Domazlice delegation arriving in May

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Lt. Col. Matt Konop of Two Rivers is the central figure in a story of serendipity.

He had already been awarded the Bronze Star for gallantry in action during Germany’s massive surprise offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge. Now it was May of 1945, and Konop’s fluency in Czech (the native tongue of his family) gets him another dangerous assignment: commanding the advance party of the 2nd Infantry Division’s liberation of southern Czechoslovakia.

Konop and his men are 200 miles behind enemy lines when he makes a stealthy entry into the tiny city of Klenci, finds a secret meeting of the resistance, and informs the group in their own language that his division is coming to free their country. Two days later, he enters his ancestral home of Domazlice, where word has quickly spread that “one of our own” has returned to free the people from six years of occupation by Nazi Germany. He is celebrated as a hero and hoisted upon the shoulders of the townspeople. That image was captured in a photograph, and reproduced upon a plaque that bears Konop’s name and is mounted in the main square of Domažlice.

Konop was made an honorary citizen and would visit the city two more times before his death in 1983.

In recent years, the two cities have traded citizen delegations, and officially confirmed their Sister City relationship in 2017. In November 2019, students from Two Rivers High School made the trek. The eight stayed with host families and attended school.

Now it’s our Sister City’s turn; 18 students and adults will visit here May 28-June 4. A special concert to welcome them will be held Wednesday, June 1 in Central Park: a celebration with Czech music and dancing and, of course, ice cream sundaes!

Read more about the liberation of Domazlice.

Pictured above: Patrick Dewane, grandson of Lt. Col. Konop, meets with Domazlice friends to discuss the upcoming delegation to Two Rivers.

 

TRHS students with some of their hosts in 2019:

 

Lt. Col. Konop:

One Response

  1. What an incredible story and connection for me…my great great grandfather (Martin Siebold) was born and raised in Domazlice before immigrating to Stangleville area much later in his life. I grew up in TR and my parents have lived there all their lives. I’m looking forward to making the 3 hour drive back home for the June 1 concert and hope to have a chance to talk with the Domazlice group.

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