Family Reunion in the Czech Republic

I flew from Brussels to Prague, where I stayed for two nights. I spent one morning shopping for supplies for my future adventures. When I was finished, I went to the main square to people watch. I randomly found a group of Erasmus students who had just arrived in Prague for their semester abroad, and tagged along with them for the afternoon. We bought drinks and hung out by the river. It was great! That evening, I had a lovely dinner with my second cousin and his wife, and they showed me a beautiful view of Prague by night.

Prague from my hostel window

From Prague, I headed to Veletiny in Southern Moravia to see my family. I stayed at my grandmother’s house for almost two weeks. I had the chance to relax, read, bike around, and of course blog :). A perfect vacation before the craziness ahead!

The highlight of my time in Veletiny was the reunion I attended on Saturday, August 17.

First, a little family history for some context:

My great-grandparents on my father’s father’s side, Jan Zemánek and Františka Zemánková, lived in the village of Drslavice, in Southern Moravia. They had eleven children. Jan died of pneumonia in 1939 when Františka was pregnant with her last child. He had fought in Italy in World War I, and his lungs had been weakened by gas attacks. As you can imagine, it was a very difficult time for the family. They all had to work hard to make ends meet, and to top it off, World War II had just begun.

The Zemánek family

They made it through the tough times together, and each child went on to lead a good life. Apart from one son who became a priest, they all married and had children. Most of them stayed close to the village of Drslavice. My father, born in 1947, was the first grandchild, and the youngest arrived in 1977.

Františka Zemánková with all her grandchildren in 1968
Františka with her eleven children in 1968
The whole family in 1968
Zemánek cousins at a reunion in 2008

Flash forward to 2013. One of my second cousins had the brilliant idea of organizing a reunion for all Jan and Františka’s great-grandchildren. The youngest is still a toddler, and the oldest was born in 1973. My second cousin counted 58 of us in total, and many more if you include spouses and children. Not everyone was there, but there were enough people for a very fun party!

Second cousins
Second cousins with their spouses and children

I am very happy for our generation. Unlike our grandparents, we have not had to suffer through war and poverty. Unlike our parents, we are not stuck behind the iron curtain of communism. I am grateful for the sacrifices made by previous generations so that we could lead happy lives. We have so many options available to us. We are free to travel and pursue higher education. The future is bright!

One thought on “Family Reunion in the Czech Republic

  1. Teta B

    Great idea to post the photos, Helenka. What an impressive family! Your tribute to your relatives of the previous generations is touching.

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