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Hello, hello!

As you can see we had a great time this weekend performing in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles.  It was great playing with Luques Curtis, JD Allen and Rudy Royston again – the music from Chalkboard Destiny really comes “alive” in a performance.  As usual, JD was his volcanic self – he really is a master isn’t he?  Rudy is Mr. Detail – captivating an audience with a single tap on his drum.  And Luques is everything you would want in a bassist!  Wonderful audiences too!  Lisa
The Letter to the Jazz Section
Visiting the Museum?

Pass: $200

 Pavel Kosar – RADIO HORTUS – Czech Republic NYC  News

Yesterday in New York          

Alicia Dunnigam


visit the museum

thursday – monday 11am – 5pm

58 West 129th Street
New York, NY 10027

(212) 348-8300





President Václav Havel in Jazz Section, Prague


Upcoming Events The International Jazz Museum In Harlem – NYC

Contribution to the Colloquium on the Jazz Section

at the Centre for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes of the Czech Republic, 21 September 2016

The British Philosophers and the Czech Jazzmen

Barbara Day

How did an organisation devoted to the teaching of philosophy become involved in a campaign to prove the innocence of a group of “jazzmen” in Communist Czechoslovakia?

First, what was and is the Jan Hus Educational Foundation? Its origins go back to 1979, when the philosophers of Oxford University received an invitation from the Prague-based philosopher Julius Tomin to teach at his home seminars. They accepted his offer, and began to visit not only Tomin’s seminar but others too. A charitable trust was set up, the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, its name referring to the link between Jan Hus and John Wycliffe, and thus Balliol College, Oxford. It was not a human rights organisation, nor was it set up to alleviate hardship, nor was it religious; its purpose was to promote academic freedom and independent learning and its modest funds were earmarked for stipends for organisers of seminars and research workers, travel costs for lecturers, and books and other materials for the seminars and the samizdat press.

Nevertheless, the Jazz Section was already on the Foundation’s agenda when I became its secretary in 1985. The Jan Hus Educational Foundation maintained long-term contact with representatives of the Jazz Section such as Petr Oslzlý in Brno, and the philosopher Petr Rezek and translator Jaroslav Kořán in Prague. It understood the importance of the activity of the Jazz Section in the field of the “unofficial” culture, whereby the Jazz Section gave young people the courage to think and act independently and enabled them to keep up with contemporary currents in art, music and theatre. The publishing programme of the Jazz Section, including Případ Wagner (The Wagner Case), Hudba Terezínského ghetta (Music in the Terezín Ghettto) and Bohumil Hrabal’s novel Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (I Served the King of England) also made an impression on the Foundation. Meanwhile, the quality of the bulletin had rapidly professionalized both in presentation and content, and Skalník and Srp were preparing further publications: Situace, a series in A4 format about contemporary Czech artists; and Jazzpetit, an imprint which over the years published titles on a range of subjects not covered by the official press – Surrealism, Dada, minimalist art, the Living Theatre, a rock encyclopedia and a novel by Bohumil Hrabal which had previously only appeared in samizdat.

The key enthusiast for its work was a relatively new trustee pf the Foundation, the artist and writer Jessica Douglas-Home (nee Gwynne). Her husband, Charles Douglas-Home, Editor-in-Chief of the leading British newspaper, The Times, was already suffering from his final illness. He died at the end of October 1985, as the crisis over the Jazz Section was intensifying. Nevertheless, he had ensured that The Times devoted more space to the Jazz Section than any other Western newspaper. Jessica Douglas-Home’s first visit to Czechoslovakia had been in 1983, after she had been co-opted into the Jan Hus Educational Foundation by the energetic philosopher Roger Scruton, one of the co-founders of the Foundation. As wife of the editor of The Times, she had access to leading politicians and journalists, not only in Britain.1 She was also able to raise funds for the work, insisting that in the totalitarian bloc it was not only independent education in the humanities that needed support, but also access to new developments in the arts. In this she was encouraged by the leader of the Foundation’s newest underground seminar, in Brno, Petr Oslzlý, dramaturge of the Theatre on a String. The seminar was planned for people who were not from a “dissident” background, but were interested in discussing concepts and materials at that time not easily available, in various fields but with the underlying theme of ethics. From 1984 to November 1989 the British Jan Hus Foundation sent twenty-eight lecturers to Brno, who in the course of forty visits held sixty-two seminars at the Oslzlý home. Petr and his wife Eva estimate that the number of attendees sometimes reached fifty.

 Barbara Day (left), Marta Chadimova : Jazz Section,November 2018

Petr Oslzlý introduced Douglas-Home to the leader of the Jazz Section Karel Srp on 1 Oct. 1985, during her visit to Prague. A few months earlier Scruton had been expelled from Czechoslovakia after being detained in Brno, where he had been visiting Jiří Müller – to discuss, among other things, the Jazz Section. After his expulsion, Douglas-Home took over much of the agenda. At her three-hour meeting with Srp she agreed to try to arrange for a talk on the Jazz Section before Jiří Stivín’s concert in Bristol later that month; promised that the Foundation would help the families if the committee members were jailed; and said they would try to obtain membership of the International Bar Association for the lawyer advising the families, Dr Josef Průša.

Shortly after her return to London, Douglas-Home briefed the Conservative Member of Parliament, Norman St John Stevas. In autumn 1985 Norman St. John Stevas attended the Budapest Cultural Forum (part of the follow-up to the Conference on European Security and Co-operation, with the job of discussing the cultural aspects in the context of the Helsinki conference covering human contacts and exchanges) as leader of the British delegation. “If Czechoslovakia continued to persecute the Section, surely it could no longer be considered a signatory in good faith and should forfeit cultural ties with the West.”2 In Budapest, St John Stevas stunned the Czechoslovak delegation with his knowledge of the Jazz Section, and a report apppeared in Britain in The Times. Karel Srp, with the help of the American Embassy, had been present in Budapest to enjoy their discomfiture. Returning through Prague, St John Stevas was present at a meeting with the Jazz Section committee arranged in the magnificent art deco Municipal House by the British Embassy (a meeting also reported in The Times). St John Stevas recommended Douglas-Home to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and she remained in contact throughout this period, regularly meeting successive Ministers of State (Malcolm Rifkind, Tim Renton) and civil servants, pressing them to take more assertive action. The following September, shortly after Srp’s arrest, David Mellor (as Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) again raised the question of the Jazz Section at the CSCE Vienna follow-up meeting.

Another matter of urgent concern was the Jazz Section’s membership, of some years standing, in the International Jazz Federation, since the Czechoslovak Ministry of Culture was putting pressure on the I.J.F. to disown the Jazz Section. In 1985 the president of the International Jazz Federation, Charles Alexander, seemed likely to capitulate to the Ministry, arguing that if he tried to help the Jazz Section, it would do damage to artists in other Communist countries. He agreed to attend the Bristol Czech Fest in October that year and gave a talk to the audience before Jiří Stivín’s concert in the Arnolfini Gallery – but refused to mention the Jazz Section on the grounds that he might compromise Stivín. However, contact had now been made and a meeting was held to ensure his commitment to the Jazz Section. On 24 February 1986, in an note smuggled out of the country, Jiří Müller wrote to Douglas-Home: “When the official Czechoslovak delegate has recently returned from the last session of European Jazz Union3 in Warsaw, our minister of culture dr. Klusák invited him and told: ‘I have the only question for you. What is about Jazz Section?’ The delegate answered, that the Jazz Section membership in European Jazz Union was acknowledged. Our minister reacted upon it with peak indignation: ‘How is it possible, when everything has been arranged, so that the membership would be canceled?’ Yes. How is it possible? Yours, J.4

The Foundation was aware that, as in the case of the Theatre on a String, media coverage was vital, and worked to place articles in the western press. One of the first was “Hipness at Noon” by Josef Skvorecky,5 novelist, publisher and member of the Canadian Jan Hus Fund/ Le Fond Jan Hus.6 In October 1985, to coincide with the Budapest Cultural Forum and Jiří Stivín’s concert at the Bristol Czech Fest, the free-lance writer Christine Verity (wife of the historian Norman Stone) using information provided by the Foundation wrote about the Jazz Section for The Times. In a postscript to the message above, Müller wrote that her article was so good it was used by the Jazz Section as a source of information for foreigners. The Times kept up the pressure with a leader four days later, “Freedom via Culture”, which spoke of “the massacre of Czech and Slovak culture since 1968” and, in February 1986, another long article by the foreign correspondent Richard Bassett which concluded: “While [the Jazz Section] may be tolerated by the moderates at the Foreign Ministry anxious to improve their country’s image abroad, the hardliners, of whom there are many in the Ministry of Culture are likely to step up their efforts to silence its exuberant strains.”

After the arrests in September 1986, one of the first articles to appear was my own, in the periodical The Spectator.7 Two days later a leader, “In a Faraway Country”, appeared in The Times. However, the most disturbing article for the Czechoslovak secret police was by Roger Scruton, published in The Times of 3 Dec; coincidentally on the same day as an article in the International Herald Tribune by its jazz correspondent Mike Zwerin.8 The secret police worried whether Scruton could have obtained his “perfect information” from the same source as that mentioned in Zwerin’s article: “A former member of the section…. travelling around Western Europe with a thick dossier including historical data, press clippings and copies of letters….” and made a note to track down this (possibly fictional) Czech tourist. It crosses their mind that Scruton might just possibly have his own underground channel of communication. A few days later, Norman Podhoretz, “who had finally summoned up the courage to get to Prague and had been much affected by his meetings with [the political scientist Pavel] Bratinka”,9 wrote an emotionally charged piece for the New York Post.10 Josef Skvorecky, passing through London in October 1986, was updated by the British JHEF on the latest developments and in 1987 wrote “Hipness at Dusk” for Cross Currents. (He later published Jazz Section materials in Canada.) In February 1987 the Canadian radio journalist Nancy Durham11 travelled to Brno and Prague, ostensibly to report on Czech culture, but in reality to make a programme about the Jazz Section. “Czech Jazz” was broadcast on CBC two days before the Jazz Section trial. A March 1987 report for the trustees recorded the number of articles, letters, leaders, news items, programmes and publicity placed by the Foundation. The Musicians’ Petition, spontaneously created a new wave of media interest.

The Musicians’ Petition was the brainchild of another JHEF trustee, the British composer David Matthews, who had become involved in the support of the Jazz Section. He had originally visited the Brno seminar in January 1986 with a view to establishing a programme of seminars about and for musicians, at the same time leading a seminar on Mahler’s 10th Symphony. In October the same year, a month after the arrests, he attended the Brno International Music Festival.12 He was accompanied by the composer Nigel Osborne and, in long talks with Petr Oslzlý, they decided that their best method of support was a petition on behalf of British musicians. (Osborne recommended that similar initiatives should be taken in the worlds of theatre and literature.) They agreed that the petition should be addressed to President Gustáv Husák and courteously worded, drawing attention only to “a fundamental misunderstanding of the role played by the Jazz Section of the Musicians’ Union, whose activities have brought such liveliness and inspiration to the Czech cultural scene and helped make it an object of admiration throughout the world”.13 During October, November and December, Matthews and Osborne worked feverishly to collect sixty signatures, including those of Sir Colin Davis, Bob Geldof, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Simon Rattle, Sir Michael Tippett, Pete Townshend and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Matthews’ own signature did not appear; there was the risk he might already be known to be associated with the Jan Hus Foundation, and that the action could be traced back to Petr Oslzlý. Donald Mitchell, President of The Britten-Pears Foundation, agreed to head the Petition, and at the end of December 1986 presented the letter with the sixty signatures to the Czechoslovak Embassy at Notting Hill Gate with a request that it be delivered to President Gustáv Husák.14 A few days later a copy of the Petition appeared as an advertisement in The Times. Charles Alexander, Norman St John Stevas, Kingsley Amis and Tom Stoppard (a trustee of the Foundation from the beginning) had earlier signed a joint letter to The Times, urging “Her Majesty’s Government to bring pressure to bear on the Czech authorities, whose action has violated the spirit and the letter of the Helsinki accords”.15 In February 1987 Kingsley Amis with Iris Murdoch (also a trustee of the Foundation), Malcolm Bradbury, Seamus Heaney, Graham Greene and ten other writers published a letter calling for the charges against the Jazz Section to be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, as Douglas-Home had promised Srp at their meeting in October 1985, help was being sought for the legal aspects of the case. Scruton wrote to Müller: “We have arranged for a lawyer to come to Prague on the weekend of the 24 [October 1986] to visit Dr Průša.16 He is not an expert in Czech property law (who is?) – but he is an enthusiastic advocate of human rights, and an influential person. His name is Geoffrey Robertson. He will bring with him money (5 x 150 pounds) for the families of those in prison, as suggested. Where should he meet Dr P? If you do not say anything to the contrary, we will assume that he should simply go to Dr P’s house on arrival. Meanwhile, we should like a curriculum vitae for Dr P, and as much information as possible, concerning his recent dismissal from the Czech Society of Lawyers, etc. The Swiss institution for the independence of lawyers is interested in his case.”17

Geoffrey Robertson was already one of the most famous human rights lawyers in the West, having acted as defence counsel in some dramatic trials. In 1988, as lawyer for Salman Rushdie, he was threatened by Muslim terrorists. On 24 October 1986 Robertson travelled to Prague, where his guide was the translator and Jazz Section member Jaroslav Kořán. In the course of the weekend he met, as well as Dr. Průša, Václav Havel (who advised on tactics); Rostislava Křivánková (wife of one of the imprisoned); and several Jazz Section members. Robertson analysed the case being brought against the seven men, their defence tactics, and the opportunities that could be used in publicising the case. “It is also important,” he wrote “that ‘official guests’ from Britain take the opportunity to raise the issue. A vital opportunity was lost last weekend when jazz bands from the U.S. and Britain… failed to dedicate songs to the defendants. I suspect they were dissuaded by Western diplomats, ignorant of how significant such messages would be for the local audience.”18 He considered the role of Charles Alexander and the IJF to be crucial to the defence strategy.

Through all of this, it was imperative that accurate and up-to-date information be kept flowing. Use of the telephone was ruled out on security grounds (as email would have been if it had existed). A letter sent to me through the regular post from a Jazz Section member surfaced years later in the files of the secret police. The only possibilities were coded messages and personal conversations, and the JHEF network was used to its utmost. Virtually every JHEF lecturer was assigned tasks to carry out for the Jazz Section. During my own visit in August 1986, Srp told me (inter alia) that the most important assistance for the future would be a safe channel of communication. Other important messages at that critical time were taken and brought back in September by the courier Oriana Stock, in October by the philosopher Ralph Walker, and in November by the ecologist Tom Burke. At the end of November, the philosopher John Rose, lecturing for the Foundation at Ladislav Hejdánek and Pavel Bratinka’s seminars, was briefed to meet Rostislava Křivánková. He memorised her report, including the information that the prisoners “were being held on the 3rd floor, where opportunities for mixing are more restricted and conditions generally harsher than in the rest of the prison; wives are denied access; the prosecution can veto any letters sent in; in any case, only 4 pages a fortnight are allowed; it is about a month before replies to letters are received; some have been questioned for as much as 17 hours without interruption; one of them suffers from a heart condition and, although medicines have been sent, they have not been received.”19

Douglas-Home visited Czechoslovakia again in January 1987, mainly to give a talk on art to the Brno seminar. In Prague, among other things, she delivered the money allocated to the families of the imprisoned jazzmen. She had a long meeting with Jiří Exner, briefing him on progress in London (including a meeting with Tim Renton, Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office). Much of the conversation centred on the practical details of setting up a “virtual office” for the Jazz Section, with a working committee and patrons, including Nigel Osborne. It would be inaugurated with a letter from the IJF, and a PO Box number and bank account number would be obtained. However, the name of the Foundation, as well as those of Scruton, Douglas-Home and Matthews, were to be kept out of it.

On her return, Douglas-Home called a meeting with Scruton, Alexander and Osborne, joined by Zina Freundová and Zuzana Princová. Princová, in the 1960s active on Prague’s small stages but currently a journalist with the journal The Economist, had been particularly active in the cause of the Jazz Section and initiated a number of actions independently. They suspected that the continued delay in setting a date for the trial meant that the Czechoslovak authorities wanted to be sure of their case. They resolved to form the “Friends of the Jazz Section” and to initiate a programme of activities in support of its defence. One of the decisions was to ask Robertson to make a second visit to Prague.

Robertson visited for a second time in February 1987; on his return, he wrote: “The most vital matter is to consider sending observers to the trial, which begins on 10 March and will last at least 3 days. Havel suggests, accurately in my view, that we should try to send one of the signatories to the musicians’ protest, which made a big impact. Geldof would be marvellous… We should also consider an eminent lawyer… Could you make sure Amnesty is sending someone?… Charles Alexander is vital. He is going to Czechoslovakia soon in any event, but it would be great if he could attend the trial. Srp’s lawyer says he would try to call him to give evidence, but in any event a notarised statement from him would be acceptable. The handwritten note I enclose has been prepared by Exner, who has an identical copy. It sets out 5 alternative train itineraries from German cities – he would like Charles to select one, and he will meet him on the selected train. He fears that Charles will be too closely watched for them to meet in any other circumstances. I enclose copies of 3 recent court judgements, together with Exner’s summary of events to date and a note about the next case they are going to bring, accusing high party officials of a conspiracy to deprive Srp of his job as publicity officer at a State publishing house.”20

Within the next few days the Foundation arranged travel for Alexander (whom Robertson briefed on the legal aspects of the case), and, to represent the Musicians’ Petition, Nigel Osborne and Michael Berkeley (another leading British composer and participant in the Brno seminar). They were met (in the event, at the airport) by Exner and driven straight to the District Court, where Douglas-Home had arranged through the British Embassy for Alexander to be one of only four westerners to be admitted to the trial. Osborne and Berkeley joined the crowd of around fifty which filled the corridor outside – among them were journalists from The Times, The Observer, the BBC, the Voice of America and other western media, together with Jazz Section members and supporters. On 15 March, Alexander sent a five-page report to Douglas-Home, for circulation within the Foundation. The first two pages consisted of a detailed account of the trial, followed by information from a discussion between himself, Exner, Průša, and the defending lawyer, Otakar Motejl. Page three reported on an unofficial press conference attended by about 40 people, at which the speakers were Exner, Cestmir Hunat, Joska Skalnik, Berkeley, Osborne and himself. This was followed by an account of a conversation between himself and the chairman of the “other” jazz organisation affiliated to the IJF, the Czech Jazz Society. The letter wound up with a note of his interviews for the Western media and his recommendations for the future. Alexander’s exchange of letters in June 1987 with a visibly wounded Ministry of Culture (represented by Josef Trnka, Director of the Institute for Culture and Education) confirmed his commitment to the Jazz Section.

Once the Committee had been released and it seemed that the Jazz Section would continue in some form, the JHEF and the Friends were eager to take advantage of the awareness and goodwill generated in the West. But as contradictory information regarding future plans emerged, this became more difficult. By early 1988 it was clear that the old Jazz Section was dividing into two entities. It was not appropriate for the JHEF to take sides, so for the time being it devoted resources to assisting both offices with the provision of equipment (computers, printers, photocopiers). At the same time, trustees began to feel that it was time to reroute the energy that was being expended on the Jazz Section, and that the focus should return to the seminars that formed the nucleus of the Foundation’s work. A report in March 1987 had noted that “This intensive programme has entailed not only a great deal of hard work, but also considerable expenditure. We have paid the costs of two visits by our lawyer, and three visits made by musicians.21 We have sent to Czechoslovakia two sums of £750, the first for the support of the families of the imprisoned, and the second to enable distribution of the Jazz Section’s latest publication… There have also been heavy overheads: for example, telephone calls to America and Australia…. It is hoped that much of this work will now be taken over by the newly-founded Friends of the Jazz Section.” Nevertheless, the involvement with the Jazz Section and the association Artforum and with the newly-founded Unijazz continued up to and beyond the Velvet Revolution.

To sum up, in the years 1985-1987 in particular the London-based Jan Hus Educational Foundation helped to support the Jazz Section in the following ways: influencing Her Majesty’s Government in keeping the persecution of the Jazz Section on the diplomatic agenda; arranging for journalists and public personalities to write and publish articles and letters in the western press; influencing and encouraging the President of the IJF to resist Czechoslovak government pressure and to support the Jazz Section openly; arranging for two advisory visits to Czechoslovakia by Britain’s leading human rights lawyer; mobilising western musicians (both ordinary and famous) of all genres to support the Jazz Section, in particular through a Petition presented to the President of Czechoslovakia; raising and making available funding for Jazz Section families in need, for travel (human rights lawyer, president of IJF, etc.) and for printing and materials, etc.; and above all, using the JHEF network of contacts, especially those travelling to Czechoslovakia on the Foundation’s other business. It was a totally unprecedented action in the history of the Foundation – but then, the Jazz Section was a totally unprecedented phenomenon in the history of Czechoslovakia.

1 The former Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, was the uncle of Charles Douglas-Home. 2 JDH, Once Upon Another Time, Norwich 2000, p. 90. 3 The International Jazz Federation, known as such from 1975, was originally founded in 1969 as the European Jazz Federation 4 Letter from J (Jiří Müller) to Jessica (Douglas-Home), 24 February (1986), quoted in Barbara Day, The Velvet Philosophers, London 1999 (hereafter VP), p. 205 5 Josef Škvorecký, “Hipness at Noon”, The New Republic, 17 December 198 6 Established by Professor H. Gordon Skilling in 1983 on the model of the British foundation. 7 Sam Hird (pseudonym), “Silencing the Jazz Section”, The Spectator, 27 September 1986. 8 Mike Zwerin, The International Herald Tribune, 3 December 1986 9 JDH, Once Upon Another Time, Norwich 2000, p. 115. 10 Norman Podhoretz, “Journey to the evil empire”, New York Post, 9 December 1986. 11 Durham subsequently became a trustee of the Foundation. 12 This could only be done through the Cultural Attaché at the London Embassy, who was also a member of the StB (codename: Vozňák) charged with uncovering the activities of the JHEF. He failed to recognise this as one of them. 13 Letter from Professor Donald Mitchell of the Britten-Pears Foundation to His Excellency the President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Dr. Gustáv Husák, 23 December 1986, quoted in VP, p. 207. 14 It is not known what became of this top copy of the Musicians’ Petition with the original signatures. 15 The Times, December 1986. 16 JUDr. Josef Průša could act only as adviser to the Section’s lawyers; he had been a zealous defender in cases brought against dissidents, and consequently spent five years in prison for “perverting justice”. 17 Letter from “Elizabeth” (Roger Scruton) to “David” (Jiří Müller), undated, probably October 1986, quoted in VP, p. 207. 18 Geoffrey Robertson, Visitor’s Report October 1986, quoted in VP, pp. 207-8. 19 Letter to Roger (Scruton) from John Rose, 3 December (1986), quoted in VP, p. 209. 20 Letter to Barbara (Day) from Geoffrey Robertson, 27 February 1987, quoted in VP, p. 209. 21 The Foundation also paid Alexander’s travel, which for some reason is not mentioned here.




Jazz Fellowship-Artforum is a nonprofit arts organization founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1971. Jazzová Sekce-Artforum is one of the oldest organizations of this kind in the former Eastern Europe. Jazz Felloowship-Artforum does not have paid employees; we function entirely on the generosity of donations and sponsor gifts.

Our History:
During the reign of Communism, members of Jazzová Sekce /Fellowship-Artforum were persecuted for publishing prohibited and unfit literature („samizdats“). They were also persecuted for organizing concerts of rock musicians who had no governmental permission to perform in public.
During the 1980’s, Jazzová Fellowship/Section-Artforum was completely banned and many of its members imprisoned. Many intellectuals, including holders of the Nobel Prize, resolutely protested against this action. This later became the biggest protest of western intellectuals and the people in the history of Eastern Europe.

Our Mission:
Today Jazz Fellowship-Artforum organizes venues for music concerts and fine art for both Czech and foreign creators, including artists from Indonesia, USA and Turkey.
Jazzová Sekce-Artforum is primarily interested in cultural and political events of the 20th century. We curate large exhibitions addressing such themes as, The Beat Generation, August 1968, Losses and Hopes 1938-1989.

Jazzová Fellowship-Artforum also sponsors the very popular Nonstop Reading Marathons. Participants of the marathons have included famous celebrities, writers, ambassadors and readers from all around the world.

Since 2002, Jazzová Fellowship-Artforum has operated a nonprofit/ noncommercial internet radio show entitled Hortus, meaning garden. Hortus’s main passion remains jazz music.



Time, 1984  1987  


1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989 1989


Cold War Students Thank Cambridge Lecturers

October 29th, 2018

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled in the Faculty of Divinity of Cambridge University at 12.30 pm on Monday 29 October 2018. It is a thank you from students who under Communism studied in the Prague underground seminars to the lecturers who, risking their own safety, came from Cambridge to teach them in conditions of secrecy.

Cold War Students Thank Cambridge Lecturers – Read More…

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled in the Faculty of Divinity of Cambridge University at 12.30 pm on Monday 29 October 2018. It is a thank you from students who under Communism studied in the Prague underground seminars to the lecturers who, risking their own safety, came from Cambridge to teach them in conditions of secrecy.

The plaque is the initiative of one of the former students, Marta Chadimova, whose 15-year-old daughter Justina will speak on the occasion. The idea came to Marta when she realised that the younger generation has little understanding of what life was like when an Iron Curtain divided Europe. Thousands of young people in East Europe were denied education for political reasons, and the bravest of them formed underground study groups. The British Jan Hus Educational Foundation clandestinely sent lecturers to these groups and in a unique partnership with Cambridge University set up a group which was entered for the examinations of the Cambridge Diploma and Certificate in Religious Studies. Marta was one of six students who successfully completed the whole course and obtained the Cambridge qualification. Several students were also signatories of the human rights petition Charter 77; after the Velvet Revolution one former student became Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, while another was a founder of the remodelled security and intelligence system.

On 28 October 2018 the Czech Republic achieves 100 years of modern nationhood. In that century it has been twice invaded and twice suffered the oppression of totalitarian rule. In expressing their thanks to the Cambridge lecturers, the students emphasise the importance not only of resisting intimidation and supporting those in need, but also of academic independence, learning from history, and keeping alive the wisdom and values of the past.. 

Among those attending the ceremony will be Marta Chadimová; the Revd Andrew Lenox-Conyngham, who organised the seminars for the JHEF; Stephen Blunden, who was the link with the Cambridge University Board of Examinations; Jessica Douglas-Home and Roger Scruton, former Trustees of the JHEF; Barbara Day, former Secretary of the JHEF; and the Regius Professor of Divinity Ian McFarland.

12.30 p.m. Monday 29 October 2018

Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge,West Road, Cambridge CB3 9BS







 1.   2.    3.  

  1. 14th Dalai Lama, Prague 2000; Greetings to Jazz Section
  2. Frank Zappa, Prague 1990; Solo for Jazz Section
  3. Jan Kavan, Prague/New York; Minister of Foreigh Affairs, President of the United Nations General Assembly, 2002-2003
  4. Lawrence Ferlinghetti  Prague/San Francisco; The first steps in Prague,1998

5. 6. 7. 8. 

5. Salman Rushdie – writer, Karel Srp – Jazz Section, Prague 2001

6. Jevgenij Jevtušenko – poet, Moscow/Prague-Jazz Section, 1997

7.Arnošt Lustig. Czech writer

8.Václav Havel, president, Prague, Jazz Section 2003






Fall Season at the Museum








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