Remembering Czechoslovakia 1918-1938
A “Remembrance Day” commemoration of the First Czechoslovak Republic
Event date: Saturday November 17, 2018 at 3 pm
Location: Edmonton Moravian Church, 9540-83 Ave
(North of the Whyte Avenue, near the Mill Creek Ravine)
Admission by donation. Free parking near the Moravian church.
Event is organized by the Czechoslovak Choir of Edmonton, and it is sponsored by the SVU-Edmonton, the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (www.svu-edmonton.org), and by the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic
After a millennium of turbulent European history which culminated in World War I, on October 28, 1918 the first Czecho-Slovak state, officially named the Czechoslovak Republic, was anxiously proclaimed in Prague. It was joyfully celebrated by the Czechs and Slovaks world-wide, also in the United States of America and Canada. Sadly, after only two decades of freedom and prosperity, this short lived republic, arguably one of the most enlightened and democratic states in the history of mankind, was betrayed and dismantled by the rising Nazi Germany. The demise of Czechoslovakia in 1938 was one of the key events that led up to World War II.
Strategically located in the heart of Europe, since the 8th century A.D. the old Moravians, Bohemians, Czechs, Slovaks, and later the Czechoslovaks, were all plagued by the political power struggle, frequent invasions and wars. Aptly, the “Father of Czechoslovakia” T. G. Masaryk proclaimed – “Without the (Czechoslovak) Legions there would be no Czechoslovakia”! Likewise, thousands of patriotic Czechs and Slovaks volunteered in the Allied armies in both world wars, including in the British and Canadian Armed Forces. Sir Winston Churchill was especially fond of the Czechoslovaks and his biographers agree that the demise of Czechoslovakia prompted the most powerful speech of his political career: “All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness…”
A lot of the fascinating history of Czechoslovakia is already forgotten, but a century later the lofty motto of Czechoslovakia still remains powerful and actual. The old noble maxim “Veritas Vincit” or “Truth is Victorious” insightfully encompasses all the political and cultural aspirations of the Czechs and Slovaks (and the Czechoslovak minorities) who fought and toiled for a free country of their own. This key conviction of the Czechoslovaks thus remains as their memento for posterity, still proudly announcing today that in the end it will be the Truth, very much like they envisioned it in 1918, which will prevail.
Outline of the event: The Czechoslovak Remembrance Day will be a multi-media and musical commemoration interlaced with a few poems, literary readings, and songs. Several brief Powerpoint segments prepared by Peter Hála will highlight the key aspects of the Czechoslovak history and culture, such as the significance of the Czechoslovak Legions fighting in France, Italy and Russia, The Battle of Zborov (a stunning Czechoslovak victory on the Eastern Russian Front similar to the Canadian Vimy Ridge victory), the liberation of Slovakia from the occupying Bolshevik Hungarian-Soviet Army, the role of the Czechoslovak women, and the life and wisdom of the Father of Czechoslovakia, T. G. Masaryk. Each segment will be followed by Czech and Slovak songs performed by the Edmonton Czechoslovak Choir accompanied by a renowned local pianist Jan Janovsky. The song selection has been prepared by the choir’s conductor Mrs. Kamila Moquin.
The event is open to all public curious about the extraordinary short-lived Czechoslovak republic. Youth and Canadians of all cultural backgrounds are most welcome. Presentation will be in English, songs will be sung in Czech and Slovak. Light refreshments and friendly chat will conclude the 70-minute event. Please joins us for some insightful history and somber reflection highlighted by the lively Czechoslovak songs and military marches.