Czech Heritage Collection, Oral Histories
Title: Czech Heritage Collection,
Creator: Svoboda, Joseph
boxes (1 linear feet, 1 scrapbook)
Collection Number: MS
0085, Series 8
Language: Czech, English
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guidelines or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.
Preferred Citation: Czech Heritage Collection (MS 0085, Series 8). Archives & Special Collections, University
of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.
Alternative Format: none
Scope and Content:
The materials are one series of 8 total that comprise the Czech Heritage Collection, which
totals 280 boxes (117 linear feet). The oral histories are those completed by Joseph G. Svoboda
between 1975 and 1981 with Czech individuals living in Nebraska. Selected oral histories are
available through Modern Languages and Literatures, Czech Heritage Project.
In addition to the oral histories, the Czech Heritage collection includes approximately 800
stage/theater plays, almanacs published in Bohemia/Czechoslovak, almanacs published in the
United States, pamphlets of Czech and Czechoslovak topices, records of Czech fraternal
organizations, serials published in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia, and serials published outside of
United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History
Series 8: Czech Oral Histories
This series consists of the taped reminiscences of 65 individuals of Czech descent. Joseph
Svoboda conducted most of the oral history interviews between 1975 and 1981. Subjects
described on the tapes include family histories, immigration experiences, and life in Nebraska
from about 1900 to the 1970s. Also included in this series is a scrapbook containing
photographs of various interviewees.
Box 1. Oral histories, cassette 1-26Cassette 1, Zacek, Thomas 1975, Aug. 25, English
Omaha, Nebraska. Family background in Boheia, father to U.S. in 1869, early life in
Nebraska (Cummings County, West Point), education and career.
Cassette 2, Potmesil, Marie 1975, Aug. 30, Czech
Newman Grove, Nebraska. Arrival in Nebraska 1911, husband born in 1875, general
Cassette 2, Weems, J.B. 1975, Sept. 6, Czech
York, Nebraska. Daughter of M. Potmesil, born in 1912 on the farm near Newman Grove
(Madison County), general reminiscences.
Cassette 3, 4, Havlena, Joseph 1975, Sept. 3, Czech
David City, Nebraska. Arrival in Nebraska in 1904, born in Moravia, general reminiscences
of family life.
Cassette 5, Havlova, Emma 1975, Sept. 3, Czech
David City, Nebraska. Born in U.S., general reminiscences of family and life.
6. Cassette 5, Sladky, Josephine, 1975, Sept. 17, Czech
David City, Nebraska. Born near Klatovy (nee Reznicek), came to US in 1909 at age 13,
parents first settled in Dawson County, married 1918, rented farm then in Saunders County, 2
miles from Prague, general reminiscence.
Cassette 6, 7, Klima, Joseph, 1975, Sept. 10, Czech
Milligan, Nebraska. General reminiscences and Czech life in Milligan.
8. Cassette 8, Svoboda, Phillip, 1975, Sept. 13, English
Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in U.S., personal reminiscences, Gage County.
Cassette 9, Masek, Josephine 1975, Sept. 17, Czech
David City, Nebraska. Born at Obratan (near Tabor), last name prior to marriage was Fucik, to the U.S. in 1909, married
age 19, rented farm 5 miles from David City.
Cassette 10, 11, Petracek, Lud 1975, Oct. 15, English
Bridgeton, Missouri. Reminiscences of Czech community life in Milligan until 1912,
reflections of the past and future of Americans of Czech descent.
Cassette 11, Skocpol, Lad 1975, Oct. 21, English
Crete, Nebraska. Family background, grandparents arrived in Wisconsin in 1855, move to
Wilber in early 1860's.
Cassette 12, 13, Skocpol, Mrs. Lad, 1975, Oct. 21, English
Crete, Nebraska. Family background, Grandfather Francis J. Sadiled, mother Dr. Olga
Stastny, reminiscences of her grandfather and mother, views on Czech life in Wilber, episode
relating to Willa Cather (tape 13 side 1).
Cassette 14, Novotny, Julia 1975, Oct. 28, English
Schuyler, Nebraska. General reminiscences and story of Czech life in Schuyler.
Cassette, 15, 16, 17, Vodehnal, Josef, 1975, Oct. 28, Czech
Clarkson, Nebraska. Came to U.S. in 1908, recalled experiences of Bohemia, WWI Army 1918,
wounded twice, reminiscences of Czech life near Clarkson, general reminiscences.
Cassette 18, Kupka, Helen Sysel, 1975, Oct. 31, Czech
Crete, Nebraska. Born in U.S., personal and general reminiscences of Czech life in
Crete. Married Anton Kupdka.
Cassette 19, Skalak, Joseph, 1975, Nov. 5, Czech
Humboldt, Nebraska. Grandparents came to farm near Humboldt in 1865, reminiscences of
school days and Czech community in Humboldt.
Cassette 20, Herbrich, Marie Beznoska, 1975, Nov. 7, Czech
Schuyler, Nebraska. Age 82, born in Kladno, arrived in U.S. in 1908 at age 15,
reminiscences on years in Bohemia, travel to U.S. and early years in Schuyler.
Cassette 21, 22, Mize, Vlasta Sterba, 1975, Nov. 7, English
David City, Nebraska. Age 83. born in Omaha, studied at University of Nebraska 1919,
marriage in 1919, lived in David City, married Frank Mize, reminiscences on her father and immigrant from
Bohemia, Czech life in Omaha, her university years and afterwards.
Cassette 23, Pospichal, Blanka 1975, Nov. 14, Czech
Clarkson, Nebraska. Born in 1905 in Pribram, Bohemia, came to Nebraska in 1923 at age 18,
reminiscences of Bohemia, especially during the WWI and after 1918, involvement in Clarkson
as volunteer theatre actress in Czech plays, teaching Czech classes in Clarkson.
Cassette 24, Pospichal, John, 1975, Nov. 14, Czech
Clarkson, Nebraska. About his family and early experiences on the farm.
Cassette 25, Belsan, Alois 1975, Nov. 18, Czech
Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia, came to U.S. in 1904 at age 15. worked in coal mines in
Pennsylvania (Loyal Hanna), general reminiscences of Pennsylvania and Nebraska, including
Crete, Bee, and Havelock.
Cassette 26, 27, Adamek, Anton, 1975, Nov. 19, Czech, English
Ord, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia, came to U.S. in 1884 with parents, settled in Valley Co. 19
miles from Ord, general reminiscences of sod house days, country school blizzard
(particularly in 1888), social life of Czech around Ord and Clarkson, viewpoints on Czech
tradition, moved to Clarkson 1913-1918.
Box 2. Oral histories, cassette 28-49Cassette 28, Truhlar, James 1975, Dec. 4, 1976, Jan. 21, Czech
Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia (1895) near Vysoke Myto, personal reminiscences after
his arrival to the U.S. in 1921 at age 26, contributions to Czech periodical Hospodar published in Texas.
Cassette 29, Tesar, Lad 1976, Jan. 8, English
Omaha, Nebraska. General recollections of personal and Czech life in Omaha, born in 1897
near Chotebor in Bohemia, Father Vaclav came to U.S. in 1902, family including Lad, age 6,
followed in 1903, member of State Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate) in late
Cassette 30, 31, Piskac, Antonin, 1976, Jan. 15, Czech
Omaha, Nebraska. Reminiscences of living in Chotebor (Bohemia) lived until age 17, left in 1907
with mother and sisters and brothers to join father, first to Beatrice, then later to Omaha
where linotype operator for Osveta, in 1930 bought printer shop
and became editor and publisher of Hospodar until 1960,
reminiscence of Czech life in Omaha, newspapers published in his time and some personalities,
views on Czech life today.
Cassette 32, Slapnicka, Mafka, 1976, Jan. 20, Czech
Wilber, Nebraska. Family background in Bohemia, born in Humpolec in 1896, arrived in Wilber
in 1922, reminiscences on Bohemia, activities in the Czech community in Wilber. Married James Slapnicka.
Cassette 32, 33, Kostka, Alice, 1976, Jan. 20, Czech
Wilber, Nebraska. Reminiscences of life in Bohemia, born in 1900 in southern Moravia,
arrived in Wilber in 1922, life in Wilber, Omaha, Chicago and back in Wilber in 1929, active
in Sokol and dramatic club.
Cassette 34, Splichal, Mrs. Alois 1976, Mar. 7, Czech
Lincoln, Nebraska. Reminiscences of childhood in Bohemia, born 1889 near Vysoke Myto,
arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1907, spent some time in Texas, then moved to Dodge, later
Bancroft to run a bakery, later in show business (movies) in Iowa, married 1915.
Cassette 35, 36, Rut, Frank, 1976, Mar. 16, Czech
Tobias, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences, born 1883 at Bezdekov (county Blatna) in southern
Bohemia, learned shoemaking business, came to U.S. in 1901.
Cassette 37, Prazak, Mrs. Anton 1976, Apr. 5, Czech
Lincoln, Nebraska. Reminiscences on parents born in Bohemia, Czech customs, festivals in
Saline County, including Dorchester, Wilber, Swanton, sings three Czech folksongs taught to
her by her mother, nee Hromas, born in 1898 at Dwight, NE in Butler County.
Cassette 38, Safarik, Josef 1976, Apr. 6, English
Murray, Nebraska. Reminiscences of grandparents who settled in Howard Co. in 1876, and his
parents. Accounts of their stories from Bohemia and early years homesteading, Czech life,
church in Warsaw, Festivals. Personal story– served in U.S. army in France in 1918;
married in 1919, farmed in Kansas, then moved to Cass Co. near present location in about
Cassette 39, Rejda, Mrs. Rudolph 1976, Apr. 10, Czech, English
Dwight, Nebraska. Age 69. Born in 1907 at Loucky near Brno, Moravia. Reminiscences of ages
2 through 5 in Bohemia. Left in 1912, Father left in 1911. School in Omaha, learning English
there. Married in 1927. Reminiscences of WWI in Omaha, life in Dwight, social, dances, etc.
Cassette 40, 41, Horka, Barbara 1976, Apr. 14, Czech, English
Burwell, Nebraska. Various reminiscences and views. First settled in Saunders Co. when
coming to the US in 1880. Born in 1874 near Pilsen. Recollections of 1888 blizzards. Nee
Cassette 42, Mathauser, Emma 1976, Apr. 14, Czech, English.
Burwell, Nebraska. Born 1897 in Valley County. Married in 1917. Parents came to US in 1875
and 1876 (to Chicago). Nee Rousek.
Cassette 43, Dvorak, Barbara 1976, Apr. 15, Czech, English
Atkinson, Nebraska. Born 1888. Came to US when 16 years old. Married 1908. General
Cassette 44, Fanta, Maria Sadlak, 1976, Apr. 15, Czech
St. Paul, Nebraska. Reminiscences of farming life in Nebraska. Born in Moravia, arrived in
US at age 22.
Cassette 45, Vogeltanz, Caroline Hain, 1976, Apr. 20, Czech
Dwight, Nebraska. Born 1888 in Rouchovary near Brno, Moravia, came to U.S. in 1894. Married
1910. General reminiscence and reflection of life in and near Dwight.
Cassette 46, 47, 48, Kulhanek, Matilda, 1976, Apr. 22, Czech
David City, Nebraska. Reminiscences on life in native country. Born in Rouchovany, Trebic,
Moravia. Married 1912. Came to US in 1913. Husband died in 1943.
Cassette 49, Severyn, Mr. & Mrs. Jerry, 1976, May 4, English
Schuyler, Nebraska. Family reminiscences and Czech life in Schuyler. Parents of both came
in 1870's from Moravia. Married in 1922, name prior to marriage was Chrastil. Colfax County Clerk for about 20
Box 3. Oral histories, cassette 50-75Cassette 50, Vlasak, Frank 1976, May 4, Czech, English
North Bend, Nebraska. Personal and family reminiscences particularly on Czech life in Morse
Bluff. Activity of ZCBJ of which he has been active since 1951. Presently national director.
Future of Czech heritage in Nebraska.
Cassette 51, Klasna, Louis 1976, May 13, English
Lincoln, Nebraska (lives in Spencer). Parents came to US in 1890. Married in 1891. Louis
born in 1911. Born near Spencer, Nebraska Came in 1894 to Boyd County. Youngest of 10
children. Czech life in Boyd County, general reminiscences.
Cassette 52, 53, Pesek, John, 1976, May 20, English
Ravenna, Nebraska. Reminiscences of wrestling career. Was world champion in 1937. Lud
Petracek participated in the conversation on tape 2.
Cassette 54, Propok, Joseph, Mrs. Prokop, 1976, May 27, Czech
Wilber, Nebraska. Recollections of parents; life in Nance County (farm) and in Wilber.
Cassette 55, 56, Vertiska, Rudy 1976, June 22, English
Humboldt, Nebraska. Born in 1908 in Humboldt. Reminiscence on his family (parents,
grandparents) Czech life in Humboldt, his participation in Vacek's band and University of
Cassette 57, 58, Klasek, Bernard, 1976, July 15, English
Born in 1905 near Wilber (farm). Reminiscences and reflections on Czech life in Wilber, the
Cassette 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, Sklenicka, Joseph 1977, Mar. 18, 1977, Apr. 29, Czech
Omaha, Nebraska. Reminiscences of his days during WWI in the Russian front in the Austrian
army; his being taken prisoner by the Russian; and eventually taking part of the Czech legion
anabasis to Vladivostok and back to Bohemia in 1920 via Japan, Indian Ocean and Suez
Canal. Born 1894 at Rozdelov (nr. Kladno), Bohemia; early life there, his parents
school apprentice carpenter; drafted into Austrian army in 1914; older brother emigrates to
America; transfer from Serbian front to Dukla Pass in Slovakia; taken
prisoner by Russians in March 1915; experiences as prisoner of war. Czechoslovak Legion in 1917; fighting the Communists along the
Transsiberian route to Vladivostok. Reaching there in July 1920; return to Czechoslovakia via Japan,
Singapore, Suez, Terst; leaves to US several weeks later; life in Omaha; freethinkers'
Cassette 65, Baren, Joseph, 1977, May 19, Czech, English
Brainard, Nebraska. Born in 1894 at Chilum (north of Prague); 1912 drafted in Austrian
Army; deserted in 1914 near Premysl to Russian forces, worked on farm in Ukraine until end of
war; transport to Vladivostok, then via Shanghai, Hawaii, San Diego, New York, France,
Czechoslovakia. Immigrated in 1919 to US; experiences in Butler Co.
Cassette 66, 67, Buresh, Charles, 1977, June 2, Czech
Omaha, Nebraska. Born in 1892 in South Omaha; Parents came to US at different times ca
1880; Reminiscences on Czech community life in Omaha early 1900's.
Cassette 68, Pavlik, Ed 1977, June 10, Czech
Verdigre, Nebraska. Born in 1902 near Verdigre; 3rd generation; grandparents came from
Bohemia in 1860's; personal reminiscences and life of Czechs in and around Verdigre Knox
Cassette 69, Krbel, Edward & Tracy Ruzicka, 1977, June 10, Czech
Spencer, Nebraska. Second generation; Father came to US in 1881 from Bohemia (Hluboka) at
the age of six (Husband and wife)
Cassette 70, Masek, Jaroslav & Rosalie Bartos, 1977, June 10, Czech
Spencer, Nebraska. Parents came to US in 1906; personal reminiscences and life in the
Cassette 70, Placek, Ludwig 1977, June 10, Czech
Spencer, Nebraska. Second generation; born 1896 near Lynch (Boyd County); parents came in
1885 from Bohemia; personal reminiscences.
Cassette 71, Klasna, Sylvia, 1977, June 10, Czech, English
Spencer, Nebraska. Father came to US in 1881.
Cassette 72, Zidko, Charles & Emily Malek, 1977, June 11, Czech
Spencer, Nebraska. Came to US with parents in 1901 (born in Podebrady near Havlickuv Brod)
Cassette 73, 74, 75, Novacek, Edward, 1978, Apr. 23, 1978, May 22, English
Wauneta, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences of his parent who came to Chase & Hayes
Counties from Bohemia in 1892 and his recollections of his early years. Wauneta, Nebraska. Born in 1897-14 miles east of Wauneta on a farm. Parents immigrated from
Bohemia in 1892. Joseph (father) died in 1901 and mother Frances (remarried Ludwik Osmera).
Box 4. Oral histories, cassette 76-81Cassette 76, Kriz, Tony, 1978, June 15, English
Cambridge, Nebraska. Born 1881. Reminiscences of early life in Nebraska and Kansas.
Cassette 77, Jones, Mary, 1978, Dec. 16, Czech
Wahoo, Nebraska. Born 1888 near Trebic in Moravia. Arrived in US in 1906. Personal
Casssette 78, Gray, Rose 1978, Sept. 1, English
Lincoln, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences, both in Bohemia and U.S., born Bohemia, Rose
Cassette 79, 80, Motacek, KatherineCzech
Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Born in 1881 in Bohemia, arrived in Ellis Island when 6 weeks old
with her mother, personal reminiscences.
Cassettes, Giazburg, Alexander 1979, Nov. 7 (RESTRICTED)