Czech Genealogy & History: The dichotomy found in the world’s only Czech Cultural Garden and what it means for Czech-rooted individuals
We began our small series on the world’s only Czech Cultural Garden with a short background piece, which you can read by clicking here. We followed that with our article providing an overview of the Czech Garden, and then yesterday wrote and posted our in-depth look at the Czech history frieze, sculpted by famed Czech-American sculptor Frank Luis Jirouch.
Today we are going to address what we find as an interesting dichotomy in the Czech Garden. In lieu of any differing definition and with a tip of our cap my Economics 101 course, we enjoy calling it ‘Macro-Czech vs. Micro-Czech’.
First let’s review who the Czech community decided should be celebrated and immortalized in the Czech Cultural Garden with the statuary of Frank Jirouch. They are all bronze statues or busts as follows:
Jan Amos Komensky, famed educator,
Tomáš G. Masaryk, first president of Czechoslavakia,
Bedrich Smetana, the composer of, among other pieces, “The Bartered Bride”,
Miroslav Tyrs, the organizer of Sokol societies,
Jan Purkyne, physiologist,
Frantisek Palacky, historian and author,
Anton Dvořák, world-renowned composer,
Jendrick Simon Baar, novelist,
Karel Havlicek, journalist, and
Bozena Nemcova, beloved novelist.
Interesting to note there is not a local amongst the whole lot! The local Czechs looked at the Macro-Czech universe as they decided who rated high enough to be included in this unique Czech Cultural Garden. They looked for their inspiration on the grand, worldwide Czech stage as they made their decisions as to whom would be immortalized there.
OR did they?
While the statuary might read like a small “Who’s Who” of Czech luminaries, one needs to only look a bit closer and you will see there is in fact a Micro-Czech aspect to the Garden as well.
The Czech Cultural Garden has a wonderful and meaningful dedication plaque from the initial creation of the Garden, which reads as follows:
“Czech Cultural Garden. Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia. Homeland of teachers, statesmen, martyrs, musicians, and artists. This garden is dedicated to our beloved Czech parents, who by their teachings and by precept and example have established for us a high ideal of American citizenship.”
Ah, yes! Dedicated to “our beloved Czech parents”. Micro indeed!
Then, if you take a second look you will come across another plaque in the Garden. This one is from the ‘Rededication’ of the Garden, which was on September 8, 1996, during the bicentennial of the founding of the City of Cleveland. This rededication reads as follows:
“In grateful memory of the thousands of Czech immigrants and the generations that succeeded them….
They enriched the human fabric of Cleveland with their knowledge, skills, faith in god, spirit of fraternalism, love of song and music, and the Sokol ideal of a sound mind in a sound body…
As patriotic Americans and firm believers in “liberty and justice for all”. They enthusiastically supported their homeland in its struggle for freedom, independence, and democracy from World War I to the present….”
So here we are for a second time! Off the Macro-Czech level and focused on the Micro-Czech level of each individual Czech immigrant who came to call Cleveland home.
These wonderful Czechs were looking at both the world stage for inspiration, but knew in their hearts true inspiration also came from their parents, families, and compatriots.
That’s the way the world works…you need both to succeed!