The Czech Heritage Museum & The Beltonian Theatre present 2018 Czech Film: “Talks with TGM”

Media Release

The Czech Heritage Museum & The Beltonian Theatre present 

2018 Czech Film: “Talks with TGM”

WHAT: Historical period drama based on the book by newspaper journalist and novelist Karl Capek. Tomas G. Masaryk was the first president elected in Czechoslovakia after the country was formed following World War I and the dismantling of the 300-year-old Habsburg empire. Masaryk was born in Hodonin, Moravia, Czech Republic (then Austria) to a poor, working-class family. He was a philosophy professor at Charles University in Prague and later at Chicago University in Illinois. He married the American Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk and returned to Europe to serve in the Austrian Parliament, but was considered radical due to his view on a democratic government. After WWI, he was elected president and based the Czechoslovak constitution on the U.S. one. He signed the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This film is a glimpse at some of his perspective on the events surrounding the birth of the new nation of Czechoslovakia. 

WHEN: Matinee at 2 p.m., Evening Showing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

WHERE: The Beltonian Theatre, 219 E. Central Ave. Belton, Texas

COST: Free

WHY: Donations accepted to support the Czech Heritage Museum

CONTACT: Susan Chandler, 817-919-9095 

Martine Huba plays Tomas Masaryk and Jan Bucaramanga plays Karel Capek in the 2018 film Talks with TGM.

Martine Huba plays Tomas Masaryk and Jan Bucaramanga plays Karel Capek in the 2018 film Talks with TGM.

More about the 2018 film "Zlatý Podraz"

The 2018 Czech film, Zlatý Podraz (Golden Sting), tells the true story of the Czechoslovak national basketball team during the historically tumultuous period of 1938 to 1951.  It is based on the book They Were Not Afraid of Their Courage, by Jakub Bažant and Jiří Závozda. Small roles are played by some of the former team members, including Jiří Welsch, who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.

The story plots a path to the 1946 European championship in Switzerland. Titled “FIBA EuroBasket 1946,” it was organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). It was the first European championship held since 1939 due to World War II and the beginning of the use of the jump shot in Europe.

The Czechoslovaks had come in third at the very first championship held in 1935. This was remarkable since basketball had only recently been introduced in the country. A healthy YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) existed with the Sokol athletic movement. Mormon missionaries from the U.S., hoping to learn the language and culture, taught sports at the YMCA Palace in Prague and at YMCA camps.

The YMCA Palace was a meeting place for the resistance movement during Nazi occupation. Many resistance fighters were recruited there. The underground periodicals and leaflets were printed there, including the Czech Courier and V Boj (In Combat) magazines. In the film, the team coach is arrested and tortured for information. He knocks himself out to avoid divulging names, but later dies in prison. Before the championship, Franta visits the prison and takes a handful of soil in honor of his coach. He puts it in a wooden box to take as a talisman to the games. Later, an artist inscribed on the box “We Were Not Afraid of Our Courage.”

 Nazi troops took over the building in 1941. It was severely damaged in 1945 but U.S. YMCA funded a restoration. Activities resumed until it was abolished in 1951 by the communist regime. In 1991, the palace was returned to the YMCA and restored. It is an active athletic center today. A plaque commemorating three secretaries of the YMCA who died as participants in the anti-Nazi resistance during WWII was installed in the lobby.  

This film reveals interesting historical situations by weaving them into the story lines of a team of young men bonding to overcome enormous odds, a touching romance and a close-knit family. Some of the most important points are treated with subtlety and understatement, as is typical in Czech literature. Czech audiences, already keenly aware of the significance and historical context, will not need an explanation. So, the historically-inclined will want to watch for clues for what is happening on the broader political stage at the time.

Much of the film was shot at Prague’s Industrial Palace, Vystaviste, built in 1891 and one of the first iron buildings in Prague. It was inspired by the 1889 Paris World’s Fair, when the Eiffel Tower was built. The small copy of the Eiffel Tower on Petrin Hill was built at the same time. Beautifully filmed in sepia tones, the visual imagery is matched with a lush musical score.  

The film Zlatý Podraz can be found translated many different ways across the internet, including Golden Sting, Golden Ticket, Golden Betrayal, Golden Trick, Golden Joke, and Golden Dirty Trick.

Top Row Left to Right: YMCA Palace, Prague

Bottom Row Left to Right: Plaque at YMCA honoring WWII resistance heroes, Book on which the film is based, the wooden box for prison soil, the Prague Industrial Palace, the location where the film was shot.

Czech Film Night June 11 Operation Anthropoid (2016)

Czech Film Night June 11

Operation Anthropoid (2016)

Operation Anthropoid was the code name for the assassination during World War II of Schutzstaffel (SS)-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office, RSHA), the combined security services of Nazi Germany, and acting Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

Heydrich was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and an important figure in the rise of Adolf Hitler; he was given overall charge of the "Final Solution (Holocaust) to the Jewish question" in Europe. The Czechoslovaks undertook the operation to help confer legitimacy on Edvard Beneš's government-in-exile in London, as well as for retribution for Heydrich's brutally efficient rule.

The operation was carried out by Czechoslovak army-in-exile soldiers in Prague, on 27 May 1942, after preparation by the British Special Operations Executive with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. Wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June 1942. This was the only government-sponsored targeted assassination of a senior Nazi leader during the Second World War. His death led to a wave of reprisals by SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the mass killing of civilians. (Source: Wikipedia)

“Melody George” Pavelka still giving the gift of music

When local radio celebrity George Pavelka stopped by the Czech Heritage Museum recently, he asked if we would be interested in a few record albums. As in vinyl? You bet! His trunk was full of his amazing collection of polka and Czech music on vintage vinyl.

For decades, Mr. Pavelka hosted “Polka Time” and “Czech Melody Hour,” on Sunday mornings at KTEM. It was just one of several side gigs that he worked after his full-time job as a construction supervisor. He also played in his family’s multi-generational band, was the announcer for Temple High School football games and coached T-ball.

Mr. Pavelka’s great-grandfather immigrated from Czechoslovakia at age 12 and brought with him a love of music. He started the Pavelka Orchestra, which became a family legacy. “My great-grandpa started it. He taught my grandpa and in turn, Grandpa taught all his kids. All my aunts played in the band at one time. They all stayed and married my uncles. My great-grandpa had a pretty good education in music. We all read music or played without it. It didn’t make any difference,” said Mr. Pavelka.

The Pavelka family’s music legacy has been celebrated by this Museum for many years.  A 1901 brass tuba, is a featured instrument in our Czech music exhibit. It belonged to his grandfather.

When Mr. Pavelka came back in this week to bring some 8-track and cassette tapes (remember when those were new tech?), he sat down for a video interview.

The Pavelka family published this recording in honor of brothers George Sr. and Bob Pavelka on 8-track media. 

The Pavelka family published this recording in honor of brothers George Sr. and Bob Pavelka on 8-track media. 

Czech Grammar September Mini-Series at the Museum

Czech Grammar  September Mini-Series at the Museum

 Czech Heritage Museum offers Czech grammar mini-series

The Czech Heritage Museum will offer two classes in September focusing on Czech grammar and usage.  These classes will begin at 7 p.m. on September 14 and on September 28 at the Museum, 119 W. French Avenue. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

First Lieutenant Ethan Gleue of Fort Hood will teach declination and the use of the cases, perfective vs. imperfective verbs first. But, if time allows, he will offer help with aby/abychom and other conditionals, the four “fors” of Czech and any other principles the class requests.

A donation of $7 per person is requested with all proceeds supporting upcoming World War I centennial exhibit at the Museum. Sign up by contacting the Czech Heritage Museum at 254-899-2935, or at 


Come sing along with Mark & Helena Greathouse of Portland, Oregon!

"You Do Speak English, Don't You?"
A Cabaret Style Variety Show, suitable for all ages

Mark & Helena tell their love story with lively original compositions, comedy and dance. Photo by Ammon Riley for the  Regal Courier. 

Mark & Helena tell their love story with lively original compositions, comedy and dance. Photo by Ammon Riley for the Regal Courier. 

Date of Event: 3 p.m., Sunday, July 23, 2017

Location: Czech Heritage Museum, 119 W. French Ave., Temple, TX 76501

Donation: $10

Contact: Susan Chandler, or 254-899-2935


Mark & Helena Greathouse of Portland, Oregon will bring live music, comedy and a sing-a-long of Czech and Texas songs to the Czech Heritage Museum for a FUNdraiser at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 23.

Their Texas tour also includes Lyric Theater in Flatonia and the Caldwell Civic Center.

The Greathouses, Mark, a music composer from Oregon, and Helena, a singer/dancer from Czechoslovakia, share the story of how they met in Germany and their life in the US. Mark on accordion and Helena with numerous costume changes bring their story to life through comedy sketches, music and dance. A question-answer session will follow the performance, with Helena sharing what her life was like growing up behind the Iron Curtain and making it to the West. CDs featuring original compositions by Mark and vocal pieces sung by Helena will be available for purchase.

You Do Speak English, Don’t You?

Mark and Helena Greathouse, an international husband and wife musical duo, will present their one-hour performance, “You Do Speak English, Don’t You?”, a family friendly, lively cabaret style variety show.

The core part of the show was first introduced at the 2014 Portland, OR, Fertile Ground Festival of New Works. Since that time they have taken the show on the road into various places in Oregon, which include Beaverton Historical Society, Lincoln City Cultural Center, The Old Church in Portland, Sherwood Community/Senior Center, Twilight Theater in Portland, Hillsboro Artists’ Repertory Theatre, Tigard Public Library, Woodburn Senior Estates Club and the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the incorporation of Scio, Oregon – a town where Czech emigrants arrived in 1898.

The show features Mark’s own songs, as well as several familiar songs and parts of instrumental numbers, all interspersed with short, humorous dialogues highlighting challenges Helena and Mark have experienced in their lives as a Czech-American couple.

Mark’s compositions range from love songs to ragtime. Helena presents a unique blend of expressive dance and song, enhanced by numerous costume changes. Mark accompanies her on the accordion. Mark is a musician/composer from Portland, OR, and Helena is a singer/actor/dancer originally from Prague, Czech Republic.

The show gives the story of how the two met in Europe and eventually married, moved to the U.S. and made their living here. A question and answer session follows the performance, with Helena sharing what her life was like growing behind the Iron Curtain and making it to the West. Mark and Helena have performed for many years in the Northwest as well as in several European countries. Each began performing in their youth, Mark with his dad on stage in Portland, and Helena on Czechoslovak National Radio and TV in Prague.

Their stage name is ‘GREATHOUSE of Music’ and they have a line of CDs. Check out their website at: Mark and Helena are interested in presenting this show in various venues throughout the U.S.

The following is a link to a short, under 5 minutes, demo reel of “You Do Speak English, Don’t You?”:

Another link will take you to a newspaper article, describing the September, 2014 performance for the Beaverton (OR) Historical Society.

Helena & Mark Greathouse can be reached at: 503-968-2364 or by email: or

Enthusiastic museum crowd greets new ambassador

An enthusiastic crowd greeted Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek on Friday at the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple. Visitors drove from Palestine, Austin and surrounding areas to meet the newly-appointed ambassador representing the Czech Republic in Washington D.C. Kmonicek was accompanied by his wife, Indira Gumarova and hosted by Honorary Czech Consul Brian Vanicek and his wife Joan. 

The two wore cowboy hats given to them by Texas Czechs at Sokol Dallas. Reporters from the Temple Daily Telegram newspaper and KWTX Channel 10 news in Waco covered the event. 

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.