SPJST

Czech Ambassador to the U.S. to visit Czech Heritage Museum on Friday

Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C., will visit the Czech Heritage Museum on Friday. The public is welcome to attend a reception starting at 12:30 p.m.

Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C., will visit the Czech Heritage Museum on Friday. The public is welcome to attend a reception starting at 12:30 p.m.

The Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center will host a reception for Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček and his wife Ms. Indira Gumarova of Washington, D.C. at 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The public is welcome. 

Kmoníček was appointed ambassador from the Czech Republic to the United States on March 16 and presented his credentials to President Donald Trump on April 24.

The ambassador’s Texas itinerary includes Sokol Dallas, the Sokol gym in West,  the SPJST home office and the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple and Camp Mabry in Austin.

On Saturday morning, the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange will host a public welcome. That evening, he will attend the opening of the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic at the Czech Center Museum in Houston, hosted by Honorary Consul and SPJST President Brian Vanicek and his wife, Joan, of Temple.

Since 2013, Ambassador Kmoníček has served as Director of Foreign Affairs in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic. He also served in three posts as ambassador to the United Nations, India (including Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka) and Australia (including New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu).  He began his diplomatic career in the Middle East Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and shortly rose to the position of Director General of Asia, Africa and America.   

Ambassador Kmoníček was born in Pardubice, then Czechoslovakia. His first calling was as a professional musician and educator. His instruments are classical guitar and lute. After earning degrees in music and pedagogy, he studied the English language and Classical Arabic at Charles University in Prague. He also holds a degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he studied modern history of the Middle East and medieval Islamic mysticism. His political science graduation paper was titled, “Historical development of Saudi-American relations from the beginning to the JFK era.”

Recently, Ambassador Kmoníček was credited with resolving a diplomatic dispute between Czech President Milos Zeman and the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Shapiro.

In 2015, a Czech entomologist named a newly-discovered beetle after Kmoníček, in gratitude for assisting him when he was ambassador to India.

The ambassador has four children. He enjoys cooking, world music and collecting documentary films. He writes about foreign affairs for the Czech newspaper MF Dnes, as well as for reviews of art, culture and for academic journals worldwide.

Kmoníček replaces Ambassador Petr Gandalovič, who had served since 2011 and often visited the Czech communities in Texas.  Ambassador Gandlovič was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Sokol Gym at West, funded in part, from contributions of the citizens in the Czech Republic.

Hanus Family visits the Museum

Members of the Hanus family met here at the Museum this week to research their family history in our genealogy library. Sisters and brother Joyce Hanus Lamprecht, Barb Hanus and James Hanus drove up from Austin and Cibolo, Texas. They are originally from Skidmore. The siblings were able to find new information about their family in our library and also a copy of a book dedicated to their family history. 

Their father's cousin, Otto Hanus, was the first librarian, archivist and curator of the Museum, so we were delighted to meet them!

Otto Hanus, first curator of the SPJST Library and Museum

Otto Hanus, first curator of the SPJST Library and Museum

 

Otto Hanus is one of the pillars of the history of the Czech Heritage Museum. His first involvement was to transport 1,500 books from storage at West, Texas to the SPJST building at Second Street and Central Avenue in Temple. The books, sent by donors from across several states, was the result of discussions between several Czech fraternal organizations in Texas who agreed that a museum, or at least of library of Czech literature,  should be established.

Nick Morris, editor of the SPJST weekly newspaper, Vestnik, took on the challenge and started the book collection. Interested donors sent them from all over Texas and several other states and before long, the large collection had accumulated. The following year, 1969, Hanus became the curator and administer of the collection.

Morris wrote of Mr. Hanus’ work in A History of the SPJST: A Texas Chronicle 1897-1980.

“He does not know what a clock is, and the SPJST could not have a more devoted worker. He, on the other hand, extends credit to all others who donated items … and to the cooperation and understanding of the Supreme Lodge.”

Today, visitors from around the world and Texans of Czech ancestry alike enjoy the legacy left by Mr. Hanus here at the Czech Heritage Museum.