The organization Sokol was not only founded as a organization forphysical training, but mainly at the time of national revival as a societyof patriots and of people of pure spirit who adopted the motto: A healthy spirit in a healthy body!... They aimed for physical achievements, better health, but mainly to truthful and honourable actions. Therefore this organization was always a problem to the heads oftotalitarian systems which prefer destruction to creation. Therefore Sokolwas forbidden by the Nazis and then by the Communists. But even in the difficult times long ago, when people used to go abroad to escape poverty or political persecution they founded Sokol groups in their new homes. In Vienna for instance the first Sokol group was founded as early as 1867. It was similar in the United States, where whole families fro Austria-Hungary settled from mid-nineteenth ce tury on. One of, course could not talk about this during the totalitarian governments - whether German or Soviet. One could only whisper Fortunately in our country we have had sixteen years of post-totalitarianism, so that we can travel, and sometimes also to express ourselves freely. (By sometimes I mean if we are not dependent on a boss, a party, a group of a lobby, who steer you - you, fortunately not me, and even bribe you.) I don't know how well those "journalists sleep, but theywill have to settle this with their own consciences. Since 1989 I was able to visit a number of Sokol groups in different countries - in Austria, in Sweden, in Australia, in Germany and in the United States - many!!! About which we could not say anything in earlier days. But I also met with representative of Sokol in countries I have not been able to visit yet, such as South Africa, the head of which, Jan Drahota, I met here and who sends me news of his group.
Fortunately prudent politicians, i.e. all Foreign ministers, rewarded a number of representatives of Sokol abroad with the prestigious prize Gratias Agit, whether it was brother Juraj Slavik (USA), or this year brother Novacek (Vienna), or Laznovsky or Lelouch (USA).
All Sokol groups, some of which have Mexicans or Native Americans as members, are faithful to the principles of the founders.
Basically our Czech emigrants and exulants spread in the whole world the noble Sokol ideas, which enrich those who adopt them.Eva Střížovská
translated by Vilma Iggers
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