Perhaps one of the most prominent figures involved in the preservation of Czech culture in Nebraska was perhaps the man least remembered or written about, with the exception of a few who knew him personally. That man is Dr. Vladimír Kučera. Dr. Kučera was one of the central-most figures that contributed so much to the lifeblood of this cultural preservation that he is so seemingly overlooked. A man so passionate about his work, he often documented on many influential Czech-Nebraskans, however it could be seen as ironic that besides a few newspaper articles and correspondence, little was documented on Dr. Kučera’s own life and contributions. A legacy so rich, it would be shameful to let it fade away. This will be an attempt through the recollections of his widow DeLores Kučera, various writings, articles and correspondence to piece together Dr. Kučera’s life and work.
Czech Churches in Nebraska
"I would like you to return with me in thought to that old time when the first of our forefathers were searching for new homes in this free American land. For thousands of them, this Great prairie of the West was their dream, the final aim of their lives.
They were just plain farmers and craftsmen, without the higher education, which the German government of Vienna didn’t want to give them. They were poor, without the knowledge of the language of this strange country. Therefore, for their spiritual and physical safety, for their defense against the certain enemity of some other ethnical groups, they started to live in colonies. In this way, they could defend the sacred heritage of the thousand of years of tradition of their nation, so dear a religious and national heritage. They banded together, like in a fort; similar to a ghetto. In this way, also the Czech history, the tradition of century old customs, national costumes, folk dances, love of Czech music and especially our songs. Therefore, we have today in Nebraska visible islands, something like an oasis of Czech settlements in this State."
entire source: Czech Churches in Nebraska
Czech Contributions to the Progress of Nebraska
"The Czech contribution to the development of Nebraska has been a significant one. Readers of Nebraska history will find that Czechs have played an increasing role in the affairs of the state as successive waves of these Central Europeans emigrated to the Plains. The first few Czechs were here in the Territorial years—before 1860. The latest arrivals are refugees who left their native land following World War II, when armies of invaders crushed the Republic of Czechoslovakia. Today it lies behind the Iron Curtain."
Czech Drama in Nebraska
"The history of Czech drama in the ‘old country’ is centuries old with its origin in the Middle Ages. In the genesis of the first and primitive drama, the Czechs succeeded in the creation of a typical native form and style; very often showing the strong in fluence of religion, national fold tales, proverbs and folk expressions."
entire source: Czech Drama in Nebraska
Czech Music in Nebraska
There is an old proverb which says that every Czech is born, not with a silver spoon in his mouth, but with a violin under his pillow. Such a saying is certainly testimony to the musical proclivities of this western outpost of the Slavic race.
Suffering forges the great links in the chain of musical expression. Perhaps this accounts for the emotional beauty of Czech music. For the Czechs have loved their country with a passion—and their land has been invaded, raped and divided innumerable times in the last thousand years. All the pathos and pride of such a heritage have spawned a beautiful melancholy in the romance of Czech music. The triumphs and travails of these valiant people, who have resisted destruction with their love of the land, have led to folk melodies and dances that gave birth to the musical genius of such sons as Dvorak, Smetana and Janacek.
first part: Czech Music in Nebraska