100-TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE "CESKA BESEDA" IN SARAJEVO
Ever since Bosna and Hercegovina became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1878, Czechs started to immigrate to these lands. They soon formed various organizations- to meet their compatriots and to enjoy some social life. By about 1906, there were approximately 6000 Czechs settled here. Several groups united in 1905 under the name of "Ceska beseda" in Sarajevo. They organized a Czech language school for children and adults and the teachers helped to run various educational and cultural activities. They founded a library of Czech books, there were puppet shows, theater performances for adults, dances, etc. In the summer, children from Sarajevo would visit Czechoslovakia to improve their language skills and to visit relatives and friends. Some of these activitties was unfortunately interrupted by the Second World War, but some of the work still continues.
The 100th Anniversary of the "Ceska Beseda" was marked in November 2005 by a large exhibition, entitled "CZECHS IN SARAJEVO" (Cesi v Sarajevu) consisting of 30 historical panels of writings, photographs, etc. It was opened by Mrs. Jovanka Manzalovic- Salaka and by Mrs. Branka Hrzkova. Among the exhibits were some original diaries of teachers and club officials, several books dating back to 1930, a catalogue of library books( containing 2800 titles), the original puppet theater and large-size puppets made in the Czech lands, and other interesting materials.
The exhibition was very well attended. Among the guests were the Ambassadors Jiri Kudela and Miroslav Mojzita.
At the present time, the activities of the "Ceska beseda" are handicapped by lack of space and members have to meet in private homes. In spite of this limitation, members have already organized 9 exhibitions of their activities and are planning another one for next year.Anna Basicova, Translated by Marie Dolanska
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