On the road with the Czech Heritage Club

George Mikiska of the Czech Heritage Club helps a woman with her family history at the Pope County Fair on August 6 in Glenwood. (Submitted photo)

The Czech Heritage Club were on the road a few weeks ago.

Club Members George Mikiska and James Simon appeared at the Pope County Fair in Glenwood on August 6. According to the members, Pope County has the next highest population of Czech immigrants in the state after Czech Country (Veseli, Lonsdale, Montgomery, and New Prague).

“They still have an active Z.C.B.J. Chapter, which meets monthly at the Z.C.B.J. Hall and Opera House. It is just like the one New Prague had 50 + years ago,” Simon said. Z.C.B.J. stands for Zapadni Cesko Bratrska Jednota, a fraternal organization that sold insurance and evolved from the Czech Protective Association. According to Simon, both New Prague and Montgomery had ZCBJ organizations. New Prague’s lodge hall and opera house was torn down around 1971, and Montgomery’s was gone long before that.

“The company today identifies as the Western Fraternal Life Association—an insurer. Only isolated communities of Czech Americans still use the label Z.C.B.J.,” he stated.

While at the Fair, Mikiska and Simon sold a variety of...

To see more on this story pick up the August 26, 2021 print edition of The New Prague Times or the Montgomery Messenger. 

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