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The Cultural and Educational Activity of the Czechs in the Area of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County

Authors
Publisher
Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Češke Beseda
  • Kolonizacija
  • Kulturno-Prosvjetni Rad
  • Savez Čeha
  • Češka Beseda
  • Colonisation
  • Cultural And Education-Related Activities
  • Czech Union
Disciplines
  • Education
  • Musicology

Abstract

In the course of the 19th century, the Czechs were intensely immigrating to the rural areas of the today’s Bjelovar-Bilogora County. Until the time of the First World War, organised cultural activity had – in those circles – been in its earliest beginnings. The first association of the Czechs was Češka beseda, which was formed in 1907 in Donji Daruvar. The cultural life of the Czechs in the area of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County became livelier between the two world wars; in that period, wherever they settled, the Czechs formed their national associations. The Czechoslovak institutions had financially supported such associations; the intention was to put an end to the assimilation process of the Czechs and the Slovaks in rural milieus. This was made possible thanks to the highest organisation – the Czechoslovak Union – formed in 1921, which took care of the cultural life of the Czechs and the Slovaks in the territory of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Union was led mostly by Czech nationals, who were representatives of the Czechoslovak institutions and hence not adequately familiar with the life of the Czechs in rural milieus. In the Daruvar area, the beseda of Daruvar played the vital role in the forming of the Czech associations. The cultural life of the Czechs in the area of the today’s County had experienced many vagaries. In the period of the Independent State of Croatia, the cultural life was at a standstill, Czech associations and schools were not operating; nevertheless, this situation changed towards the end of the war. After the war, the rights of the national minorities were officially recognised from the level of the state. However, a problem occurred – a lack of domestic professional staff, since many Czech teachers had returned to their homeland before the war, and the rest remigrated together with more than five thousand Czechs from the territory of the then state. This situation became even worse after the Informbureau resolution of 1948, whereby any kind of assistance from Czechoslovakia regarding culture was withdrawn. In addition to its involvement concerning education, the Czechoslovak Union (today the Czech Union) has furthermore been encouraging the operation of the beseda associations, which foster various cultural activities: music, singing, folklore, theatre, etc. The Czech Union moreover supports the publishing activity, takes care of preserving the Czech historical sources, and helps to ensure optimal working conditions in all social environments in which beseda associations are active. Thanks to the state-level assistance from the Republic of Croatia and the Czech Republic, the cultural activities of the Czechs in Croatia have indeed flourished; thereby, the bilateral relations between the two sovereign states are continuously developed and enhanced.

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