Promotional Seal for the 1948 All-Sokol
Gymnastics Festival in Prague
Seal on piece with 1945 definitive stamps depicting Czechoslovakian independence leaders.
This piece features a label inscribed "XI vsesokolský slet v Praze" or "XI All-Sokol Gymnastics Festival in Prague". The postmark appears to be November 25, 1947 so the label would appear to be for fundraising or promotion of the upcoming winter games in February and the main program in late June. The piece is franked with the 1945 30 haleru definitive depicting Milan Rastislav Stefánik (1880-1919), the Slovakian born leader of the Czechoslovakian independence movement, and the 1945 50 haleru definitive depicting Tomáas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), the first prime minister of Czechoslovakia. The association of the Sokol movement with these nationalist leaders is appropriate given the patriotic appeal of the Sokol movement which led to its suppression after the communist take-over in Czechoslovakia.
The Sokol (Falcon) movement is an all-age gymnastics organization founded in 1862 in Prague, in Austria-Hungary's Czech region, by Miroslav Tyrs and Jindrich Fügner. Based upon the principle of "a strong mind in a sound body,"the Sokol, through lectures, discussions, and group outings provided physical, moral, and intellectual training for men of all ages and classes, and eventually to women. The movement spread across all the Slavic regions. In many nations, the organization served as a precursor to Scouting movements. Although it was officially not political, the Sokol contributed to the development of Czech nationalism helping to spread nationalist ideologies. Articles published in the Sokol journal, lectures held in the Sokol libraries, and theatrical performances at the massive gymnastic festivals called slets helped to promote the Czech nationalist mythology and history.
On January 21, 1938 Czechoslovakia issued a set of two stamps honouring the
10th International Sokol Games in sheets of 100 stamps and 12 inscribed labels.
After World War II Sokols held one more slet in 1948 before they were suppressed by the Communists. Two sets of stamps issued in 1948 commemorated the XI Sokol Congress in Prague. The first issue of March 7 depicted the an allegory of "Czechoslovakia" greeting Sokol marchers. The second issue of June 10 depicted Czech lawyers and champions of the Sokol movement Jindrich Vanicek and Josef Scheiner. The Communist Party tried to replace the tradition of Sokol with its slets with the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education and its Spartakiads.
1948 Czech stamps showing an allegory of "Czechoslovakia" welcoming Sokol marchers
Czech lawyers and champions of the Sokol movement Jindrich Vanicek and
Josef Scheiner depicted on the second set of 1948 XI Sokol Congress stamps
"Czechoslovakia." Scott 2016 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Sidney, Ohio: Amos Publishing, 2015.
"Sokol." Wikipedia. 13 Jan. 2019. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 20 Jan. 2019.
"Vaesokolský slet." Wikipedie. 22 Nov. 2018. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 20 Jan. 2019.
© Grose Educational Media, 2019