My Century And My Many Lives, by Frank Munk
Frank Munk, my grandfather, wrote this autobiography to record his memories
from 1901 onwards. This history and its postscript are available on our family website in his
memory as they tell a complete story of the 20th century. These memoirs may be referenced as
long as proper attribution is made; our family retains ownership and copyright. We have one
request: if you reference this material in any way, please send us email at
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© Copyright 1993, 1994, The Munk/Ragen Families
FROM BOSNIA TO
The year is 1992.
Bosnia is in the forefront of news.
Bosnia also was in
the forefront of news in 1908: That year Austria-Hungary, then one of five major
powers, annexed Bosnia which it had occupied in 1879. This very nearly
precipitated a world war, although it was averted for another six years. When it
exploded, the flash point still was Bosnia, namely a shot fired by a young Serb
in a spot commemorated in the pavement: the assassination of the heir to the
throne of Austria-Hungary.
The Bosnian crisis
happened also to be a determining moment in my life. I was then a ripe seven
years, as curious then as I am now at 91. This is how it happened...
My family and I
went for a hike every Sunday afternoon, frequently to a wooded hill dominating
the surroundings of our town, Kutná Hora. The name of the hill was and is Haj.
Sunday the talk was about Bosnia and whether there will be war. That was what my
parents were talking about. So I started to ask questions...where was Bosnia,
why was it so important, how come Austria could annex it? I was not quite sure
my parents had all the answers. So I decided to find out for myself and I did.
Next morning I picked up the newspaper they were reading (it was Masaryk's old
CAS) and from that day on I read a newspaper, or more than one, for the next 85
or so years. My interest was set. I could not know then that my daughter would
one day marry a man whose family originally came from a place neighboring
Bosnia, called Montenegro, but
that is another story.
At any rate Nadia, my son-in-law, and our daughter visited Bosnia with Sarajevo,
Mostar and so on just a few years before it was rent asunder by a bloody civil
In the succeeding
decades I was able to satisfy my curiosity in international affairs by actively
participating in what you might call student-diplomacy, by leading the
Czechoslovak League of Nations Association, by becoming Secretary General of the
Čnternational Confederation of Students, by participating at least in a marginal
way in Czechoslovak politics, by spending time in the United States as a
Research Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, as Director of Training of the
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, as director of Radio
Free Europe in Munich, and I do not know in how many other functions around the
globe, while as the same time teaching and publishing books in several
Yet my curiosity is
not quite assuaged: I and the world are getting curiouser and curiouser, if not
better. In this year of 1992, I do not expect we shall get any closer to a New
World Order. To me it looks more like a new and worse World Disorder. I only can
hope I am wrong.
books listed below provide additional background on Montenegro to help
illustrate this portion of my grandfather's memoirs.