September, 2001

Contents :

Czechs Spearhead NATO Macedonian Mission

A New Era of Streetcars in Portland

Craig Stapleton Becomes US Envoy to Prague

Senate Passes Election Bill Allowing Czechs Abroad to Vote

New Fund for Holocaust Victims

Wilber Celebrates Czech Festival

Sokols Mark Their 20th Slet

SVU Meets in Nebraska

Prague and Warsaw Foresee a Joint Unit With Bratislava by Fall 2002

News Digest

Central Bank Raises Interests Amid Inflation Concerns

Government Proposes FY 2002 Budget

The New Skoda Superb Unveiled

Record Grain Harvest

Czech Railways Opens Big Tender for Communications System

Business Digest

Conference on the Czech and Slovak Urban Immigration Experience

Tom Crane Donates Unique Historical Documents to President Havel=s Archives

Cultural Councelor to Return to Prague

Events at the Embassy

Events around the U.S.

Czech Center New York


Czechs Spearhead NATO Macedonian Mission

A group of sixteen Czech Army soldiers from the rapid deployment battalion from Chrudim, east Bohemia, were the very first members of the NATO peace forces to have arrived in Macedonia on August 17, 2001.

Their colleagues from the 120-member Czech unit, part of the planned 3,500-strong NATO contingent whose task is to supervise disarmament of Albanian rebels, landed in Skopje several days later.

NATO allies view the Czech Republic as a reliable and fully-fledged partner, wrote President Vaclav Havel to Czech soldiers participating in the Essential Harvest peacekeeping mission in Macedonia. The view is supported by the fact that Czech paratroopers have been entrusted with the prestigious task of protecting the peace operation's chief command's headquarters.

"You are faced with a difficult task. Although the two sides in dispute have shown readiness and willingness to reach peace, they will undoubtedly yet go through difficult tests on their way towards this goal. It is up to you to strive to help calm down the situation in what is the last hotbed of war in Europe," President Havel wrote in his message to Czech soldiers.

The NATO Council decided to send the first 400 soldiers to Macedonia on Wednesday, August 15, 2001. The unit's task is to prepare the ground for the deployment of the whole peace contingent and to carry out intelligence tasks. Most of the Czech soldiers, who will now operate in Krivolak in central Macedonia, have been on previous peace-keeping missions. In addition to Czech soldiers, the first phase of the operation also involves troops from France and Great Britain.


A New Era of Streetcars in Portland

Once teeming with streetcars, the terrain of the city of Portland, Oregon was later taken over by the car. On July 20, 2001, the city's transportation evolution has come full circle with the return of streetcars. To celebrate the occasion, eight different festivities were held along the 4.7 mile streetcar route. The new cars, manufactured in the Czech Republic by Skoda and delivered by the Czech trading company Inekon Group, will connect Northwest Portland to Portland State University. Along the way, they will serve the Pearl District, the Downtown area, and the Cultural District. Plans are underway to extend the line east to River Place and then continue south. The official opening ceremony was attended by the Czech Ambassador to the United States, Alexandr Vondra; the Minister of Transportation, Jaromir Schling; the Director of the Czech Export Bank, and top company officials.

The plan to purchase seven streetcars from Skoda was important not only for Portland, but for the Czech company who considers Portland to be a gateway to the lucrative U.S. market, as well. In fact, other cities such as Aspen are currently watching the Czech cars to see how they function in Portland, in case they should decide to use them to reduce their own heavy bus traffic and relieve typical traffic jams caused by automobiles.

Plans for the streetcar project were opened in March of 1990 and construction started in March of 1999. The project was completed in June 2001, as soon as the fifth streetcar was delivered. To illustrate the similarities between the streetcars and the urban environments of Portland, Prague, and Plzen, each car will display eight historic photographs showing the transportation of these cities in the 1880's.


Craig Stapleton Becomes US Envoy to Prague

On August 17, 2001, the new U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Mr. Craig Stapleton took the oath in Washington, D.C. as the American envoy to Prague. The official ceremony was attended by Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mr. Stapletonīs family members and other distinguished guests.

Shortly after his arrival to Prague, Craig Stapleton presented his credentials to President Vaclav Havel on August 28 and commented briefly on Czech-American relations. The relations, according to Ambasador Stapleton, have a solid base and there is nothing to undermine them. Ambassador Stapleton mentioned the Czech background of many Americans, the numerous programs of U.S. universities in the Czech Republic, and the popularity of Czech President Vaclav Havel in the United States as the main elements of the good relations between the Czech Republic and the USA.

Mr. Stapleton is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard University Business School. Since 1982, he served as president of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Peace Corps under President George W.H. Bush.

We certainly wish him good luck in his new endeavour.

Senate Passes Election Bill Allowing Czechs Abroad to Vote

The Senate of the Czech Republic passed an amendment to the election law drafted by senators from the Coalition of Four (4K). The bill, which is now slated to be discussed by the Chamber of Deputies, was supported by 39 Coalition-of-Four senators and independent senators Vaclav Fischer and Petr Moravek. Of the 75 senators present, twenty lawmakers from Social Democratic (CSSD), Civic Democratic (ODS) and Communist (KSCM) parties voted against the bill and 14 abstained.

For the first time in the history of the country, the bill allows citizens living abroad to participate in elections held in the Czech Republic via mail (the so-called correspondence vote). Unlike the original 4K proposal stipulating that five percent of votes be necessary for the entry of coalitions into parliament, the bill stipulates that each party must gain at least 5 per cent. A two-party coalition would need seven percent of the votes, a three-party coalition nine, and a four-party coalition 11 per cent.

The bill also proposes that a political party, movement or coalition that is gaining at least one percent of the votes receive 100 crowns (USD 2.70) for each vote. However, this proposal should cease to be valid on the last day of 2002, by which time parties should have reached an agreement on a new method of financing. Correspondence vote might be used by about 80,000 Czech citizens living abroad.

New Fund for Holocaust Victims

On June 27, 2001, the "Endowment Fund for the Victims of the Holocaust" (EFVH), a foundation operated by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, announced a project to provide payments to Jewish owners, both Czech and foreign, who lost their properties during the German occupation of the Czech lands and who did not repossess them under post-war restitution laws.

In April 2000, the Czech government allocated Kc 300 million to the Fund (about 7.5 million USD). Of that, CZK 100 million (about USD 2.5 million) is to be distributed to individual survivors or their heirs. Applications for payments should be placed before December 31, 2001. The application forms can be downloaded from the EFVH website or obtained directly from the EFVH office in Prague.

For more information, please consult the web site

or write to EFVH - Nadacni fond obetem holocaustu, P.O. Box 103, 120 21 Prague 2, Czech Republic, contact person : Ms. Jarmila Neumannova, e.mail :

Wilber Celebrates Czech Festival

The 40th Annual Czech Festival took place in Wilber, Nebraska on August, 3, 4 & 5, 2001. The festival, which was held in the proclaimed Czech Capital of the USA, included an Art Show, a Czech Historical Pageant, a Recognition Hour, a Czech Heritage Demonstration, and the featured event: 40 Years of Wilber Czech Queens.

On August 4th, Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns made public a proclamation declaring the 40th annual Wilber Czech Festival as Nebraska's official "Czech Heritage Weekend."

The festival was founded in 1962 by Walter and Helene Novak Baer and is Nebraskaīs largest ethnic festival, as well as probably the fifth oldest Czech festival in the USA. A ceremony to honor the festival's 40th anniversary was held at the Sokol Auditorium and was attended by state and local dignitaries, as well as representatives of the Czech Republic.

This year's Wilber Czech Festival was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Participants are already looking forward to next August and the 41st Annual Wilber Czech Festival.

Sokols Mark Their 20th Slet

The American Sokol Organization (ASO) held its twentieth Slet from June 27 through July 1, 2001 in the Detroit/Dearborn Area of Michigan.

As per the tradition of Sokol, the Slet is the organization's climax. In Czech, the word slet means much more than just a gathering of people -- to this day it is associated with the Sokols and stands for gymnastics performances and mass calisthenics designed to demonstrate physical fitness, spiritual unity, and the patriotism of its members. Hosted by Sokol Detroit, the 2001 Slet was a gratifying experience for active Sokol members, Americans, Czech-Americans and guests, as well as spectators of the Sokol march, parade and other events. The Slet's rich program also included gymnastic competitions, a fitness challenge, swimming, basketball and volleyball tournaments, as well as golf and bowling events among other activities.

The Sokol Slet was also a social gathering where participants could enjoy great food, dancing and a friendly atmosphere.

Thanks to all of the organizers, Nazdar!

SVU Meets in Nebraska

The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) held its 2001 North American Conference in Lincoln, NE on August 1 - 3. This year's gathering, entitled The Czech and Slovak Legacy in the Americas: Preservation of Heritage with the Accent on Youth, took place at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Held under the auspices of H.E. Alexandr Vondra, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the U. S. A. and H.E. Martin Butora, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the U. S. A, this year's conference attracted more than 100 academics and speakers who presented discourses and projects in 26 different panels. Included among the wide array of topics were: Teaching the Czech Language; Economic Cooperation in the Czech and Slovak Republics; Preservation of Czech-American Culture: Online and Offline; History of Immigration, and many others. The panel discussions were accompanied by several activities on campus, including a tour of the university archives and a screening of "Divided We Fall" (Musime si pomahat).

The conference was also attended by Dr. Milan Spacek, a senator in the Czech Parliament in Prague and chairman of the Permanent Commission for Czechs living abroad of the Senate, Mr. Jaromir Slapota, head of the Czechoslovak Foreign Institute in Prague, Mr. Petr Gandalovic, Consul General of the Czech Republic in New York, and Dr. Ivan Dubovicky, Cultural Counselor at the Czech Embassy in Washington. We would like to thank the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and the Czechs of Nebraska for doing such a great job in organizing the conference.

More information on this conference can be found at

Contributed by Veronika Zavrelova

Prague and Warsaw Foresee a Joint Unit With Bratislava by Fall 2002

In a meeting at the Kolodeje Chateau near Prague on July 23, 2001, the Czech and Polish foreign and defense ministers announced that a Czech-Polish-Slovak brigade should commence operations by the opening of the NATO summit in Prague in the autumn of next year. The Czech and Polish foreign and defense ministers, Jaroslav Tvrdik, Bronislaw Komorowski, Jan Kavan and Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, respectively, met to discuss the plan for the joint unit as well as other foreign policy issues relevant to the Central European region.

"One of the key reasons for establishing the joint brigade, apart from promoting closer co-operation between the armed forces of the three neighboring countries, is to assist Slovakia in its endeavor to join NATO and the European Union, " said Milan Repka, spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Defense. For this reason, the new brigade will initially be commanded by a Slovak officer and maintain headquarters in Slovakia.


News Digest

Government Wants to Complete Another Six Chapters of EU Entry Talks

July 2 -The Czech government wants to close another six chapters of the EU accession agreement, including the chapter on the free movement of persons, according to remarks made by Foreign Minister Jan Kavan at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on July 2. "I'm deeply convinced that we will manage to close this chapter under the Belgian presidency [of the EU in the second half of 2001]", Kavan said, also stating that the government has discussed the Foreign Ministry's report on the Czech-EC talks under the Swedish presidency in the past six months, and concluded that they had been "very successful."

Government Approves 2002 NATO Summit Budget of 802 Million Crowns

July 2 -The Czech government approved the 2002 NATO summit budget amounting to 802.56 million Czech crowns (approximately USD 21 million). The summit will take place in Prague's Congress Centre on November 21-22, 2002. The event will host 46 heads of state from NATO and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program, as well as about 200 other special guests including members of governments and spouses of heads of state.

Mayors Kasl and Moravcik Attend Meeting in Vienna

July 2 -Prague Mayor Jan Kasl and Bratislava Mayor Jozef Moravcik were among the 15 mayors from capital cities of Central and Eastern Europe who discussed mutual cooperation and EU enlargement at a conference in Vienna. The mayors have also signed a Vienna declaration, calling on the EU and their own countries to help cities with their integration into the EU, including providing appropriate aid from EU development funds such as Phare and Ispa. The conference was initiated by Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

CT Director General to be Elected in October

July 3 -A new director general of the public station Czech Television (CT) will be elected in October, according to a decision made by the CT Council -- the body authorized to elect CT heads --at a meeting on July 3. For several months now, CT has been headed by an interim general director, Jiri Balvin. Mr. Balvin was appointed to the post by the lower house of the Parliament earlier this year after the house dismissed the previous CT Council amid a crisis in which the station's staff refused to recognize the election of the previous CT general director Jiri Hodac, labeling him politically biased. The new 15-member CT council, which was elected by the Chamber of Deputies several weeks ago, has decided to launch a competition for the post. The hitherto candidates for the post are, apart from Balvin, the recently dismissed CT current affairs department head Martin Mrnka, and Jana Bobosikova, Czech Television's newsdesk head at the time of the station's crisis six months ago.

Havel Predicts Support of EU Entry Will Rise Among Czechs

July 10 -Czech President Vaclav Havel has said that despite recently released survey results stating that only 38 percent of the people in the Czech Republic want the country to join the EU, he believes that when a referendum is eventually held on the issue, most Czechs will vote in favor of EU entry. Havel also pointed out that several surveys released showed various levels of support for EU entry, adding that "it is all somehow variable. I don't in any way overestimate this." Recent survey results published by the country's Centre for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) state that 38 percent of those surveyed would vote yes in a referendum on EU entry. CVVM added that about the same percentage of people are hesitant and about 17 percent of Czechs would vote against entry.

Sampaio and Havel say EU Enlargement Will Enhance its Integration

July 10 -EU enlargement should enhance the union's integration, Czech President Vaclav Havel and his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio agreed during their meeting at the Prague Castle. After the meeting, Sampaio told journalists that EU enlargement is connected with European integration and has to be widely supported. He also said he believed that EU enlargement would not make any sense if it was not based on the solidarity principle. "Naturally, each state has its own interests. However, it should strive to harmonize its interests with the interests of other countries," Havel noted after the meeting.

The Czech Republic is the Most Technologically Advanced Post-Communist Country

July 10 -The Czech Republic has improved its human development index (HDI) over the past year, advancing from the 35th to the 34th rank among 162 countries, according to the annual report by the UN development program section. The Czech Republic now holds the second best position among all post-communist countries, after Slovenia, in terms of life expectancy, level of education, health care and people's real incomes. The Czech Republic was ranked 21st out of the 72 countries assessed in the technological achievements index (TAI) category, a rating which is the best result of all the post-communist countries, according to the UNDP human development report.

People in Need to Open More Child Refugee Aid Centers in Chechnya

July 10 -The Czech-based foundation People in Need is providing aid to some 42,000 people in war-torn Chechnya. People in Need works together with United Nations bodies and other charities to provide people in areas affected by the war with food, drinking water, makeshift health care and school facilities.

Kursk Wreckage to be Lifted Using Czech Equipment

July 11 -Grappling irons, which will be used to lift the wreckage of the Russian Kursk submarine out of the Barents Sea, have been under construction for a month by workers at the Czech company HK Konstrukce in Sviadnov near Frydek-Mistek, north Moravia. When ready, all 28 of the four-ton grappling irons will be taken from the Czech Republic in a truck. Divers from the Dutch firm Mammoet will drill holes in the hull of the submarine and then insert the grappling irons, which will be fastened to 26 special cables. The nuclear-powered Russian submarine Kursk sank on August 12, 2000, after explosions on board.

Austria to Begin Compensation for WW II Laborers

July 12 -Austria will authorize compensation payments to the victims of slave and forced labor during World War II at the end of July. About 10,000 Czech citizens are eligible for compensation payments from Austria. Meanwhile Germany, which is expected to provide payments to about 70 000 Czech residents, has started filling the compensation scheme, while Austria is still waiting for the withdrawal of class-action lawsuits in the USA. "Hans Winkler, the director of the legal department of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, assured us today that on July 25 a court of appeal in New York will arrive at a compromise and Austria will give a command for repayment in a few days," said Jan Sechter, the Czech negotiator on slave laborers. Germany had also waited with their payments of compensation until the withdrawal of mass lawsuits. The court of appeal will reject two lawsuits which prevent the payment, Sechter said, referring to Austria's position. "After the lawsuits are rejected, Austria will not prevent the payment to forced laborers in any way," informed Sechter.

Czech SFOR Soldier Dies Safeguarding Peace

July 13 - A Czech soldier from the 5th mechanized battalion serving in the SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia suffered fatal injuries after an attempt to disactivate a grenade, Defense Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik and Chief of Staff Jiri Sedivy told journalists. Tvrdik said that Mr. Ivan Zapadlo, a 23-year-old soldier, lost his life while safeguarding peace in Bosnia. According to Sedivy, military police are investigating the case. "The soldier was not directly killed in the explosion, but his death was caused by an impact of ammunition which he was destroying," Tvrdik said. The Czech sapper unit was destroying six pieces of ammunition that had been collected from the local people.

OECD Puts Czech GDP Growth at 3-3.5 Percent in 2001-2002

July 16 -The Gross Domestic Product of the Czech Republic will grow by 3.0-3.5 percent in 2001 and 2002, and inflation should stay below 5 percent, according to an economic survey of the OECD presented at a press conference in Prague. Czech exports will show a two-digit growth. Foreign trade will have a negative impact on GDP growth because imports will grow fast due to a dynamic increase of exports and a stronger domestic demand, according to the OECD.

Czech Republic to Provide Temporary Protection to 250 Chechen Refugees

July 18 -The government of the Czech Republic will provide temporary protection to 250 Chechen refugees who have applied for political asylum in the Czech Republic. The 250 Russian federation citizens, who have fled to the Czech Republic in connection with the conflict in Chechnya, will enjoy temporary protection until June 30, 2002. The protection is conditioned on their having been asylum procedure participants as of April 18 this year. This type of humanitarian assistance is similar to that granted to 5,500 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991, 1993 and 1997, and 1,000 Kosovo refugees in 1999. The Czech Republic provides foreigners who are granted temporary protection with accommodation, food, job opportunities, education and health care.

Almost 39 Million Foreigners Visited the Czech Republic in January - May

July 18 -The number of foreigners visiting the Czech Republic in the first five months of this year amounted to 38.455 million, according to an announcement made by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU). In May alone, the number of foreign visitors grew 1.2% year to year to 8.86 million. Arrivals of foreigners from neighboring countries showed a 0.2 % year to year fall to 30.517 million. Approximately 259,000 people came from states with visa duty, a rise of 110%, while foreigners from countries without this restriction numbered 7.678 million, a drop of 4.2%.

Coalition of Four Would Win Elections Followed by CSSD and ODS

July 23 -If parliamentary elections had been held at the beginning of July, the Coalition-of-Four would have won with 23 percent of the votes, followed by the CSSD, the ODS and the KSCM, show state results from a survey carried out by the CVVM polling agency. According to the survey, the Social Democrats (CSSD) would gain 20 percent of the votes, the Civic Democrats 18 percent, and the Communists (KSCM) 13 percent. In comparison with a June survey by CVVM, neither the voting preferences of the political parties nor the composition of their supporters changed significantly. "The ODS is attractive in particular for respondents with good living standards and voters with higher levels of education," said employees of CVVM. On the other hand, the KSCM traditionally addresses pensioners.

Czechs Pragmatic Regarding Perspective Entry to the EU

July 24 -Most Czechs want accession to the European Union, while differences in opinions among individual groups of the population are smaller than in other candidate countries. The average stance is also more pragmatic than elsewhere --optimists are less excited, and pessimists rationally consider the pros and cons. This is how the relation of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic towards perspective membership in the European Union is evaluated by an extensive study worked out by the firm Optem for the European Commission. Czechs consider accession to the European Union to be a logical step, a natural move to join the community of advanced countries. They expect faster economic development and positive impact on organization and administration of the country as well as legal stability.

Czech KFOR Soldiers in Kosovo Replaced by New Servicemen

July 31 -The final portion of the 7th Reconnaissance Company from Kromeriz, south Moravia, have completed their service in the KFOR mission in Kosovo and have returned home. Since January 31, 180 soldiers have carried out extremely demanding tasks in Kosovo. The company was deployed in the area of north-east Kosovo, its main task to guard a 42-kilometre stretch of the Kosovo-Serbian frontier. After unrest broke out in Macedonia, 40 soldiers were assigned to help the KFOR units there. The soldiers monitored the situation and protected both refugees when returning home and the Serb minority. Moreover, they helped international and humanitarian organizations operating in the area.

Havel Approves Kmonicek as Ambassador to UN

August 6 -President Vaclav Havel appointed current Deputy Foreign Minister Hynek Kmonicek as Czech Ambassador to the UN. Kmonicek said he expects to take over the new post in the fall. Kmonicek has been working at the Foreign Ministry since the mid-1990s. Before becoming Deputy Foreign Minister, he held the post of the Director General of the American, Asian and African section of the Ministry.

Czech Soldiers in Macedonia Prepare for Their Tasks

August 19 -Czech paratroopers participating in the NATO mission aimed at disarming ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia are getting acquainted with local conditions and are preparing for the fulfillment of their tasks. The 120 Czech soldiers are to guard the mission's high command headquarters, to be located about 20 kilometers northeast of Skopje.

Central Bank Raises Interests Amid Inflation Concerns

For the first time in more than three years, the Czech National Bank (CNB) raised interest rates effective July 27. The quarter-point hike brings the Repo rate to 5.25 percent, the discount rate to 4.25 percent, and the Lombard rate to 6.25 percent. CNB said that there is too much money going into the economy. Inflation in July was at 5.5 percent on an annual basis, while the Finance Ministry has raised its forecast for this year from 3.9 percent to 5.1 percent.

According to CNB, the savings rate fell to 6.2 percent in the first quarter of 2001 from nearly 8 percent in 2000. Consumers were encouraged to save less and spend more by the growing economy and by the low interest rates. Last year, 29 percent of Czechs had savings, as compared to 40 percent in the EU. The CNB cited the drop in the savings rate as one of the reasons for its recent interest rate increase. Consumers are not only saving less, but they are also borrowing more. Consumer loans have risen since last year by CZK 22 billion to CZK 133 billion.

Government Proposes FY 2002 Budget

The Czech government has approved a draft state budget for 2002. Budget revenues are projected to reach 690 billion CZK, with expenditures totaling 744 billion. The deficit, including losses of the state's debt-factoring Konsolidacni Banka, will amount to 54 billion. The deficit is in line with political agreements between the minority ruling Social Democrats and the major opposition party ODS (Civic Democrats).

Nearly a third of the expenses will go to the Ministry of Labor and social affairs to cover retirement pensions, unemployment benefits, and other social welfare payments. Some experts who object to the draft budget charge that the government may have overestimated the revenues and included proceeds from privatization in the budget revenues. The draft 2002 budget calls for a spending increase of 8.7 percent, though most of this would go toward adjusting welfare payments, increasing the wages of government employees by 8 percent, and repaying outstanding loans. In many cases, ministries and government agencies would face substantial cuts.

The New Skoda Superb Unveiled

Skoda has revealed the first glimpse of its new model, the Superb. The company describes the vehicle as "executive-sized," slightly larger than the similar Volkswagen Passat. Further details will not be released until September 11 when the car is officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It has been 67 years since Skoda first used the name Superb for one of its models, a large saloon car launched in 1934.

Record Grain Harvest

Czech farmers are anticipating an excellent grain harvest this year with expectations that the yield could set a ten-year record, according to preliminary estimates. Some experts say the harvest will top 7.5 million tons, almost 1.4 million tons more than last year. The Czech Statistical Office (CSU) raised its estimate, putting the improvement at 14.5 percent higher than the previous year, with the average yield 11.1 tons per acre --up from last year's 9.5 tons. Good weather is largely to thank for the promising prospects. Economists say the good harvest could help put a stop to rising food prices, which fueled record five-year inflation levels earlier this year. Producer's prices fell in July compared to June, helping to ease inflationary concerns at the Czech National Bank.

Czech Railways Opens Big Tender for Communications System

Czech Railways (CD) has opened a tender to build the first part of its planned GSM-R network. The system would enable better communication between locomotives and railroad personnel, diagnostics, train tracking, and other applications. The deadline for submitting proposals is September 4, and the winner must present their project documentation on January 1, 2002.

The contract will include building the network and supplying communication devices (similar to mobile handsets) to the railroad. CD officials would like to complete the network by December 2002, when the railroad plans to start testing the new system. So far, there is no price tag on the project but CD officials expect it will cost about CZK 280 million.

Czech railroads are building the GSM-R system in the framework of a wider European project to introduce GSM-R as a new standard in railroad communications. The European memorandum obliges CD to begin working on the project in 2001 and to start building by 2003. The system will provide locomotive diagnostics, remote speed regulation, and information to passengers on the train, in addition to voice communication between the locomotive and railroad personnel.


Business Digest

July 13: Czech export growth moderated at 5 percent in June after extraordinary gains of 15 percent in May and 30 percent earlier this year. According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), the economic slowdown in the EU has begun to leave a mark. Import growth, however, has slowed to its minimum since September 2000 to 2 percent, helping keep the trade deficit to CZK 5.8 billion. A lower demand in Germany and other EU countries translates into slower growth in the Czech Republic.

July 16: ETA Hlinkso, the largest Czech manufacturer of household appliances, is for sale. The majority owner PIAS Investment Group announced its intention to sell its 60 percent stake. The Italian producer Candy is expected to be among the bidders. ETA's sales exceeded CZK 2,2 billion ($60 million) in 2000, 60 percent of which were exports. ETA employs about 1200 workers.

July 17: Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to give precedence to EU legislation and international treaties over Czech law. If given final approval, norms passed by the EU Council of Ministers will automatically apply at home once the country joins the EU. The measure also calls for a referendum on EU accession.

July 20: The Czech Republic was the first among negotiating countries to conclude talks on an important Chapter entitled "Free Movement of Capital." Czech citizens will maintain an exclusive right to buy agricultural land for an extra seven years, and real estate for five years after the country joins the EU. Czech negotiators also completed the "Environment" Chapter when they agreed to reduce the number of transition periods. From the original seven exceptions, the Czech delegation finally established two transition periods: one concerning the wastewater purification requirements and the second regarding the recycling rules. By finishing these chapters ahead of schedule, officials from both the EU and the Czech Republic will have more time to find a compromise over the most sensitive Chapter, the "Free Movement of Persons."

July 23: A study commissioned by the research company Nextra found that Czech managers work more than their European colleagues and are more likely to suffer from mental stress. The study was aimed at describing the working patterns of Czech managers, who in the past were viewed as inferior to their EU counterparts.

July 25: The cabinet approved a CZK 6 billion housing program to subsidize the construction of about 25,000 new cooperative apartments over the next five years. If the measure is approved by the Parliament, the housing fund will pay a CZK 200,000 subsidy on each new CZK 1 million apartment. Each cooperative member will put up CZK 300,000, allowing the cooperative to take out a CZK 500,000 bank loan to pay the remainder. In addition, the housing fund will pay a subsidy to bring the interest rate down to 4 percent, while the cabinet agreed to encourage repairs and reconstruction of older prefabricated apartment buildings.

July 26: According to the press, Germany's Higher District Court in Munich ruled that only the Czech brewer Budvar/Budweiser (BB) is entitled to the Budweiser trademark in Germany. The legal dispute between the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch (AB) and the Czech producer from the city of Ceske Budejovice/Budweis started almost a century ago but has intensified since the Czechs refused AB's privatization offers. BB claimed that their beer should enjoy the same trademark protection as French champagne or Scotch whiskey, based on the so-called appellation of origin. Although Czech Budweiser beer is prohibited from the lucrative American market, BB recently introduced a new Czechvar trademark in the U.S. and distributes its traditional dark-glass pint bottles in several states.

July 27: Cesky Telecom reached a preliminary agreement with Atlantic West (a joint venture by Verizon and AT&T) to buy the remaining 49 percent of the Eurotel mobile operator for $1.475 billion (CZK 57 billion). Analysts say the deal will improve the attractiveness of the 51 percent stake in Eurotel's parent company, Cesky Telecom, to be sold to a strategic investor. The privatization value could be raised to CZK 80 billion, compared with the current market value of about CZK 55 billion.

July 30: The Czech Antitrust Office (UOHS) fined Gillette CZK 800,000 for signing binding agreements with wholesalers in 1998-9 that called for maintaining suggested retail prices, claiming that the agreements hurt consumers. According to the UOHS, the penalty could have been far more extensive had Gillette not cooperated with the antitrust office.

August 1: Six banks are expected to sign a contract in early September to create the Czech Credit Bureau. The banks, which account for more than 80 percent of the personal-loan market, are Ceska Sporitelna, Komercni Banka, CSOB, GE Capital Bank, and BA Creditanstalt. The bureau should be launched in April of next year.

August 3: The Duvel Moortgat brewery of Belgium bought half of the independent Bernard brewery. According to previous Bernard owners, the beer price war is heating up again with talk about the large breweries' agreement to not raise prices for two years, which could mean that small and midsize beer-makers would stop making money.

August 6: Aeon of Brno plans to host its first Internet virtual trade fair this September, eventually totaling 12 fairs per year. Their goal is to attract companies that do not want to pay the cost of exhibiting at a real trade fair.

August 8: Czech bus maker Karosa was awarded "The Best Imported Bus of 2001 Award" by 6 independent magazines in Russia. French carmaker Renault has held a majority stake in Karosa since 1996. In 1999, both companies and Iveco formed Irisbus Holding, creating a dominant European entity. Last year, Karosa produced over 1200 buses, beating expectations by 9 percent.

August 9: The Czech unemployment rate grew at the end of July to 8.5 percent as compared to 8.1 percent in June. The increase is slightly higher than expected and is partly attributed to fresh graduates hitting the labor market. The lowest unemployment remains in the areas of Prague, Central Bohemia and some Southern regions at around three percent, while the highest number of jobless people has traditionally been reported in North Bohemia and North Moravia, with the highest rates in the district of Most at over 21 percent.

August 10: The new owner of the Czech Republic's second-largest wine producer, Vinium Velke Pavlovice, is cutting its losses and selling the property of one of its best-known wineries. Vinium announced it would sell-off most of the troubled Moravian winery Vino Bzenec. The entire production of the Bzenec winery will disappear from the market, putting an end to an 80-year tradition. The wine producer Vinium sold nearly 13 million bottles of wine last year, an increase of 26 percent as compared to 1999.

August 13: Konsolidacni Banka granted tractor maker Zetor a CZK 700 million loan to re-launch production, which should start in a few weeks. The Revitalization Agency said it is negotiating with three foreign parties interested in entering the company.

August 16: Transgas intends to spend hundreds of millions of crowns building a network of natural gas filling stations in response to the growing demand for the alternative fuel. The gas distributor expects the project to be approved next month. Another of the regional transportation agencies, CSAD Usti nad Labem, plans to convert its fleet of 500 buses to natural gas.

August 17: A United Nations report ranked the Czech Republic the most developed newly-transformed country in terms of technology and its application in society (patents, licenses, use of cellular phones, Internet, etc.), followed by Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia. The world leaders in this respect are Finland, the United States, Sweden and Japan.

August 20: The Czech power utility CEZ and its German business partner E.ON have terminated all contracts on electricity supply. The step was initiated by the German company and stemmed from growing pressure from German anti-nuclear activists and trade partners who called on E.ON to stop buying electricity that may have been produced by the Czech nuclear power station Temelin. E.ON holds large stakes in Czech regional power distribution companies and used to be CEZ's largest customer, accounting for around a quarter of all Czech electricity exports.

August 22: The National Property Fund reported that it had failed to agree with the French Pernod Ricard in terms of a majority stake sale in the country's well-known distiller Becherovka. According to previous plans, the new investor would take over a 59 percent stake currently held by the Czech government this year for CZK 1.3 billion ($35 million). In the meantime, Becherovka has been taken to court by a man who says he is the sole holder of a unique recipe for the herb liqueur Becherovka, the distiller's main brand.

August 23: New passenger car sales rose 2.4 percent this year to 90,879 units, according to the Association of the Automotive Industries (SAP). While Skoda Auto raised sales by 12.5 percent, imported car sales dropped by 3,345 units. Skoda Auto has a 54 percent share of the market, followed by Volkswagen, Opel (GM), Peugeot, and Renault.

August 24: Furukawa Electric and its unit Furukawa Automotive Parts announced they had set up a joint venture in the Czech Republic that would begin producing and selling auto parts. The venture targets $9.7 million in sales by the year 2001. The joint venture will make airbag parts and wire harnesses and aims to expand Furukawa's orders from European manufactures, as well subsidies of Japanese carmakers operating in Europe.

Conference on the Czech and Slovak Urban Immigration Experience

The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International and host organization, the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association, invite guests to plan their fall vacations around the 8th Genealogical/Cultural Conference in Pittsburgh, PA from October 31 through November 3, 2001 at the new Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport Hotel. The Conference is made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The Conference will kick-off with specially planned ethnic tours to Cleveland and Pittsburgh to visit Czech and Slovak sites on Wednesday, October 31. Activities at the Hyatt Regency will begin the following day with a series of three "Beginning Genealogy" sessions and demonstrations by ethnic folk artists. Other events include a free double-feature film festival with a documentary by Susan Marcinkus entitled, "Pictures from the Old Country" -- a personal discovery of her Slovak heritage, and "Dvorak in America," a PBS produced program exploring the famous Czech composer's years in America.

The conference's main sessions will begin on Friday, November 2 with a wide range of topics focusing on genealogy, Czech and Slovak history and culture, immigration history, etc. The program will include an optional ethnic dinner followed by ethnic entertainment and the ever-popular Parade of Kroje (a fashion show of authentic ethnic folk dress). For further information, please visit, or call Paul at 651.739.7453.

Tom Crane Donates Unique Historical Documents to President Havel=s Archives

The generosity of the Chicago industrialist and philanthropist Charles R. Crane has evidently carried on in his grandson, Thomas S. Crane, who recently donated an invaluable collection of historical documents and private correspondence made between Thomas G. Masaryk, his son Jan and daughter Alice, and the Crane family to the archives of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic.

Thomas Crane=s grandfather, Charles R. Crane, was instrumental in bringing Thomas Masaryk to the United States as a lecturing professor for the University of Chicago in 1902. A sympathizer of Slavic matters, Crane had established a foundation for Slavic lectures at the University and eagerly searched for outstanding experts in that field. In 1901, he met Masaryk and expressed his will to bring him to America. Although this was not Masaryk's first stay in the United States (he initially came to America in 1878 to marry the Brooklyn-born Charlotte Garrigue), it was his first occasion to share the issues of "small nations in Europe" with the American academic public. The visit also gave Masaryk an opportunity to learn about religious life in America, as well as the existence of and the American approach to what he called "bottom life"-- the life of the lower classes. For a sociologist, philosopher and religious liberal like Masaryk, such issues were of utmost importance. No less important were his visits to several Czech American communities -- he lectured in Chicago and traveled to New York, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cedar Rapids, Washington, DC and other cities. As the historian George J. Kovtun has remarked about Masaryk=s travels in the United States, " [the visits] clearly contributed to the dissemination of knowledge of basic Czech national aspirations."

Thomas Masaryk's 1902 U.S. sojourn also marked the beginning of a life-long camaraderie between himself, Charles R. Crane, and Crane=s family. When Masaryk returned to the United States in 1918, he came not as a professor, but as the leader of the Czechoslovakian independence movement. His friendship with Charles Crane and his two sons, John and Richard, proved to be of crucial importance in his endeavors: as a personal friend of Woodrow Wilson, Charles Crane opened the doors of the White House and the ears of many congressmen and senators to Masaryk, while his son Richard served as a personal assistant to Secretary of State Robert Lansing. It was Richard Crane and the Czech-Jewish Congressman Adolph J. Sabath who organized an exceptional welcoming ceremony for Masaryk that included twenty-seven members of congress and many others upon his arrival at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on May 9, 1918. Charles and Richard Crane diligently worked to arrange meetings between Masaryk and President Wilson with results that were unparalleled -- the four ensuing meetings finally culminated in the American president signing the Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation in October 18, 1918. The Crane family=s dedication to the "cause of Czechoslovakia@ continued even after the country gained its independence -- Richard Crane became the first ambassador of the United States to independent Czechoslovakia, while Charles Crane's second son John worked for Masaryk as his assistant and later became a personal friend of Masaryk=s family, particularly his son Jan and daughter Alice. The younger generation frequently exchanged letters on a variety of issues, both public and private. In addition to several pieces of Thomas G. Masaryk=s original correspondence, these letters form a large portion of the donated documents.

The son of John O. Crane, Thomas Crane=s deep regard for the preservation of the priceless historical documents in his family=s possession finally led him to donate them to the Archives of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic, where they have become part of the larger Masaryk collection. We would like to express our deepest appreciation to Mr. Crane for his generous gift.

Incidentally, Tom Crane visited our Embassy in March of 2001 to learn more about the newly launched project to erect the first statue of Thomas G. Masaryk, the great politician, philosopher and friend of the American people, in Washington, D.C. As evidence of the lasting friendship between the Masaryks and the Cranes, Mr. Crane sent a financial donation to the organizers of the project soon after his visit. Thanks to Thomas S. Crane=s generosity, the legacy of Masaryk is even closer to being physically immortalized in the U.S. capital. Now, let his donations stand as a challenge to all Czechs, Czech Americans, and friends of the Czech Republic who wish to find their own ways to commemorate the great statesman Thomas G. Masaryk and, as such, to honor the Czech-U.S. relationship and the blossoming of friendship between our two nations. Tom, we thank you!

Ivan Dubovicky

Cultural Counselor

Cultural Councelor to Return to Prague

Dear Friends,

On September 28, I will leave Washington to return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague. I would like to take this final opportunity to express my deepest appreciation to everyone with whom I have had a chance to cooperate with during my three and a half years here.

While in America, I have established quite a few relationships with Czechs, Czech-Americans, and friends of the Czech Republic, and not only in the formal sense, some have turned into wonderful friendships. I hope that all of the ties that I have made to this country will continue to exist in the future, both officially and personally.

Once more, I would like to thank you all for your great support. I firmly hope that my successor, Mr. Eduard Metela, will find in you the same eagerness to help and regard for the Czech Republic that I have. With the quality of personalities that I have met during my time here, I have no doubt that he will have as wonderful experience as I have had.

My best wishes to everyone, and goodbye,

Ivan Dubovicky

Cultural Counselor

Events at the Embassy


May 15 -September 20

In a fascinating display by one of the most notorious and respected artists of the Czech Republic, Skiers, a selection of sensitively and humorously created images of mature characters on skis in a variety of circumstances, is not an exhibit for ski aficionados only. Artist Martin Velisek, a graduate of the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, primarily concerns himself with glassmaking, painting, drawing, illustrations, graphics and photography. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Prague, Liberec, Vienna, Paris, and Melbourne, among others. Martin Velisek is a member and court artist of the music group Uz jsme doma. His work Skiers will be on display through September 20, weekdays from 9-5 and evenings during events.


Saturday, September 15

Mirek Janek's 1996 film The Unseen offers a unique glimpse into the lives of sight-impaired children involved in active photography. Through this remarkable documentary, viewers can follow the children as they create photographs and virtually cross the bridges that connect the "seen" to the "unseen." A director of many documentaries shot both in the Czech Republic and the United States, Mirek Janek is also the renowned editor of the outstanding films Powaqqatsi and Anima Mundi. At 12:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Gallery's East building, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW. Admission is free of charge.


Wednesday, September 19

For one decade, the film company Bulšitfilm produced 13 surreal short films of combined live action and animation. Conceived of by Director Pavel Marek and Director of Photography Roman Vcelak, their collaboration emerged after the two met during a hospital stay in 1983 and ended with the death of Roman Vcelak in 1993. The evening will feature The Dead Forest and Other Bullshit, a four-film series that highlights the finest of the company's short films, including Birthday in the Park (1987), Harvest (1992), Tutor in Fear (1989), and Dead Forest (1990). Presented by director Pavel Marek at 7:30 p.m. at the Czech Embassy. Reservations are not required, admission is free.


Saturday, September 29

The Washington chapter of the SVU (Spolecnost pro vedy a umeni) will open their 2001-2002 season with the Annual Wine and Cheese Party on Saturday, September 29 at 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Czech Embassy (3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC). Those who are interested in Czech and Slovak culture are kindly invited to attend. Tickets are 17 dollars (12 dollars for students). Please send a check made payable to "SVU Washington" to Otakara Safertal, Treasurer, 5529 Whitley Park Terr., Bethesda, MD 20814, tel. 301-564 9081.


Thursday, September 27

The filmmaker, illustrator and writer Peter Sis comes to Washington for an enchanted evening of Prague stories and short film screenings in celebration of the second edition of The Three Golden Keys, his book on Prague. The book was originally released in 1994 and edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for Doubleday. Peter Sis is a five-time winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year Competition and a recipient of the Caldecott Honor Book Award for his book, Tibet Through the Red Box. He has published nearly 1,000 drawings in The New York Times Book Review and designed numerous book jackets and posters. This event is held in collaboration with the Smithsonian Associates. At 8 p.m. at the Czech Embassy. For tickets, please call 202/357-3030 and refer to code: 1L0-115.


Wednesday, October 3

In another rendition of the collaboration between the Czech Embassy and the Tasting Society, guests are invited to the third Annual Burcak Tasting to celebrate the new wine harvest. Throughout Central Europe, burcak is an extremely popular drink, yet it is only available for a couple of weeks each year as the new wines pass through the fermentation process. Although the tasty cider-like burcak is virtually unknown in the United States, guests will have the opportunity to try a rare sample of the rejuvenating beverage at 7 p.m. at the Czech Embassy. For tickets, please call the Tasting Society at 202/333-8992.


Friday, October 5

Antonin Kratochvil is one of the most revered photographers of our time. In his first book, Broken Dream: Twenty years of War in Eastern Europe, he hauntingly documented the devastation brought on by communism within the Soviet Bloc. Kratochvil's second book, INCOGNITO, focuses on a very different side to his work, uniting some of the most riveting and original portraits of American artists into one outstanding collection. Kratochvil was the first recipient of the Eyewitness Essay honor of the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for magazine photography, the 1998 winner of the World Press Photo award for portraits, the Leica Medal of Excellence, and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. A presentation and booksigning will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Politics and Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave, NW. The event will be followed by an exclusive 8:30 p.m. opening of the INCOGNITO exhibit at the Czech Embassy with Mr. Kratochvil, featuring the Czech band Traband (please see below for more information). The exhibit will be on display through February 25, weekdays from 9-5 and evenings during events.


Friday, October 5

The task of formulating a description of the Czech band Traband is not an easy one. It is a fact that they are influenced by the music of the Slavic, Romani, and Jewish cultures -- yet what they do with these distinct sounds is somewhat akin to throwing them into a blender at maximum speed for a wildly unadulterated result. Traband's name was inspired by the Trabant, an East German car that has been produced since the fifties with mostly plastic components and a motor that should only be found on a small motorcycle. In fact, the band's performance could also be described as the audible equivalent of a fast ride in a Trabant car -- a daring adventure with unexpected results. Please join the band as they further enhance the opening of Antonin Kratochvilīs exhibit, INCOGNITO (see above).


Tuesday, October 16

The musician Jan Novotny is a leading interpreter of Czech piano music, particularly of the work of Bedrich Semtana (a composer whose complete works Novotny has been studying and perfecting over an ample number of years). Since 1998, Novotny has been the head of the Piano Department at the Prague Conservatory of Music. At 7:30 p.m., reservations are recommended. Please call 202/274-9100, ext. 3413. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Events around the U.S.

Every Sunday

The Czech Voice of Cleveland, a Sunday Morning Czech Show hosted by Joe Kocab

WRMR 850 AM Radio

11:00 a.m. to Noon

WERE 1300 AM

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Karlin Wednesday Dances

Czech Food served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., dancing from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Karlin Hall and Club, 5304 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, OH

September 26 "St. Wenceslaus Day" with the Hronek Czech Band

October 17 Fred Zalar

November 7 Hanslik/Kurka

November 21 "Sousedska" with Johnny Pastirik

For reservations, please call 216.429.2450

For more information, please call 216.883.4760


September 20

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts Learn at Lunch with "Jan Hus -Czech National Hero" by Bob Stone. Bring a sack lunch and learn why Hus's death date is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. WFLA Heritage Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

12 p.m.

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

September 22-23

The United Moravian Societies celebrates their 62nd Moravian Day Festivities with special performances by the Mistrinanka Brass Band from Moravia. Union Hall #150, 6200 West Joliet Road, Countryside, IL.

8:00 p.m. Welcoming Dance (Saturday)

10:00 a.m. Holy Mass (Sunday)

2:00 p.m. Program (Sunday)

For more information, please call 708.562.2307

September 23

The Nebraska Czechs of Prague announce the Prague Czech Heritage Day with a Roast Pork Dinner, a concert by the Prague Czech Brass Band, Polka Dancing and more. Prague, NE

For 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fore more information, please visit or call 402.435.6914

September 28

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts the Fall Concert Series with the Maia String Quartet, exploring the music of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. Sponsored by Hancher Auditorium, UI. Reception to follow. Grand Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

September 30

The Nebraska Czechs of Panhandle announce the Panhandle Czech Heritage Day with a covered dish dinner, supper, dancing, and music by Bruha Trio of Elyria.

12 p.m. covered dish dinner, 5 p.m. supper followed by dancing and music

For more information, please visit or call 402.435.6914

September 30

The Philadelphia branch of the Czech and Slovak Heritage Association in cooperation with the Honorary Consulate General of the Czech Republic will participate in an International Day Celebration with Czech and Slovak songs performed by Roger Latzgo. Middletown Grange Fairgrounds, Penns Park Road, Wrightstown, PA.

Admission is free, parking $5

For further information, please visit or call 215.230.0160 or 215.646.777

October 1

The Vaclav Havel Civil Society Symposium presents a free address by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, sponsored by the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, Macalester College, and the University of St. Thomas in Partnership with Minnesota Meeting. At the Schoenecker Arena, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN.

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

For tickets, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request to: ATTN: Libby Imbrone, Czech and Slovak SOKOL Minnesota, 385 Michigan Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102

October 7

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts The Life Long Learning Series featuring "Star Wagon Company and Cedar Rapids Canning Company, Two Early Industrial Sites in Southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa" by archeologist Christopher M. Schoen. Learn how these businesses contributed to Cedar Rapid's earliest Czech neighborhood from 1871-1926. WFLA Heritage Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

2 p.m.

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

October 8

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts Kava a Knihy (Coffe and Books) with a discussion of The Trial by Franz Kafka. WFLA Heritage Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

7 -9 p.m.

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

October 20

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts an Exploration of Czech and Slovak Cinema with a screening of the innovative director Jan Svankmajer's own spin on Alice in Wonderland, Alice (1988), featuring live action and stop-motion animation sequences. Introduction and discussion by Natasa Durovicova, University of Iowa. WFLA Heritage Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

7 p.m.

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500


October 20

The Czech and Slovak Heritage Association of Maryland presents a Banquet Celebration with Dinner and Dancing, featuring JOY of Maryland. At the Hilton Hotel, White Marsh, Maryland.

6:30 p.m.

Admission is $35 per person (tables of eight available)

For more information, please call Ed Foreman at 410.661.0139

October 21

The Czech and Slovak Heritage Association of Maryland presents the Fifteenth Annual Czech and Slovak Festival with food, music, dancing, exhibits and more. Baltimore 45 Association Hall, 2501 Putty Hill Avenue, Baltimore, MD.

12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is $5

For information, please visit

October 21

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts a screening of short films by Jan Svankmajer with an introduction by Natasa Durovicova, University of Iowa. WFLA Heritage Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

7 p.m.

Admission is free

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

Beginning October 22

Violin Virtuoso Ivan Zenaty will tour North America with accompanying pianist Katarina Bodova

For more information, please contact

Beginning October 25

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library's Exhibit, Roads to Understanding offers rare historic pieces from the National Museum in Prague.

30 16th Avenue, SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Admission is free to members; Adults $5, Seniors $4, Youth $2

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

October 26

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosts The Fall Concert Series with a performance by Czech pianist Emil Viklicky. Grand Hall, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

7 p.m.

Admission is $8 for members, $10 for nonmembers

For more information, please contact 319.362.8500

October 27

The American Czech-Slovak Cultural Club of North Miami hosts Dozinky, a CzechoSlovakian Harvest Festival with food, beer, music, dancing and more. 13325 Arch Creek Road, North Miami

3 PM

Admission is $12, includes one Dozinky Plate, music and dancing

For more information, please call 305.891.9130 or visit

October 28

The American Czech-Slovak Cultural Club of North Miami celebrates Czechoslovak Independence Day with live music and a Czech dinner. Guests are invited to wear their kroje.

For more information, please contact the club at 305.891.9130 or visit

October 31

The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International presents the 2001 Genealogical/Cultural Conference, "The Urban Immigration Experience."

For more information, please read our article in the magazine or visit

Czech Center New York

Exhibition : Selected Affinities - paintings by Katerina Stenclova and objects and drawings by Michal Skoda - exhibition prolonged through October 10. Two abstract artists working in the traditions of Czech abstract art but also influenced by the 1960s American abstract artists like Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland, and by the minimalist movement.

Exhibition at the Czech Center New York, opening June 28 at 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - on view through October 10, 2001.

Film : Traps (Pasti, pasti, pasticky) - video-screening of 1998 feature film by Vera Chytilova. A feminist black comedy about an environment Minister Dohnal and his old friend Lacina who, together, rape a young hitchhiker, Lenka, a veterinarian who does not hesitate to take advantage of her profession. For the sake of justice and safety of others, she decides to castrate the culprits . . .

September 13, 2001 at the Czech Center New York at 7 p.m.

Film : Jan Svankmajer Retrospective - Jan Svankmajerīs films continue their tour in September, moving on from NYC to film festival Cinematexas in Austin, Texas and Black Sheep Puppett Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

More info :,

Poetry reading : Sweet melancholy - the upcoming centennial of Jaroslav Seifertīs birthday will be celebrated with an evening of reading of Seifertīs poetry and a discussion about his life and work. Among the speakers will be Peter Kussi, poet and translator Richard Howard, and the American publisher of Seifertīs work, Robert Wechsler.

September 24, 2001 at the Czech Center New York at 7 p.m.

Czech Center recommends :

Film : A Trial in Prague - written and directed by Zuzana Justman. A film about the trial at the height of the Cold War, in which fourteen high-ranking members of the Communist party, including second-in-command Rudolf Slansky, were tried for treason and espionage. Although they were innocent, they confessed and were convicted. Eleven of them were Jewish . . .

The Quad Cinema, 34 W 13th St., NYC, phone : 1-212-255.2243, opens September 7