Czech Center Newsletter June 2017

News from the Czech Center in the Museum District

June 2017 Issue


1. The President of SPJST Chartered Lodge 232 Midtown

2. We have lost some very important and prominent Members

3. Read about Hynek Kmoniček, the new Czech Ambassador’s Visit

4. Note: Book Signing of The Execution of Jesus Christ

5. We need underwriting for the Capital Improvement of a Solar Screen in the Courtyard


Save the Dates:

CCMH Calendar of Events

Movie Nights

Future dates to be announced via email.


German Language Class.

Every Wednesday from 10:30 – 11:45 p.m. ongoing

Contact Jasmina Kocurek at

713 528 2060 for information. New cycle begins June 7, 2017


Read about Event Meeting the New Czech Ambassador to the United States

June 17, 2017 Brian Vanicek Honorary Czech Consul introduced the Ambassador.


The Execution of Jesus Christ Book Signing

June 24,2017

By author Dr. Mark Kubala

10:30 a.m. Reception


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From the Chairman – The beautiful CCMH is what it is, because of you!  We Aspire, try to Inspire, and Engage on a morning to night daily basis through talking to our members and friends from early days as well as recent.

It’s how we try to keep up to keep giving the message we do here, for future generations too, and for a larger community of our city and suburbs and April was filled with spectacular events such as Professor Brian Connelly from Rice University’s Department of Music concert on our Petrof Baby Grand Piano, our Distinguished Lecture series with Dr. Helmut Schneider on reading Moravian immigration maps and another Houston Grand Opera performance.

We have lost some distinguished members; Leonard Green, Jerry Pecha and my cousin Beverly Lezak Koym who I will miss dearly in April and in May three more; Morris Jurecka, Father Isidoro Vicente and Lynn Blankenburg on the last day of May and may all of them rest in peace! We officially chartered SPJST Lodge 232 Midtown; continued working to find underwriting for a Solar panel over our courtyard and enjoyed an Egg Painting exhibition and Children’s program on the same day as the music concert. Please take a moment to consider a letter to you for donations to CCMH’s Endowment for Perpetuity which is vitally needed to continue the operation of this organization.  Whew! Busy but worth it!

Effie M. Rosene, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Home Office 713-682-4608


Meet Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček,

fullsizerender44441.jpgthe Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the United States presented his credentials to Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America  on April 24, 2017.  Before his appointment and since 2013, Ambassador Kmoníček worked as the Director of the Foreign Affairs Department in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic. His diplomatic career has spanned more than two decades since he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, specifically its Department for Middle East and Africa, in 1995.


He worked in different positions such as the Director of North Africa and Middle East Department, the Director General for Asia, Africa, and America, and the Deputy Foreign Minister in two different periods. He served as the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Australia, India and the United Nations in New York. Before joining the Foreign Service, the Ambassador studied English and Arabic Language Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and Modern History of the Middle East and Hebrew and Arabic Languages Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. He enjoys cooking ethnic cuisine, collecting the hottest sauces on this planet, and writing for various magazines and newspapers.









A Must Read Book by Dr. Mark Kubala

1024x1024The gospel testifies to the Roman manner of torture in which Jesus endured humiliation and a brutal beating before he was nailed to the cross. The beating was intended to inflict maximum pain short of death and to satisfy the crowd’s demand for the death of Jesus. Pilate presented him to the crowd, crowned with thorns, which produced severe pain and profuse bleeding, and in a horrendous state of dehumanization, saying, “Behold the Man” but they would only be satisfied with his death.

The trial ended. “Jesus was led away carrying the cross himself” (John 19:17).  Medical opinion has varied about the ultimate cause of death. After three hours of hanging on the cross, he was exhausted from lack of sleep and loss of blood, dehydrated, and extremely weak. Asphyxiation seems to be the most common cause of death in crucifixion; however, some believe he died of a ruptured heart, but Kubala offers convincing medical evidence of a different sort into the ultimate cause of Jesus’ death on the cross. His conclusion accounts for Jesus’ rather quick death after being nailed to the cross, which is verified by the surprised Roman soldiers (John 19:33). Kubala gives sound medical reasons for his conclusion as to the cause of death, allowing contemplation into both the humanity of Jesus’ love as well as his divine love.

Ed: Reception, Meet the Author, book signing and Reception June 24, 2017 10:00 to 12:00 Noon.


Czech restaurants, bars go smoke-free after years of debate

1The Czech Republic is no longer allowing bars and restaurants to decide their own smoking status.

A smoking ban in Czech bars, restaurants and cafes came into effect Wednesday, putting to an end the Czech Republic’s status as one of the last havens for tobacco smokers in Europe. The ban, which applies to inside areas of bars and restaurants as well as public places like cinemas, theaters and sports venues, was approved by Parliament following years of heated debate and signed by President Milos Zeman, a chain smoker.  Unlike most of Europe, Czechs had remained tolerant of smoking up till now — and it was up to restaurant owners to decide whether to allow it in their establishments.  According to data from the European Union, 17 member states have comprehensive smoke-free laws in place. But some, including Austria, Portugal, Romania and non-EU member Serbia, only have partial bans on indoor smoking in restaurants and bars.  Others, like Greece — which has official bans but the rules are widely flouted, even by government ministers — have problems with enforcement.  After the Czech move, Slovakia appeared to be the only EU country left with no official ban in place inside bars.  The Czech Health Ministry said it estimated 18,000 Czechs die from smoking-related illnesses every year and another two thousand non-smokers die due to exposure to second-hand smoke.  From Wednesday, which is World No Tobacco Day, violating the ban would incur a fine of up to 5,000 koruna ($190).  Most Czechs approve the ban, but a group of lawmakers have challenged it at the Constitutional Court.  Jakub Storek, owner of the Cafe Liberal in Prague — a popular hangout among local smokers — said he opposed the ban.  “It’s hard to predict the impact at the moment,” he said. “But I guess it would be different clients coming here in the future.”  Stepan Ourecky said he would still come, but may light up outside the cafe.  “Or perhaps, I will smoke less,” the 18-year old student said.



Help Spread the word about our Mission:

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The CCMH exists to celebrate culture, language, scholarship and arts preserving history and heritage, espousing the significance of knowing one’s ancestry that all roots are important to being a citizen of the world. It is our organization’s belief that education and charity are cornerstones to enhancing a Civil Society in these challenging 17203197_1685172941499979_4648170341963173235_n - Copytimes. Our Organization is a Museum and Cultural Center open six days a week where visitors, local and out-of-town, are attracted to the Center by its proximity to the other Museum District Museums and the Medical Center where we are sourced by maps, visitors’ guides, newspaper articles, notice of our events by email and our websites. All the organization’s events are open to the general public. We have noted that many persons of other heritage have developed their interest and have come to us via a love of Czech classical music composers, authors, history, art, military service, student exchange, and other exposure to the culture.

Ed: Continuing Education classes are offered to the public for 2017. Call 713 528 2060


2Member Morris William Jurečka was peacefully called by our heavenly Father on Tuesday May 16th, 2017 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born in Hallettsville, Texas on August 19th, 1944. Morris spent his childhood in Weimar, Texas and was a graduate of Weimar High School. Morris was a private and devoted servant of the Lord, husband, father, and grandfather. He was kind, gentle, and always gave freely of his time with special dedication to his family. Morris was a 25 year career veteran of Exxon Corporation before changing his career to the Cypress Fairbanks ISD Department of Transportation. Morris is preceded in death by his parents William and Ida (Schneider) Jurečka. He is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Ann; brother George; two sons: Joseph and his wife Kimberley; David and his wife Stacey; four grandchildren: Kathleen, Brian, Matthew, and Michael as well as numerous relatives and friends. A funeral Mass was celebrated with Rev. Benjamin Smaistrla on Tuesday, May 30th at 10am at St. Ambrose Catholic Church In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Harris County Chapter of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas, Texas Czech Genealogical Society, Czech Center Museum Houston, or the charity of your choice.


3The Reverend Father Isidoro Vicente, O.P., passed on to eternal life in the early hours of Monday, May 22, 2017 losing his valiant battle against cancer at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Born in Martiago, province of Salamanca, Spain on March 28, 1939, to the late Felipa and Justo Vicente; early in his life he followed the footsteps of his brother Francisco and attended the Dominican Order Minor Seminary. He did his novitiate in Palencia, Spain, and on October 7, 1957, pronounced his first vows in the Dominican Order. He studied Philosophy at the Dominican Institute of Philosophy, Caldas de Besaya, Santander, Spain. He began his theological formation at the Pontifical Faculty of San Esteban, Salamanca, Spain and completed his studies at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC, in 1965. His fist ministry assignment was to Saint Dominic Parish, Miami, Florida, as a Hospital chaplain next pastor at Saint Dominic Parish in Miami in 1974.  In 1983, after ending a very successful ministry in Miami, he went to San Antonio, Texas where he began his ministry as Co-Director of Campus Ministry at San Antonio College. In 1987 he was made Pastor of Mater Dolorosa Parish, Independence, Louisiana, where he also ministered as Part-Time Chaplain at North Oaks Hospital, Hammond, Louisiana. In 1993 he returned to Texas, where he ministered as Campus Minister at the University of Houston. In 1999 he became Chaplain at Saint Joseph-DUBUIS Catholic Hospital, while simultaneously being the Chaplain to the Houston Dominican Sisters. He is greatly missed by his confreres at Holy Rosary Priory and by the members of Holy Rosary Parish and by many members of the Czech Center Museum Houston. May he rest in peace!



Lynn D. Blankenburg (77) passed away May 30, 2017 at Clear Lake Regional Hospital after complications from a spider bite. He was born in in El Campo, Texas-Wharton County to Gus and Flora Blankenburg. Lynn is survived by his high school sweetheart, Helen (Dornak) Blankenburg, they would have celebrated their 60th anniversary on December 30, 2017. Lynn farmed rice with his father in El Campo and then worked in the Cryogenic field near Baytown. With his cryogenic experience he was hired at NASA (now JSC) in 1966. His office was in Bldg. 32 from where he retired after 47 years. He was a charter member of the K of C Alvin-Manvel Council No. 6403 holding several offices in his younger years. Lynn and his sons are members of K.J.T. Lodge in El Campo. He was Asst. Scout Master while his sons were in scouts and a member of the International Order of Foresters.  Lynn was proud to hear that his son Kevin is getting his 35 year pin with Southwest Airlines and Kevin’s wife Kelly is getting her 30 year pin also. He was also very proud of his only daughter MaryLynn who changed careers to become a R.N. at 47 years old and was at his bedside with her mother when he passed.

Visitation was held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Alvin, Texas


SPJST Lodge 232 Midtown Officially Chartered.  

5Seated: Rudolf Rusnak V.P, Bill Rosene, Treasurer; Standing Cathy Rosene, Secretary and Clay Zapalac; Brian Vanicek, President

In an event prior to the March 4, 2017 Members and Friends Dinner, and in an ceremony SPJST President Brian Vanicek together with other fraternal officials  officially chartered Lodge 232 Midtown.  This lodge breaks an eleven year hiatus of new lodges of the SPJST and was heralded that night.  We look forward to the affinity this lodge and its members bring to Czech Center Museum Houston.  All existing members of SPJST who are members of other lodges may officially request a transfer of membership to the new lodge 232 and are invited to do so!                                                                                        Picture: Brian Vanicek displaying Lodge Charter.


Descendants of the textile magnates visited villas in Brno


Ivan Konig, CCMH friend and advisor lives in London with his mother and is a part-time citizen of Houston and often CCMH visitor and our London colleague.  He had advised us about a Family Low-Beer, Tugendhat and Stiassni reunion in Brno, CR which he is a part of and that he was unable to attend.  He received an account of the happenings from his brother, Peter Koenig, who lives in Switzerland.  The Tugendhat Villa is a popular tourist spot in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and gateway to Moravia. I thought this might interest you at the end of the reunion there was a plenary session in which the public was invited, .500 people attended (100 from the family) a mixture of young and old and visited V illas in Brno on Sunday, May 21 2017 villa Löw-Beer and villa Tugendhat were visited by descendants of the prominent textile industry families Löw-Beer, Tugendhat and Stiassni. The gathering of over a hundred members of these families came about as a part of the Meeting Brno festival. Even the daughters of Grete and Fritz Tugendhat, Ruth Guggenheim-Tugendhat a Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, took part as well. The descendants of these families, who now live in Europe, America and Australia, accepted an invitation from the City of Brno and came to learn about places which are connected with the lives of their ancestors.The organizers of the festival prepared a busy schedule for the guests – mainly focused on the history of Brno and especially on its famous textile past and modern architecture.

The descendants of the branched families spent a pleasant afternoon in the Löw-Beer villa, relaxed in the garden and looked through the building and the permanent exhibition The World of the Brno Bourgeoisie around the Löw-Beers and the Tugendhats. They met the museum curators and discussed together the history of the villa and the family. A pleasant surprise was an unplanned performance by Jonas Guggenheim and Andrea Kirchhofer, who played a few traditional Jewish melodies.

Sunday program was concluded with the concert of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra what did Grete Tugendhat listen to? Franz Schubert’s string quartet Death and the Maiden sounded in the Löw-Beer villa and the Beethoven’s Cello Sonata and Piano in A Major in the Tugendhat villa. You can look at the photos from this significant day down below.

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krtek_by_froniaKrtek the mole is more than just a cartoon. “Although the mole is named Krtek, in his shows and books he is simply referred to as The Little Mole,” Explained Eva Klikova, a worker at PoHadka Toy Shop. The cartoon made his first debut in a 1963 movie followed by a 63-episode television series. Zdenek Miler created The Little Mole in 1956. Since the communist party ruled Czechoslovakia, Disney was frowned upon due to its western influence. “It became a common practice for the secret police to show children photos of Mickey Mouse ,” said Sarah, a tour guide for Sandeman Tours who has lived in Prague since October 2013. “If they could identify him, their parents would be interrogated,” she noted. Miler designed Krtek as a mole because he wanted a strong Disney influence. The episodes are based on stories about The Little Mole and his group of friends who include Frog, Hedge hog, Hare, and Mouse—all of which are featured on products from T-shirts to key chains. Miler decided to give Krtek only sound effects rather than dialogue. The only time Krtek ever had a voice was in his debut movie. The sound effects that can be heard are recordings of his Miler’s daughters’ voices from when they were young. “The DVD’s are one of the store’s most popular items since anyone can understand them,” Klikova states while holding a DVD composed of Krtek’s top ten episodes.” Krtek is a traditional Czech cartoon icon,” said Jana Padevetova, the manager for the University of Karlova Bookstore “the books are very popular among tourists since they have been translated into various languages.” She is an advocate for showing the cartoon to her own children because she believes that Krtek presents a good message for contemporary children, and one that is especially easy for young children to understand. In 2011, a plush version of Krtek made it to space as he accompanied the U.S. astronaut Andrew Feustel on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. This was the first time Krtek was introduced to the entire world. Krtek’s lack of dialogue and journey to outer space makes him a global symbol of bravery and determination from a country whose people have demonstrated the same traits throughout their history.                                                                          


Solar Screen over Courtyard.


Please see picture of the Courtyard on the south side of our building where there is a Wall of Honor of engraved marble tiles and has been used as a place of respite, to eat your lunch or visit with friends.  This area is used infrequently owing to Houston’s summertime heat.  We have considered making it more palliative to cover the area with an awning, however recently the idea of placing solar panels to bring shade to the area; and, at the same time supply electric power to the grid.  In this way the construction of this shading mechanism will pay for itself over the long term.  We are asking your assistance in underwriting the cost of installation to shade the courtyard.  We have been invigorated to continue the proposed project by a $7,500.00 grant from the Marek Family Foundation and a $3,500.00 contribution by Cathy and Larry Anderson.  So we are on the way.  Please contact Bill Rosene if you have any questions at 713-682-4608


Please consider joining the tile holders shown who are waiting to have their tiles inscribed in the next Memorial/Honorary Tile installation.  It is a way to celebrate and remember your heritage while you help grow the Museum. Honor a friend or loved one. Inscribe your name or your honoree’s name on a tile as a lasting and meaningful memento of thoughtfulness. It is for someone you love. It is for someone who made a difference. It is for you! Celebrate honoring someone important in your life or your association with the Czech Center Museum Houston.  Inscribe Your Name or your Honoree’s Name on a gold engraved black marble tile as a lasting and meaningful memento of thoughtfulness and support of the mission of this unique new site.

Tile contribution by size: 12×12 $5,000 – gold frame surround; 12×12 $1,000; 8×12 $750; 6×12 $500; 4×12 $250.

Your order would be timely for the next installation.


Board of Directors: Effie M. Rosene, Chairman; James E. Ermis, Vice Chairman; Rev Paul Chovanec;  Grace England, PhD; Caroline Freeman;  Chris Hlavinka; Harry E. Mach; Kerry Mazoch; Barbara MikulikSally Miller, PhD; Wesley Pustejovsky; Charlie Waligura

Administrative Officers: Effie M. Rosene, Chief Executive Officer; James E. Ermis, President/Treasurer; G. Bill Rosene, V.P. Administration/Secretary

Distinguished Patron: Brian Vanicek, Honorary Czech Consul

photoYou are welcome to view this organization’s IRS Form 990 available on the Guide Star website.  Note this organization’s name on filing was the Czech Cultural and Community Center, which now does business as the Czech Center Museum Houston:  Interested members may also view financial records by appointment.


Read a virtual Docent Historical Tour of the Czech Center Museum Houston by clicking the following link:

13“When we build let us think that we build forever. Let not it be such for present delight or for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will think of us for. And Let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See this our father did for us’.”
John Ruskin


Questions or comments or to be removed, please email first and last name to

Effie M. Rosene, Chair/CEO on behalf of Board of Directors, Volunteers and Members and Friends.

This organization is supported in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance

And by the contributions of our Friends, Members and Volunteers.

View the latest issue of CCMH News journal:

View our blog: www.czechcentermuseumhouston.wordpress.c

View special items for purchase:



Please remember our Kroger Plus Donation Poject


Shop at Kroger’s? Have a Plus Card? By registering your card every time you shop at Kroger’s, a small percentage of your purchase is donated to our organization. Go to, click on register, enter personal information and designate Czech Cultural and Community Center d/b/a Czech Center Museum Houston Kroger and charity account number 82266 as the designee for your contribution from your purchases.  If you cannot register online, call the number on the back of your card and ask that your card be linked to account number 82266. Call 713-528-2060 if you have questions or need help.


Every little bit helps.


Preserving and celebrating Czech and Slovak heritage with the goal of promoting a global community

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