Václav Pačes, President, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic:
This is a unique book about a unique organization that has now existed for fifty years and which has done a lot for the image and the visibility of Czechoslovakia and its Successor States, the Czech and the Slovak Republics, both during the Cold War and after the Velvet Revolution. The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, of which I speak, was officially established in 1958, with main purpose of improving Czechoslovakia’s image abroad, which was greatly tarnished by the Communist system, and to return dignity to its peoples.
This book, which gives a detailed account of the Society’s existence and activities of fifty years, between 1956 and 2006, has been written by one of the Society’s founders and for many years its President, Dr. Miloslav Rechcígl, Jr., who more than anyone else is qualified to write it.
As readers will find out for themselves, what the Society has accomplished in its fifty years of existence boggles the mind and the story is truly inspirational. To be sure, the activities of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences clearly reflect the love and the devotion of the Czechs and the Slovaks abroad to the land of their birth and must be viewed as an integral part of our Czechoslovak cultural history. This is a must reading for everyone, especially for our young generation.
Petr Kolář, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States:
SVU has played a pivotal role in forwarding Czechoslovak culture, science, and academia in the United States and abroad for over 50 years. Through its intellectual strength and soul, it has served as a bridge for Czech and Slovaks around the world to stay connected to their homeland. Even during the darkest times of communism, SVU helped protect and enhance the reputation of Czechoslovaks by supporting and promoting their innovations in science, art, and culture. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, SVU aided Czechoslovakia resume its rightful place among its allies in the free world.
Dr. Rechcigl’s memoir recounts the many interesting twists and turns the fate of SVU, and the fate of Czechs and Slovaks, has taken. This book illustrates how SVU helped Czech and Slovak immigrants maintain their unswerving dedication to their homeland. It also shines a bright light on their unshakable belief that one day the sun would set on communism. But most of all it is a testament to how through the sadness of diaspora, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the United States became joined not only as allies, but indeed as family.