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Czechoslovakia 100th anniversary celebration

Czechoslovakia 100th anniversary celebration
Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland
October 28, 2018

2018 is the centennial year of the founding of the country of Czechoslovakia after World War I. This little country, formed out of a piece of the Austro-Hungarian empire became an example of people who had persevered for hundreds of years despite challenges to their very existence.

Sokol Greater Cleveland and other organizations hosted a weekend full of events commemorating the centennial of the founding of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago at the Czech Cultural Center in Historic Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland Ohio.

Banner of he centennial of the founding of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago

In that very hall the Cleveland Agreement of 1915 started the creation of the nation of Czechoslovakia.

The festive weekend was be held at the Sokol Greater Cleveland Czech Cultural Center in historic Bohemian National Hall, 4939 Broadway in Cleveland. On Saturday October 27, there was Czech, Slovak and Rusyn music and dancers, gymnastic demonstrations, as well as food and imported beers, tours of the historic building and museum, ethnic exhibits and sale items and goods from participating organizations. Children's activities included a puppet show, a mushroom hunt, passport signing, Marionettes and other classroom and fun activities.

Sunday's celebration feature a sit-down dinner at Bohemian National Hall with music and presentations.

The events on Sunday began with ceremonies led by Paul Burik at the Czech, Slovak and Rusin Cultural Gardens in Cleveland. 18 representative were on hand as national anthems were played and brief proclamations were made. The group placed a wreath at monuments representing their respective leaders; Masaryk, Stefanik and Duchnovich.

Czechs, Slovaks and Rusyns in front of the Masaryk statue

Czechs, Slovaks and Rusyns in front of
the Masaryk statue in the Czech Garden

In front of the Stefanik statue in the Slovak Garden

In front of the Stefanik statue in the Slovak Garden

At the Duchnovich bust in the Rusin Garden

At the Duchnovich bust in the Rusin Garden


One of the goals of the weekend celebration was to honor the families of Cleveland area Czechs and Slovaks who fought as World War I Legionnaires in the French army for the liberation and freedom of the new nation. The Centennial Committee sought out members of the Legionnaire families to share any pictures, letters, mementos or uniform items or simply to be honored or join in the celebration of the heroic sacrifices of these brave volunteers.

Alice Khol served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Sunday event and welcomed the crowd to the room where the Cleveland agreement of 1915 was signed.

NOTE: All the images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.



Alice Khol at the podium

Alice Khol


Alice Khol introduced Marjorie Juba who sang the US, Czech (Kde Domov Muj) and Slovak (Nad Tatrou Sa Blyska) national anthems.

Marjorie Juba

Marjorie Juba


Next, Laurel Tombazzi who sang the Rusyn national anthem, Ja Rusyn Byl, Jesmi Budu.



Laurel Tombazzi

Laurel Tombazzi


Rusyn community at Czechoslovakia 100th celebration

Rusyn community at Czechoslovakia 100th celebration


Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli presented proclamations to honor the occasion to Steve Sebesta and Helen Roth from Mayor Frank Jackson and also Cleveland City Council.



Councilman Tony Brancatelli, Steve Sebesta and Helen Roth

Councilman Tony Brancatelli, Steve Sebesta and Helen Roth


CouncilmanTony Brancatelli, Steve Sebesta and Helen Roth

Councilman Tony Brancatelli and MC Alice Khol

Councilman Tony Brancatelli and MC Alice Khol


Father Joseph Callahan, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Cleveland, gave the Benediction and invocation.



Father Joseph Callahan, Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Father Joseph Callahan,
Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church


Before and during the dinner, the Bill Hronek Czech Band performed. Here is a song which translates to Go to sleep my children" at the event.



Bill Hronek Czech Band

Bill Hronek Czech Band


Bill Hronek Czech Band

Czechoslovakia 100th dinner

Enjoying dinner and the music


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After dinner MC Alice Khol introduced and thanked the participating organizations and said that "We cannot let our heritage die." She said that they must continue the work and traditions of their parents and grandparents.



Alice also told the history of the Historic Bohemian National Hall where the banquet was held and where the Cleveland Agreement of 1915 was signed.



Crowd at Czechoslovakia 100th celebration in Bohemian national Hall

Crowd at Czechoslovakia 100th celebration
in Bohemian National Hall


There were 3 other speakers after dinner. First was Stephen J. Sebesta PhD. Before his keynote speech, Stephen Sebesta told of growing up and hearing Czech music coming from every other house. He showed the Czech flag flying over Cleveland City Hall and then played a video message from Petr Gandalovic, the Czech Ambassador to the US.



Czechoslovakia flag flying over Cleveland City hall

Czechoslovakia flag flying over Cleveland City Hall


The title of Sebesta's keynote presentation was "Czechoslovakia in 1918: A Fragile Coalition."



Stephen Sebesta speaking

Stephen Sebesta speaking

Roster of World War I Cleveland Czechoslovak Legionnaires

Roster of World War I Cleveland Czechoslovak Legionnaires

Next, John Sabol, the new Czech voice of Cleveland told of the history that Cleveland and in particular the Bohemian Hall had in the creation of Czechoslovakia and beyond. His presentation was titled "Why Cleveland?"



John Sabol

John Sabol



The event concluded with Paul Burik who spoke of the new Cleveland Agreement of 1915 Lobby in the historic hall.



Paul Burik

Paul Burik

Cleveland Agreement of 1915 Lobby

Cleveland Agreement of 1915 Lobby

Congratulations to the organizations and members of the Czech, Slovak and Rusyn communities for putting together such a grand weekend to celebrate the centennial of Czechoslovakia.






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