SVU Memory Project

The year 2018 is an important year for all Czechs and Slovaks around the world. Not only is it the anniversary of Czechs and Slovaks declaring their independence in October 1918 from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is also the 50th anniversary of the Prague Spring (1968). For its part, in the commemoration of these two important dates, the Czechoslovak Society for the Arts and Sciences (SVU) has decided to initiate a memory project.

The memory project’s objective is to give Edmontonians – and in fact Albertans - of Czech and Slovak origin an opportunity to tell their stories about coming to this country, not only as a consequence of the political realities in their homeland but for any reasons or circumstances. The SVU invites you to write about your family history, why you chose to move here, your early life and experiences here, your impressions of this new place and anything else that relates to your settling in Edmonton and/or Alberta and/or Canada. If possible, you are invited to include photographs that would enrich your story. These personal histories need not be long, as a possible “soft” guideline, about 5000 words could be suggested. The contributions should be submitted as a text document (e.g. in Microsoft Word) before December 31, 2018 if at all possible.

The SVU has prepared a guideline document to assist you in your writing, it can be found at the bottom of this site. Treat it as SET OF SUGGESTIONS, RATHER than as a rigid template, and don’t be frightened by its length! Hopefully it will be useful in helping you to assemble your thoughts prior to writing your story. As examples of what such narratives can look like, Paul Jelen and Mirek Hruska have used the guideline (they both found it VERY USEFUL) and have prepared their own family histories, which are very different from one another but can still be used as examples. Both Mirek and Pavel will be pleased for their histories to be used as examples in your writing.

Please be as factual as you can, but keep in mind that no one has a perfect recall. What is important is that your story is recorded and that the contributions of Czechs and Slovaks to the growth and diversity of this country be available to future generations. The writing should not contain overly negative comments on the - no matter how unsavoury - past, nor should it indulge in “settling of personal accounts”.

The SVU plans to assemble these stories into a bound book as part of the SVU contributions to the commemorations of 2018. We intend that each contributor receives a copy.

Family History Writing Guide

Sample: The Jelen story

Sample: Mirek Hruška - How I came to Canada