The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Sokols to fight for America

The Bohemian Review, volume 1, no. 2  (1917) 
Sokols to fight for America


The newly organized Sokol Union of America, numbering nearly twelve thousand athletes, has issued a call to its entire membership urging them to volunteer for service in the army in case of war with Germany. The call is signed by John Siman, national president of the organization, and by a military committee of five members, of which Jarka Kosar is chairman. It says: “We stand behind our president and offer him our bodies in defense of the noble principles and rights of the United States. The Bohemian people have poured out much blood in days past in the interests of humanity and liberty. In French, English and Russian legions Bohemians, principally Sokols, fight today for the rights of oppressed nations and in defense of their adopted countries. We, Czechs of America, have foresworn subjection to the unjust and tyrannical government of Austria and proudly received the boon of citizenship in this great, free republic. To this country we are bound by holy ties of civic duties, and for it we are ready to sacrifice our fortunes and our lives.

“All true brothers of our great Sokol Union are called upon to fill out the enclosed enrollment cards as volunteers for the ‘Sokol Legion’. Local societies are asked to forward the enrollments to the nearest district office in one of the following cities: New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Ia., Omaha, St. Louis, Dallas, San Francisco, Portland, Ore. These stations again are directed to report promptly to the military committee at Chicago.”

This call of the national officers has been sent together with enrollment blanks to 110 local organizations. It has also been published in all the Bohemian papers in this country, since it is the intention of the organizers to accept physically fit men other than members of the Sokol Union. Bohemian physicians have been provided to subject each volunteer to a strict examination. The age limit for the present has been made 18 to 35 years. A large proportion of the Bohemian Sokols (falcons) have served in European armies, and the Sokol Legion would be ready for service in less time than other volunteer formations.