“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude” – Thornton Wilder The Czech have a saying for when someone’s machine or invention works so perfectly, that it must have been the work of a divine touch. Zlaté české ručičky – golden Czech hands. That is exactly what Otto Wichterle must have had, as not only one, but two of his inventions spread throughout the world like wildfire in the competitive era that was the second half of the 20th century. This talented chemist invented both the Contact lenses and Nylon, which is commonly worn in the form of nylons. This is his story: Otto Wichterle was born on October 27, 1913. He came from a wealthy familyContinue Reading

“If you are too comfortable, it is time to move on. Terrified of what is next? You are on the right track.” – Susan Fales-Hill This Czech woman likely gained the most political power a Czech has ever had. As a part of the Democratic party in the United states, she served as the 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations and 64th United States Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, being the first woman to ever achieve this position. She clearly made the most out of her humble beginnings, so much so that many often forget that those beginnings took place in a small, landlocked country in central Europe. Madeleine Albright’s life begun in a Jewish familyContinue Reading

“If you would not want to be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin The legacy of Jan Jánský is a prime example of how certain inventions or findings of scientists from smaller nations got overlooked by history to make way for the findings of scientists from ‘more important nations’ in school textbooks. In 1930 Karl Landsteiner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of human blood groups in his 1901 paper. He was an Austrian, living in the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, one of the most important countries in the world at that time. However, it seems like many omittedContinue Reading

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”-Mark Twain Although Czechs at home and abroad still often stumble upon a store bearing his surname, only a handful usually take a second to remember the story of one of the greatest businessmen this land has ever birthed. Tomáš Baťa is clearly worthy of at least a mention, since despite economic crises and a world war, he managed to start an international company from literally nothing. He was the king of shoemaking at his time, and still managed to focus on politics, education and his family. The fate of Tomáš Baťa was closely intertwined with the city ofContinue Reading

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” -Chuck Palahniuk Despite being the king of the Czech lands for a brief period of time, Jiří z Poděbrad is overlooked by many. He did not lead any wars or kill anyone famous, perhaps that is why he is being left out of European history. However, we all have much to learn and respect about him, as we might surprisingly share a lot of values with this medieval Bohemian king. He struggled for peace within and outside of his land, and worked tirelessly to achieve even greater unity throughout Europe. He was the first person to ever think of a unified and yetContinue Reading

The Egyptians believed that you die twice. Once when they bury you in the grave, and the second time is the last time somebody mentions your name. I chose professor Holý as my first forgotten Czech, since I believe the amount of people whose lives were drastically changed by his contributions is astronomical, yet very few Czechs actually know his story or even just his name. Professor Antonín Holý was one of the key contributors to giving humanity a chance to fight against viruses which we cannot be vaccinated against. For example, one of his greatest inventions was a drug that effectively fought the HIV virus, which causes the disease we know as AIDS. This drug is still made usingContinue Reading

Samo’s Empire, Great Moravia, Duchy of Bohemia, Kingdom of Bohemia, Holy Roman empire, Austo-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Czech Republic. These are most of the names that a land that I now call home used to have. Sometimes we were independent, sometimes we were ruled over by others, and sometimes we ruled over others. What is important is that the people here were always the same. Diligent, creative and sincere. Individuals eager to fight for their own freedom and the freedom of others. People dedicated to overcoming the greatest of obstacles for the greater good. Naturally, there were also rotten apples on the Czech tree, who’s mistakes we acknowledge and learn from. However, IContinue Reading