Lidice Memorial - Phillips, WI

Lidice Memorial
Sokol Park, Phillips, Price County
Date of construction: 1944
Designer: Vaclav Hajny

The 1944 Lidice Memorial sculpture is located in Sokol Park in a residential neighborhood of Phillips, Wisconsin. Modernist in style with Art Deco references, the sculpture is approached by a fieldstone walkway. Near the Fifield Street edge of the walkway, the year "1944" made of small stones is embedded in concrete. The Lidice Memorial design incorporates American and European art forms, sophisticated and ethnic, from the 1940s. The sculpture was designed by Vaclav Hajny and completed by Hajny, builder Carl Novy and others as a response to the destruction of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, and the murder and removal of its people on June 9-10, 1942, by occupying German soldiers and SS and the German Gestapo.

Vaclav Hajny suggested the Lidice Memorial and was a force for completing it. Hajny was born in Brnikov, Bohemia, in 1878. In 1906, Hajny moved to the United States, arriving at the immigration center at Ellis Island, New York on May 2. After moving to Chicago he worked as an artist and photographer. In 1942, after the razing and massacre of Lidice, Hajny was living in Price County. In 1943, he designed a temporary monument near Sokol Hall. Much of the material used to shape the 1944 Lidice Memorial came from northern Wisconsin. The fieldstone was from the Koci Farm east of Phillips. Granite came from Mellen farther north.

The site in Sokol Park is one filled with memories for the Czech-Slovak community of Price County. The park, now owned by the City of Phillips, became the local home for the international Sokol movement in 1927. Sokol, which combined physical and intellectual activities, moved into a school building in November 1927. The outline of the hall can still be seen in Sokol Park.

In recent years, the Phillips community has been saying the Lidice Memorial means this: "The name LIDICE is forged in bronze and iron across the top of it. The tall, round, red stone pillar represents the United Nations. The three iron rods to the left represent the Czechs, Slovaks and Moravians leaning on the United Nations. The evergreen spray depicts everlasting life and is symbolic that Czechoslovakia and Lidice, too, will rise again. The large half circle at the upper right hand corner indicates the rising sun, repeating faith that the people of Czechoslovakia and Lidice will rise again." The Czech-Slovak community sponsored the nomination.

Bohemian Hall - La Crosse, WI

They came here from other coun­tries, flocking to the country immigrants were calling "The Land of Opportunity."

They came from all over Europe. The Irish, French, Poles, Germans, Norwe­gians, Bohemians. And when they arrived, they gravitated to their own kind, building social societies, churches and schools that kept their language and customs alive for many decades after their arrival.

For the Bohemians, it was Bohemian Hall. The building was located at Sev­enth and Tyler. Frank Spika has many fond memories of the hall. His grandfa­ther, Frank Kriz, built Bohemian Hall in 1876. "It was a gathering place," remem­bers Frank. It was a place where people from the old country socialized with their own kind in the new country.

Above is what the Bohemian Hall, Seventh and Tyler streets, looked like in 1899. Behind the bar are Mr. and Mrs. Joe Shedesky. Bohemian Hall was built in 1876 and was a regular gathering spot for many immigrants.

Source: Postcards from the Past, La Crosse Tribune, 30 April 1992

The 1888 Bohemian Schoolhouse

Bohemians began settling in Racine County in the 1840s; by the 1880s their children were growing up American, speaking English and attending area schools. Wanting to teach their children their native language, songs and culture, the Bohemians decided to build a school that their children attended on Saturdays.

For nearly 30 years Bohemian children had the opportunity to attend school six days a week! By the 1920s interest in the Saturday School had dwindled, and it was discontinued.

Restored in the 1970s by the Junior League of Racine, the Schoolhouse is now owned and operated by Racine Heritage Museum.