Czech Boy Scouts


The old Czechoslovakia, precursor to today's Czech Republic, has a relatively short history as an independent country. Scouting in Czeheslovakia has been affevted by the country's tumultuous history. Scouting for much of Czechoslovakia's history has been banned as a suversive organization. Scouters who tried to organze were arrested and sent to concentration or labor camps by both the NAZIs and Communists. Today Scouts are the most popular youth organization in the Czech Republic.

Scouting Founded

Czech Scouting was founded by A.B.Svojs-A1k in 1911 when he organized JUN`AK. Czecheslovakia at the time was part of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. the Czech scouts promise is quite unusual. It's because of the historical background that the Czech Scout Law and Promise was quite different to that of Scouts in most countries. In 1911, when Czech Scouting was founded, Czecheslovakia didn't exist yet. The area of the todays Czech Republic was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empeire. Czech people didn't like that absolutistic state. The Austrian Government tried to discourage the use of the the Czech language and to force Czech's to speak German. In the early 1900s there was an increasingly oppresive police state. The main supports for regime were the army, the police and the catholic church which was strongly pro-Austrian. These were the reasons, that in the Czech Scout promise loayalty to the Government (Emperor) and to the supreme being were omitted.

Czechoslovakia (1918-39)

Czechoslovakia was created by the Versailles Treaty after the First World War from areas of the old Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Scouting actually predates Czecheslovakia itself. After the War nd the creation of Czecheslovakia, Scouting was the country's most popular youth organization.

Figure 1.--Czech Scouts at the 1929 World Jamboree.

German World War II Occuption (1938-45)

The occupation by the Germans after Munich in 1938-39 changed this. Scouting was at first largely ignored, but the NAZIs in 1940 banned Scouting. (Scouts in Germany had been folded into the Hitler Youth within a few months of Hitler's rise to power. The Munich Agreement granted the Germans the Sudetenland, a country of wooded hills and valleys, in which camps for Scouts were almost too numerous. The whole countryside was ideal for Scouting and had long been used for that purpose by the large and well organized Scout movement in Czechoslovakia. During the 6 uneasy months which elapsed between September 1938 and March 1939, the Czech Scouts beheld with mounting indignation the overrunning of their favorite haunts by German youth, who had succeeded in extracting the technique of Scouting and in using it to found their own training for the battlefield. Hitler Youth units were organized and summer camps and other properties of the Scouts as well as other youth organizations were seized. Then with the early spring came the total eclipse of Czechoslovakia. The shallow which had fallen upon the Sudetenland spread across the whole of the country and deepened into a black night which was to endure for six terrible years. Many boys continued to participate clandestinely, even continuing summer camps. Wearing Scout uniforms was dangerous. The Gestapo raided camps and seized the uniforms. Boys had to return home in their underwear. Leaders faced far worst, including arrest and concentration camps. Scouts in Czecheslovakia as elsewhere in occupied Europe were active in the resistance movement.

Communist Era (1945-89)

After the NAZI surrender (May 1945) the London Goverrnment-in-exile wasbrieflky rstored to power. Even so the country was under the cintrol of the Sioviet Red Army and NKVD who eased thge Coimmunist Party into positions of power. The Scouting Association (Junák) was briefly restablished in Czechoslovakia (1945). Some 120,000 youth joined the revived Scouts (1946). This was a substantial number forc a small country like Czechoslovakia. This made it the second largest association in the World Movements at that time. The creation of a Stalinist communist regime changed this (1948). Scouting was outlawed as elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The Communist Youth Movement only allowed their oirganizations. Czech boys had to participate in the Young Pioneers. It was dangerous to organize Scouts during the late Stalkinist Era (late-1940s-early-50s). Many Scouters and Guides were persecuted, arrested, and and condemned to prison. Some died cin the camps. Some troops continued in their work sureptiously within the sports organizations, the pioneer movement, the tourist organizations, with the nature conservationist and others. Conditions gradually improved after Stalin's dearh (1953) ad De-Stalinization in the Siviet Unuin (1956). The liberal communist government in the c1960s tolerated the Scouts and some troops were formed. Junák reappeared as an independent organization (1968) as a result of the Prague Spring. It only survived for 2 years. The Federal Ministry of the Interior banned it again (October 1970). This was even before the Soviet invasion (1973). The Scouts were supressed again and leaders arrested or harassed. A Scouting source reports, "Despite these frequent set-backs, and despite the punishments endured by those who suffered for their undiminished loyalty to the Movement, Scouting remained a constant source of hope and inspiration, commanding a special place in the hearts of the Czech nation."

The Czech Republic

The fall of the Communist Czech Government in 1989 opened the way for the remergence of legal Scouting in Czeslovakia. The country after the fall of Communism split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the Scoutig movement also split, although the Scouting movement was much stronger in the Czech Republic.


The Czech Scout association is the Association of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the Czech Republic (JUNK), rather an unfortunate acronym in English. JUNK in 1998 was a member of IFOFSAG and WAGGGS (they accept the Czech Guides as a founder member). The Czech Republic is not a member of the WOSM yet (because of some bureaucratic problems), but they were members as Czechoslovak scouts, before the 1993 breakup of the country.

The Czech Republic Scout association (JUNK) is one merged organization, which administers two different programs for Boys Scouts and Girl Guides. JUNK in 1998 had approximately 70,000 members. (The Czech Republic has about 10 million inhabitants.

The different Scout levels are:
[Note: Info about spelling: because you can't send the Czech alphabet through the Internet, instead of the "hacek", originally a small "v" above the letter, one has to use " ~ " before it, instead of the "carka", originally a small comma above the letters, onehas to use " ' " before it and instead of "krouzek", a small circle above the letter, one uses use " ` ")

6-11 years

vl~cata/wolf cubs and sv~etlu~sky/fire flies (the name for our brownies was chosen by the book Brou~cci by Jan Karafi'at)

12-15 years

skauti/boyscouts and skautky/girl guides.


rove~ri/rovers and rangers




I do not yet have any informaion on Czech scouting, but would appreciate any information HBU readers amy have.


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Created: November 15, 1998
Last updated: 10:04 PM 2/27/2012