Page:The Bohemian Review, vol1, 1917.djvu/95

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seeching them not to consider such a move for a moment; later on, when changes in the provisional government disposed for the time being of any likelihood of a separate peace, but when the new program of no annexations and no indemnities was proclaimed, appeals were made again to Russia on behalf of Bohemians and other subject Slav races to the effect that the break up of the Hapsburg empire and the liberation of all Slavs should not be confused with annexation. There has always been a strong feeling in Russia that the Russians, as the most numerous of Slav races, should play the part of big brother to the smaller Slav nations, and the appeals of the Bohemian National Alliance were addressed to this well known sentiment.

Organizer Vojta Beneš returned from his circular tour of the Western states. Several new branches of the Alliance were founded as a result of his work. The total number of the branch societies at the present time is 178. Direct members, paying one dollar and upwards a year, number fifty thousand; counting in members of societies which joined the alliance in a body, the total member-ship of the Bohemian National Alliance exceeds one hundred and twenty thousand.

Charles Pergler, vice-president of the Alliance, had the honor of addressing the joint session of the Texas legislature on May 10, his subject being “Bohemians in the Present Crisis.” The same night he spoke to a large gathering at the University of Texas. From Austin, Mr. Pergler proceeded to New York to take charge of the Slav Press Bureau, founded by the Alliance in co-operation with other Slav organizations.

In the latter half of May, Prof. Ferdinand Písecký arrived in the United States from Petrograd, having left the capital of Russia a few days after the victory of the revolution, of which he was an interested spectator. Písecký, who had been a professor of languages at the Jičín Normal College, was mobilized as a reserve officer in the Austrian Army, allowed himself to be captured by the Russians in November, 1914, and after some more or less unpleasant experiences as a prisoner of war, organized a large volunteer body from among the captured Bohemians, some of whom fought in a special Bohemian division, and others in the Serbian division of the Russian army. Lieut. Písecký was then attached to the Serbian legation in Petrograd and was sent to America to inform the workers in the cause of Bohemian independence of the progress of the movement in Russia, and to take back a report on the work done in the United States. Under the auspices of the Bohemian National Alliance, Prof. Písecký is giving a series of some fifteen lectures in the larger Bohemian settlements, his subject being the Russian revolution: its causes, its progress and its future, and the burden of his talk is the duty of Bohemians in America to fight in the cause of liberty, as Bohemians in Russia and France have so nobly done. Prof. Pisecky feels very hopeful about the outcome of the present turmoil in Russia.


Formerly it was a very rare occurrence to have American newspapers mention either Bohemia or citizens of Bohemian birth. Lately the word Bohemian is found very frequently by readers of our newspaper columns.

The successful campaign for recruiting undertaken by the Alliance together with the Sokols has been noticed and favorably commented upon by scores of daily papers, ranging from Baltimore to Seattle. Dr. Hrdlička’s excellent article on “Bohemia and the Czechs,” published originally in the National Geographic Magazine, was sent out as a war bulletin by the National Geographic Society and reprinted in hundreds of smaller newspapers in this country. That article alone has done a very great service to the Bohemian cause by bringing a sympathetic discussion of the problem of Bohemia to the attention of millions of American citizens.

There is evidence, too, that the Bohemian Review is read by men who mould public opinion in this country. Reprints from the Review and editorial articles based upon material found in the Bohemian Review, have been published, as far as we could ascertain, in the following newspapers: Providence Journal, Chicago Post, Austin, (Tex.) Statesman, Cedar Rapids, (Iowa) Times, Evening Gazette and Republican of the same city, Boise, (Idaho), Statesman, Houston, (Tex.), Post and Houston Chronicle, Galveston News, Oelwein, (Ia.) Register.

Newspapers in cities containing larger groups of Bohemian born citizens refer frequently to the patriotic meetings, enlistment and Red Cross campaigns held by men and women from Bohemia. Some of the local branches of the Alliance are very successful in informing the American people through the public press of the sentiments of Bohemians and the cry of Bohemia for freedom. The Hudson County, N. J. branch, with its able secretary, Jeremiah L. Trnka, is the best example of this persevering work through which the sympathies of America are gained for Bohemia.


Two resolutions have been introduced in Congress with the purpose of committing the legislative branch of our government to the cause of Bohemian independence. The author of one is Congressman A. J. Sabath, of the Fifth district of Illinois, while in the Senate a similar resolution was introduced by Senator William S. Kenyon of Iowa. Both were referred to the respective Committee on Foreign Affairs, where they are held pending a definite expression of opinion on the part of executive officers and also of the American people.

Under these circumstances it is natural that people of Bohemian birth are making strenuous efforts to obtain favorable declarations from public bodies, assemblies and conventions. So far the