Famous figures of Jaroměř
There are many important artists and writers who lived and work for parts of their lives in Jaroměř or wrote about the town. However, they are not the only ones who deserve our respect and admiration. We must not forget the heroes who laid down or risked their lives in wars. So, let us introduce some of them to you.
Josef Šíma (1891 – 1971)
A native of Jaroměř, a painter who achieved great renowned internationally. In 1920 he left for France, where he worked on artistic design of windows and fabric patterns. He became a member of several groups of artists. In the course of time he began to focus mainly on painting. In 1926 he was granted French citizenship and spent the rest of his life in his new country. However, he never forgot the years spent in Jaroměř, which is proved by his article about Jaroměř written in 1961.
Otakar Španiel (1881 – 1955)
A native of Jaroměř, who came from an old family of tin workers and engravers. He became rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. What made him famous was his designs of the first Czechoslovakian coins, some of which were used.
Josef Wagner (1901 – 1957)
A painter and restorer, a member of a famous family of stonemasons. He created many of his works located in Jaroměř with his eldest brother Václav (1897 – 1944). They include the allegories on the hospital building (1929) and on the building of the savings bank in the main square (1927). In 1947 Václav also created, on his own, the bust of writer Božena Němcová situated near Božena Němcová Primary School.
Miroslav Ivanov (1929 – 1999)
A native of Josefov, whose father was a Russian legionary, Antonín Job. He focused mainly on non-fiction. He wrote for example The Assassination of Reinhard Heidrich (Atentát na Reinharda Heydricha), Czech Detective Omnibus, or Royal Murders (Český pitaval aneb královraždy), etc.
Josef Gočár (1880- 1945)
One of the most important Czech architects. His first designs include the project of the Wenke department store in Jaroměř, where the municipal museum is currently situated. The building was competed in 1910–1911 in the spirit of Cubism. From the point of view of architecture, it is one of the most precious buildings of our town. In the 1920s Gočár created a new face of the city of Hradec Králové. In its own time, this architectural whole was called “the Salon of the Republic” and it is still appreciated by experts worldwide.
Karel Meisner (1904 – 1979)
A painter and graphic designer, who lived in Jaroměř for a long time. However, the prime of his career came after WWII.
Pavel Albieri (1861 – 1901)
Pavel Albieri was the pen name of a native of Jaroměř, Jan Mucek. He already began to contribute humorous and historical articles to different newspapers as a student. Later on he wrote for magazines, such as Květy, Světozor, Zlatá Praha, etc. In Jaroměř he founded a magazine called Ratibor. He decided to travel overseas and after returning home for a short time he connected his life with America forever. His works include Kuks Short Stories (Kukské povídky), Captured by Armida (V zajetí Armidy), etc.
Jindřich Šob (1860 – 1948)
An almost forgotten native of Jaroměř, who studied teaching in Hradec Králové. He worked as a teacher in Třebešov, Opočno and Nový Hrádek, later becoming headmaster of Technical School in Opočno. The most interesting of his works is his novel Under the Paw of the Black Foxes (Pod tlapou černých lišek), describing the rivalry between Count Sporck’s and the Jesuits of Žíreč.
Jan Patrný (1874 – 1929)
A native of Jaroměř, a playwright writing for the National Theatre, Vinohrady Theatre, etc. His plays included the comedies The Hobby (Ostříž), A Sokol Love (Sokolská láska), etc. His play Men Don’t Grow Old (Muži nestárnou) was made into a film.
Jaroslav Žák (1906 – 1960)
A Latin and French teacher at the grammar school in Jaroměř in 1936–1946, better known as an author of humorous novels. The long-time rivalry between Jaroměř and Josefov gave rise to his satirical novel, The Stars Above Roupkov (Hvězdy nad Roupkovem). His famous novels set in schools, Students and teachers (Študáci a kantoři) and A Journey to the Depths of the Student’s Soul (Cesta do hlubin študákovy duše), were written in Jaroměř. The influence of Jaroměř on his literary work climaxed in The End of the Old Times (Konec starých časů) intended to be a trilogy. Unfortunately, only one part was created.
Ladislav Dvorský (1931 - 1995)
His Book for children called Bubetka and Smítko (Bubetka a Smítko) was published in 1978 on condition that the name of the author was changed, so it came out under the name of Miloš Nesvadba because it had been banned from being published for many years. It was only in 1992 that it was published under the name of its real author. The book tells a lovely story of two spooks roaming in and around Jaroměř, which was a place the writer knew very well as he had spent his army years there.
Antonín Knapp (1843 – 1887)
Knapp has a significant position among the literary men of Jaroměř. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained as a priest. In 1869–1878 he lived in Jaroměř and was the first to deal with the town’s history in detail. After twelve years of hard work he completed his work The Memoirs of the Royal Dowry Town of Jaroměř (Paměti královského věnného města Jaroměře nad Labem). It is still an essential historiographic work for learning about the past of Jaroměř.
Ladislav Kriegler (1916 – 1944)
After graduating from a military academy as an artillery lieutenant and after the Nazi occupation he left for France. However, France was defeated very quickly, so he travelled to England and joined the British Army. He fought in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, where he was seriously wounded near Allis.
Jan Žerovnický (1913 – 1942)
After the occupation of Czechoslovakia he left for Poland and then travelled to other countries. He enlisted in the French air force and was shot down above the Manse river. He hid with a French family and using forged documents he escaped to Algeria, which was the only way to get out of the occupied France. Then he travelled to England, where he was a fighter pilot at the 56th training unit, flying a Hurricane plane. He served as a pilot until 7 January 1942, when he died during a collision of two planes.
Drawings by painter Jiří Škopek