PAMÁTNÝ DEN SOKOLSTVA (Sokol Memorial Day)
Each year the Czech Sokols commemorate October 8th as a reminder of the tragic events in the organization’s history. On the night of October 7, 1941, the “Sokol Action” was launched by a Decree of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. The Decree’s orders were to arrest and subsequently deport Sokol representatives to concentration camps and to paralyze the organization’s resistance activity. Hundreds of Sokol members were arrested, the organization was dissolved, and its property was confiscated in the following days.
As written in the Brno Daily, “According to the later testimony of Constantine von Neurath in the Nuremberg trial, Sokol was the most dangerous organization, that the Nazis logically had to eliminate. The Nazi intervention against Sokol almost meant liquidation,” said Michal Dolezel, deputy president of Sokol Brno.
During the Second World War, Sokol was among the most prominent sources of resistance. Over 3,000 Sokol members were executed during the Nazi totalitarian regime and another 8,000 were imprisoned. “As Sokol was an intergral part of Czech society, the attack by the Nazis was not only an attack on Sokol as such but on the very essence of Czech statehood and the principles of interwar democracy,” Dolezel explained.
During 2018, the Civic Democratic Party proposed the inclusion of Sokol Memorial Day as an “Important Day” of the Czech Republic. In January of 2019, the Senate of the Czech Republic approved October 8th to be recognized as Sokol Memorial Day. President Milos Zeman signed the legislation making this the first official Sokol Memorial Day recognized by the entire Czech Republic.
On October 8, 2019 during the reverence gathering, Hana Mouckova, the president of the Czech Sokols (COS) remarked, “The Memorial Day of the Sokols is not dedicated solely to the victims of the struggle for regaining freedom and independence of the Czechoslovak state during the Nazi occupation and World War II. It is a tribute to all members of Sokol who gave their lives for freedom and democracy in the almost 160 year existence of our association.
At the October 22, 2019 Executive Board meeting of the American Sokol (ASO), the motion was approved that American Sokol will observe Sokol Memorial Day. We share our roots with Czech Sokols and together we will always remember October 8th with Sokols around the world.