Chudenice - monument to Josef Dobrovský

Josef Dobrovský was born on August 17, 1753 in Děrmet near Ráb in Hungary (now Hungary). His father's name was Doubravský, but due to an incorrect entry in the register, Doubravský became Dobrovský. The family spoke only German, and Dobrovský only became familiar with Czech at the gymnasium in Německé Brod (today's Havlíčkův Brod) in the years 1762 - 1766 and later at the Klatovský gymnasium at the Jesuits, in whose humanities class he studied in the years 1766-68.

In 1769, Josef Dobrovský went to Prague to study philosophy. He excelled in his studies and was the best student among those who graduated in 1771. The following year he entered the theological faculty, became a novice in the Jesuit order and prepared for a mission to India. However, that did not happen, because the Jesuit order was in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV. cancelled. Dobrovský decided to continue his studies in theology, which he completed in 1776 and capped off by becoming a deacon. Subsequently, he entered the service of Count Nostice and in the years 1776 - 1787 worked there as an educator and teacher.

His wit, eloquence, noble mind and social tact made him the center of attention, and he was considered a member of the family in the Nostic House, which provided him with a living. Here, Dobrovský's path to society, to books and archives opened already in his youth.

In 1787, Dobrovský was ordained a priest and in the same year he began to teach, as vice-rector, later rector, at the general seminary in Hradisk near Olomouc. However, after the death of Emperor Joseph II, the seminary was abolished, Dobrovský was retired at the age of 37 and returned to Prague and until he was a private scientist at the end of his life. It was at this time that he wrote a number of essential works for Slavic studies, philology and also histography.

Josef Dobrovský was a polymath, knew many languages, studied physics and mathematics, archeology and botany. Three topics became his main interest: Czech history, Czech language and Czech literature. Paradoxically, however, he wrote his works in Latin or German, including his three core works: History of the Czech Language and Literature (1792), Zevrubná mlovnice czeský jazyk (1809), Basics of the Old Slavonic Language (1822).

Dobrovský stayed in Chudenice from 1816 to 1828 as a guest of Count Eugen Černín, who was a famous scholar and whose castle Lázeň near Chudenice was visited by the most prominent Czech scholars of the time. The count met Dobrovský as a fourteen-year-old young man, and from the beginning they were bound by a warm friendship and shared interest in botany, history and archaeology. The Abbé endeared himself to the count with his learning, and Countess Theresa with his immense kindness and love for her children, with whom he spent whole days in games and conversations.

Dobrovský, who suffered from occasional mental despondency originating in the darkening of his senses, benefited greatly from his stay in the poor countryside. He treated himself with baths in cold water, walks in the morning dew and in the fresh air. He also undertook long trips of several days to the surrounding area among the people and was also known for his expeditions to excavations, burial mounds and old settlements. He went through almost all of Klatovska, Kdyńska and the Domažlice area.

Josef Dobrovský's favorite place was Výšensko (today the top of the Žďár hill), where he often sat near the remains of the tower with the chapel of the former church of St. Wolfganga (now popularly known as Bolfánek). The Abbé promised to repair the chapel, and indeed he repaired it with the Count's permission. He celebrated mass here several times. The most famous was on October 31, 1828, on the feast of St. Wolfgang, when the Polen teacher Josef Behenský, known as Pejrek, sang the Old Slavonic hymn Hospodene pomiluj ny. Josef Dobrovský also spent most of the last summer of his life in the Lázeň near Chudenice castle. However, during this summer stay, the scholar's health was not good, and his actions more than once showed the confusion of his senses.

In November 1828, Dobrovský left Chudenice, never to return. He died on January 6, 1829 in Brno.

The monument to Josef Dobrovský was built by the Club of Czech Tourists in Chudenice by the Šmilovského path, in the place where Dobrovský once had his field and where he liked to go to the chapel of St. Anne. A bowl for holy water, the so-called kropenka, from the former pilgrimage church of St. Wolfgang, which was stored in the manor's stables for many years when the church was dismantled.

The unveiling of the monument to the Czech national revivalist was attended by members of the Club of Czech Tourists and the Černín couple were also present. This act took place on St. Wenceslas in 1941, during the Second World War, during the so-called Heydrich period, when a state of emergency was declared and the executions of Czech people began. The unveiling of the monument at that time can therefore be considered a true heroism and a manifestation of genuine patriotism.

Source: Explanatory board on the Žďár educational trail in Chudenic