President, Sokol, Eastern District, and Vice President, World Sokol Federation
Vladislav Slavik was born on July 15, 1924 in a family professing ardent patriotic feelings and the Sokol ideas of the cultivation of body and spirit. His parents brought him to Sokol as a four-year-old boy he went through junior classes, helpers´and instructors´schools, and at age 22, he was elected chief of the Sokol regional organization.
In 1945, Mr. Slavik initiated the disarmament of the German garrison in Rakovnik and actively participated in the Prague May uprising. In March 1946, he was elected president of the national socialist youth in the electoral district of Kladno, which he represented as a candidate for the National Assembly. In March 1948, he was expelled from the officers´ military school for a hostile attitude towards the regime. On May 22nd 1948, he went to exile. He helped to found Sokol associations in refugee camps in Germany and later mainly in Italy. At age 25, he was elected chairman of the Italian district in the Sokol regional district of Dr. Edvard Benes in exile.
In November 1950, Vladislav Slavik came to America, where he found employment as a traveling instructor of American Sokol members. American Sokol has always been at the center of the Czech element in a broad geographic spectrum. Mr. Slavik organized both physical education and social and cultural activities: numerous lectures, academies, festivities and folk costume balls. He cultivated national awareness particularly in the generations that had alread been born in America. For seven years, he served as chief and later as chairman of Sokol New York. For seven years from 1985, he was the chief of the Eastern regional district of American Sokol and later became its chairman. He has served in that position until now, and is also a member of the board of American Sokol and a director and instructor of Sokol courses.
Vladislav Slavik played a significant part in organizing Sokol rallies in the USA, but also pan-sokol rallies in his old motherland after 1990. His help with the translations of gymnastic terms from Czech to English has been -- due to his knowledge of the terminology in both languages -- invaluable. Since 1993, Mr. Slavik has served as vice-chairman of the World Sokol Association, where he has been concentrating on youth upbringing. In 1997, he was awarded a silver medal by the Czech Sokol Association for his life-long contribution to Sokol. He is correspondent for a number of Czech newspapers in the USA and for the Bulletin of American Sokol. He has published the books Tyrs: leader, scholar, human going and Renata Tyrsova.
In January 1990, Vladislav Slavik was elected by Czech associations in New York the president of a coordination committee for cooperation with Czechoslovakia. He initiated a shipment of medicine and computers valued at approximately one milllion USD to the Czech Republic. He was very active in promoting the admission of the Czech Republic into NATO and in lobbying in Congress for this cause.
Vladislav Slavik´s untiring activity encouraging Czech-Americans´permanent contact with their old country, deserves much more than passive mention. His role in establishing active cooperation with the homeland and in achieving concrete results in the field of international politics and culture will be deservedly acknowledged by the bestowing of the Jan Masaryk Gratias Agit Award.
Jan Masaryk Gratias Agit Award
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