Chicago Tribune -- February 09, 1880In Memory of John Huss
In commemoration of John Huss, the great Bohemian, who had been burnt at the stake in the market place of the city of Constance for raising his voice against the corruption of the Popes and their clergy, there is a movement of many thousands of Bohemians. But the movement is not confined to Bohemia.
As the Hussites of old left the confines of Bohemia and roamed all through the German Empire, so the modern Hussites have wandered far from home and found that freedom for which their brethren are struggling for in Bohemia, by becoming denizens and citizens of the United States. Here in Chicago 50,000 of them have found homes, and are fast acquiring American manners and language and good American dollars and neat homes. They are an industrious, thrifty people, clinging somewhat tenaciously to the customs and traditions of old Bohmeia, but nevertheless entering heart and soul into American citizenship.
And here on the banks of Lake Michigan they now propose to commemorate in bronze the scene enacted on the banks of the Badensee four centuries ago. They will erect a monument to John Huss if they can get the permission of the West Park Board to place it in Douglas Park. They argue that monuments have been placed in other parks and 2that so far from disfiguring they have improved the appearance of the parks. If the Germans could erect a statue to Schiller, why should not the Bohemians be given place to build a monument to Huss? Douglas Park is near the Bohemian settlement in the city and is used by them more than any other park.
Although there are not many wealthy men among them they mean to raise the money required for a fine monument by subscription. It is to be no less than $15,000. If possible the monument in Chicago will be a copy of the principal statue, at least of the Prague monument, of which a model is expected to arrive in this city within a few weeks.
The project for the monument in Chicago was conceived by J. V. Matejka, a Bohemian editor of this city. He spoke to a number of prominent men of his nationality, who constituted themselves a temporary committee and issued invitations to all the Bohemian national societies in Chicago to take part in the movement. The plan was received with much favor. There was considerable excitement among the Bohemians owing to the agitation in the "old country" and their patriotism was aroused by the contemptuous remarks of the men in place and power in Bohemia.3
Their sturdy Protestant spirit, fostered and developed by the atmosphere of the United States, had grown into a strong democratic feeling that rebelled against the presumption of the princes in the fatherland. Hence the various societies responded to the call with alacrity. Delegates were elected who will meet in the near future to discuss the particulars of the project.
The Bohemian societies in the city are quite numerous and they have all given assurance of support. There are six Bohemian turning or gymnastic societies with a membership of about eight hundred.
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