry to Sound Recording

A talk by Filip Šír, National Museum in Prague

Friday, SEPTEMBER 30 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall, Cinema
321 E 73 Str, Manhattan

Etiketa cylinder

Free and open to the public
Suggested donation of $5.00

Wearing a face mask is recommended.


Filip Šír will present the story of Edward (Ed) Jedlicka, a Czech jeweler and watchmaker who emigrated to the United States in 1895 and settled in the Czech neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Jedlicka was a man of many interests and talents. He created a silver branch of a linden tree, which in 1901 was presented by an association of sixty Czech societies to the famous Czech violinist and composer Jan Kubelik, when he performed for the first time at Bohemian National Hall in New York City.

lipova vetev
Jedlicka was passionate about emerging photography and sound recording technologies and was the first to use them to document the Czech community’s rich cultural life in New York City. He took photographs of Alphonse Mucha’s studio and the Bohemian National Hall, among others. In 1903, he registered his label Ed.Jedlicka and produced over five hundred two-minute brown wax cylinder recordings of Czech songs and stories.

In 2019, the University of Iowa received a donation of Jedlicka’s brown wax cylinders. Several cylinders pre-date the label registration or are the only copy of a particular title, making them exceedingly rare.

Now, come hear recordings made 120 years ago just two blocks from the Bohemian National Hall!

filip sir

Filip Šír is an expert sound archivist at the National Museum in Prague and the principal researcher for the New Phonograph: Listening to the History of Sound project, which studies early Czech sound recordings in the Czech Republic and the USA. He received his degree in Library Sciences from Charles University and is a member of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA). In 2016, he received the INFORUM 2016 Prize for the Virtual National Phonotheque project. In 2017, with Gabriel Gössel, he was awarded the ARSC Certificate of Merit for his contribution to the Recorded Sound in Czech Lands research project. He conducted research at libraries worldwide and lectured at Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University, New York University, and elsewhere. He also conducted a two-day workshop at Fonoteca Nacional de México. He will be joining us on his way from the international IASA conference in Mexico, where he presented a paper on Voskovec&Werich, Transatlantic Battlefront: Czech Comedians Fight Hitler in the Shortwave Trenches.


A screening of the animated autobiography Drawn from Memory (56min) by the Czech American award-winning animator Paul Fierlinger. With voices of Jan Triska, Václav Havel and Miloš Forman. The program also included a short video with an introduction by Paul Fierlinger and an overview of his work, More Vivid than this Morning’s News.

Thursday, JUNE 16 at 7 PM
Bohemian National Hall, 3rd floor
321 E 73 St, Manhattan


This event was part of the “Ticket to the New World” multimedia project of the Czech National Trust curated by Czech photographer Eva Heyd in 2018 in Prague. Eva Heyd presented her book Ticket to the New World / Lístek do Nového sveta presenting sixteen accomplished Czech émigrés, 1938-1939, who found refuge in the USA. The book is available online: www.tickettothenewworld.com

PAUL FIERLINGER, born in 1936 in Japan, is an award-winning Czech American animator. His father, Jan Fierlinger, was a Czechoslovak diplomat, and his uncle,,Zdenek Fierlinger, an infamous prominent communist apparatchik (1948 -1968). Paul spent the WWII years in Vermont, where his busy parents left him in foster care. Later, back in postwar Czechoslovakia, they “parked” him in a boarding school in Podebrady. Here, his schoolmates were Miloš Forman, Ivan Passer and Václav Havel. Paul later captured his dramatic young life with its twists and turns in his feature biopic animated film Drawn from Memory.

Fierlinger established himself in 1958 as Czechoslovakia’s first independent producer of animated films. In 1967, he escaped from Czechoslovakia and eventually arrived back in the USA. He introduced himself to the American public with a black and white emotional film Prague 68′ Summer of Tanks, with authentic footage from the August 1968 occupation of Prague shot by his Czechoslovak colleagues. His personal experiences as an immigrant, traveling through various countries, were reflected in a 1978, fifteen-minute-long praise to America titled Rainbowland. Fierlinger triumphed in 1980 with It’s So Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House, for which he received many awards, including an Academy Award nomination for the best animated short film.

Fierlinger became a steady provider of many TV commercials and sales films for US Healthcare (now Aetna), winning various international awards. Together with his wife Sandra, they developed a small series of interstitials for Nickelodeon called Amby & Dexter: The Way of Silent, a Sesame Street series called Alice Kadeezenberry, and a twenty-minute film of children’s songs for the Children’s Book of the Month Club called Playtime.

In 2001, Fierlinger created a half-hour PBS special called Still Life with Animated Dogs, a film about dogs and other things of a divine nature. He also made an animation series for Oxygen Network, Drawn from Life, two-minute films that feature real-life women’s voices and simple stories. The Fierlinger’s own production of My Dog Tulip, based on the book of the same title by British author J. R. Ackerley, featured the voice talents of Christopher Plummer, the late Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini.

Since founding his animation studio in 1971 in Philadelphia, PA, Paul has authored over 700 projects. Many of his films received considerable recognition, such as Fellowship in the Arts (1997), two Grands Prix at the Ottawa International Animation Festival (2000 and 2004), Peabody Award (2001), First Prize at the 2002 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films (2002), a nomination at Annecy International Animated Film Festival (2009) and other prestigious awards.

Paul Fierlinger about his life

Animated films by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger
For a private demo of Drawn from Memory, please contact: fala2@verizon.net

This event was produced by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, to accompany the “Ticket to the New World” exhibition at the Bohemian National Hall, NYC, curated by Czech photographer Eva Heyd for the Czech National Trust. In association with the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation/ Rehearsal for Truth Festival, and the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA).

A Woman to Remember: Marie Provazníková (1890-1991)

A tribute to a visionary innovator in international women’s gymnastics.

Sunday, APRIL 10, 2022, at 2 PM (EST) on ZOOM

PART 1:LIFE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA (1890-1948)(63 min.)

PART 2: LIFE IN EXILE (1948-1991) will be available later. We are seeking funding for its processing and editing.

Join artist Anna VA Polesny (granddaughter) and playwright Petr Dudek, in conversation with historians, colleagues, family members, and friends, remembering and celebrating the life and work of MARIE PROVAZNÍKOVÁ.

A visionary innovator in international women’s gymnastics, progressive Czechoslovak Sokol* leader and powerful proponent of women’s rights, Provazníková received the French Legion of Honor for her work. When President of the Women’s Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation, she led the Czechoslovak gymnastic team to a gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics and became one of the first political defectors at the games. A victim of the Cold War, Provazníková continued dedicating her life to democracy and the survival of Sokol ideals, tirelessly working in the United States until her death at the age of 100.

MP young Slet

*Sokol celebrates its 160th anniversary this year!

Sokol (falcon): a gymnastic society founded in Prague in 1862 with the goal of utilizing a system of gymnastics training that would 1) develop sound minds in sound bodies, 2) motivate the Czech people to revive a personal and national consciousness and 3) enhance the concepts of democracy, brotherhood, equality, liberty and civic responsibility.

Sokol was founded on the philosophy that physically fit, mentally alert and culturally developed people can make a nation strong. The word “sokol” translates to “falcon” and is symbolic of the Sokol ideals: Courage, Strength, Endurance, Fraternalism, Love of democratic principles, and Pride in the country

Anna Polesny Bartoli and Petr Dudek

SPEAKERS include historians Harry Blutstein, PhD, Cold War Olympics, Jean Dusek,Václav Sotola, The Struggles, and Development of the Women’s Sokol Movement as Illustrated by the Life of Marie Provaznikova (1996), Robert Tomanek, PhD, Czech Immigrants and the Sokol Movement (2021); Milan Kocourek, BBC reporter at the 1982 slet in Vienna, Jean Hruby, American Sokol president, Norma Zabka, Sokol NY president emeritus and U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame member, Katerina Pohlova and Martin Klement, Sokol archivists in Prague, Jitka Zobal Ratner, MD, Sokol summer camp participant and family members Zuzka Polesny Eggena, MD, granddaughter, and Alex Schay, great-grandson.


Organized by Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), New York Chapter, in collaboration with Czech Sokol (Ceska obec sokolská) with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) in New York.

The War in Ukraine: Putin’d Yearning for Empire

A talk by Igor Lukes, Boston University
On Saturday, APRIL 2 at 4 PM EST, On ZOOM

The presentation stresses the geopolitical centrality of Ukraine for the overall balance of power. It places the present war in a historical context that includes Swedish Vikings, Mongols, the Polish Commonwealth, Tsarist Russia, the Bolsheviks, the Third Reich, and the Soviet Union. The concluding argument is that, in the past, the West sought to contain and isolate crises. This is what led to the Munich Conference of 1938 and characterized western behavior throughout the Cold War. Putin expected the West to respond to his aggression with containment. Instead, he found himself baffled with the consequence of a new doctrine: defend forward.


This event was organized by the Czechoslovak Society od Arts and Sciences, New York Chapter



A talk by PAUL SAMAN, PhD
Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD

Special guests: Richard HASEK, grandson of Jaroslav Hasek, and Jomar HONSI president of the International Hašek Society in the Czech Republic, www.honsi.org/svejk

Sunday, FEBRUARY 6 at 2 pm EST ONLINE


This talk aims to expose and debunk a persistent myth surrounding the sudden death of the irreverent Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek, whose influential satirical novel The Good Soldier Svejk has been translated into more than fifty languages. An analysis of the available documentation from the last weeks and days of his life demonstrates that, contrary to the prevailing belief, Hašek had been in stable health until the last few days of his life, and cannot plausibly have “drunk himself to death,” as the myth has it. Prof. Saman will present questions, arguments, and testimonies of Hašek’s contemporaries, which he has analyzed together with medical expert Dr. Frank Loskot.

SamanPAUL SAMAN was born in Istanbul in 1928 and grew up in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He holds a PhD in Turkish, Persian, and classical Arabic from Charles University. His academic work before emigrating in 1960 included teaching at the Oriental Institute in Prague, and publications on Central Asian folklore for academic journals, radio, and television. He worked for American intelligence for two years in Germany. After moving to the United States, he became professor in the Foreign Languages department of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he taught until the 1990s. Now retired, he lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Organized by the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences with the support of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA)

Please note: Last April 2021, we have organized ŠVEJKathon, an online nine-hour nonstop reading with 59 readers. Here is a link to the first hour recording. SVEJKathon Video #1 on our YouTube Channel. We recommend watching at least the introductory remarks by Václav Paris, PhD, an expert on Jaroslav Hašek.


A book talk by author Harry Blutstein
Sunday, February 27 at 4 pm EST ONLINE


Harry Blutstein will introduce the US edition (McFarland 2022) of his book and discuss the cold war climate of the post-war Olympics focusing on two Czechoslovak cases that made the international news. The 1948 London Olympics saw the first defection, as Czechoslovak gold medal-winning women’s gymnastics team leader, Marie Provazníková, refused to return home. In 1956, in defiance of her government, Czechoslovak discus thrower, Olga Fikotová, refused to renounce her love for US athlete Hal Connolly, creating an international incident. The book also exposes the activities of the KGB and secret police from Eastern European countries to spy on their own athletes and countermeasures taken by the West.
Link to the book Cold War Olympics: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/cold-war-olympics/.

Harry Blutstein, PhD, former Adjunct Professor in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University, is a fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Since 1972, he has been a freelance journalist and published feature articles in op-eds in major Australian newspapers on a wide variety of topics. He is also the author of Games of Discontent on the 1968 Olympic Games. harryblutstein.com.