Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/23

This page has been validated.

qualities which would make of Bohemia an important member of the family of civilized nations. To earn the sympathy and good will of America for the struggles of Czechs and Slovaks toward freedom will be the main purpose of the Bohemian Review.


This winter will be remembered among the Czechs in the United States as the season of big bazaars. In almost every large city the Bohemians either held their own bazaars, or participated in the Allied Bazaars as one of the races ranged on the side of the ten nations.

Of the more notable of these fairs, as far as they occupied the attention of the Bohemians, one ought to mention first the Allied Bazaar in Detroit, held in November; the Czechoslovak booth attracted much favorable comment and contributed materially to the financial success of the big fair. Bohemian artists from Chicago took part in the program. About the same time Bohemians in San Francisco, who number only a few hundred, held their own bazaar and made a net profit of three thousand dollars, a really remarkable result, when compared to the size of the colony that gave it.

From the financial point of view the greatest success was the bazaar given by the Bohemians in New York in the month of December. It netted $23,000 to the cause of Bohemian independence. When we consider that the great Allied Bazaar in New York, advertised by all the papers and patronized by the whole city and its countless millionaires, resulted in a profit of about half a million, the forty or fifty thousand Czechs in New York with the co-operation of a smaller number of Slovaks, among whom there are no rich people, proved that they possessed ample energy and generosity.

In January the two kindred races of Czechs and Slovaks participated in the Chicago Allied Bazaar. They were given two booths in the Coliseum and sold seven thousand dollars worth of goods donated by their own people. Through the Bohemian National Alliance nearly ten thousand advance admission tickets were disposed of. On the last day of the Bazaar, the Slav day, Bohemian artists furnished the greater part of the musical and cabaret program.

Chicago Czechs have now in preparation a large fair of their own, to be given on March 3 to 10. They aim to exceed the high goal set for Chicago by New York, a difficult undertaking, as each large Bohemian settlement in Chicago has already had its own fair and all helped to boost the Allied Bazaar. The proceeds will be devoted to the cause of independence of Bohemia.


An important event in the life of the Bohemians in America is the accomplishment of the long discussed union between the so-called blue Sokols and the red Sokols. Both organizations have for many years represented in the United States the principles embodied in the great Sokol (Falcon) movement which had its beginning in Bohemia in the sixties and has since spread into every Slav nation. The principles, or rather the spirit of the Sokols, one might sum up as patriotism, progress, energy, discipline, and the chief means by which these ideals are sought to be realized is strict physical training of the youth of both sexes. The Bohemian Sokols have produced from their ranks some of the best athletes of America.

In the old country nearly all the Sokol societies were linked together in the Bohemian Sokol Union. One of the first acts of the Austrian government after the outbreak of the war was the dissolution of the central organization and the gradual suppression of the local societies, for the Sokol training made itself felt on the battlefields, whereCzech soldiers who were members of this great Slav fellowship deserted in groups to the Russians and the Serbians. In America the Bohemian emigrants have had Sokol organizations almost as long as their brothers in the old fatherland; these were gathered into several national bodies. The strongest of them, the National Sokol Union, adopted the blue uniform for their members, while another strong body, known as the Zupa Fuegner Tyrs, adhered to the red uniforms as used in Bohemia. The Sokols have proved themselves the most energetic fighters in the cause of Bohemian independence, and it was the feeling that the times required the closest possible organization and co-operation on behalf of all the Czechs which brought about the union of these two bodies on the basis of freedom for each local society to select either the blue or the red uniform.

The Sokol Union of America which this month commences its existence will number more than 12,000 members with about 150 local societies, most of them possessing their own halls and paying their own physical instructors.


That part of the “peace terms” answer of the Entente, relating to the liberation of the Czecho-Slovaks from foreign domination, has been generally passed over in silence by the American press. Its comment dealt mainly with the more familiar topics of Belgium and Serbia and Alsace-Lorraine and Constantinople; the great significance of the resurrection of Bohemia, both from the historical and diplomatic point of view, has not been at all appreciated. It is merely another proof of the short vision and ignorance of European geography on the part of editorial writers of the great American papers. Only in a few cities with a large percentage of Bohemian immigrants have the dailies paid attention to the demand of the Allies for independent Bohemia. The Cleveland Plain Dealer of January 14 says on the editorial page: “Now comes the entente note with a definite promise of Czech freedom. From a Bohemian standpoint this is the most important thing in all the war . . . No people has finer traditions than the Czechs, no people is more worthy of self-