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In Memoriam

Aja Vrzanova-Steindler
Aja Vrzanova-Steindler (1931 - 2015)

Aja Vrzanova-Steindler was born in Prague. Among her many figure skating triumphs, she was National Figure Skating Champion four times, a European Champion, Olympian 1948 (4th place), two times World Champion 1949 - 1950, star of Ice Follies 1951-1954 and star of Ice Capades 1954-1968. She was honored by Czech president Vaclav Klaus. She was the chairperson of the International Coordination Committee for Czechs Abroad. The Czech Government also honored her as an Outstanding Czech Woman in the World. In 2006, she was named by COMENIUS European Company for Arts and Sciences as Lady PRO of 2006 in the Czech Republic. She was a member of Zonta Int., a Czech charitable organization for Czech business women. Last but not least, she was named Outstanding Woman "Czech 100 Best" in 2006.

Interview prepared by the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library:
Orbituary in New York Times:

Jan Hird Pokorny
Jan Hird Pokorny (1914 - 2008)

Jan Hird Pokorny was a commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for 10 years and was involved in the efforts to save Sailors’ Snug Harbor and the Dvorak House. He was a Czech-born architect whose New York firm became known for restoring and adapting historic buildings. Among the historic buildings restored and redesigned or modernized under his supervision are Lewisohn Hall at Columbia University, the Schermerhorn Row block at the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Historical Society building, the National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island and the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan. He was the President of BBLA and of the American Fund for Czech and Slovak Leadership Studies. He managed to rescue a statue of the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, by the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, from benign neglect on the roof of Avery Fisher Hall. It was given a home in Stuyvesant Square Park on a pedestal of green granite designed by Mr. Pokorny, an amateur classical pianist.

Alex Cech
Alex Cech (1927 - 2012)

Alex Cech was an active member of the Czech community in New York. He was president of the Association of Free Czechoslovak Sportsmen, an organization that sponsored skiing competitions and tennis matches. Alex was also instrumental in the revival of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association and served as the President of the Association. He lived in New York with his wife since 1958 until his death in late 2012. He escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1949, spent some time in Germany and Venezuela and then moved to New York. Alex’s first job in the United States was as head waiter at the Golden Door restaurant. He later bought a company that imported steel into the United States. After the fall of communism in his homeland, Alex began working for Pfizer as a liaison between the company and private buyers in Czechoslovakia.


Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General