This week in Mailbox: Ways in which you listen to Radio Prague, Sunday Music Show, Czech beer, answers to last month’s mystery man quiz question. Listeners quoted: Soumya Bhattacharjee, Marlene Sherburne, Tim Marecki, Victor Latavish, Keith A. Simmonds, Henk Poortvliet, Chun-Quan Meng, Colin Law, Sandeep Jawale, Charles Konecny, Mary Lou Krenek, Hans Verner Lollike, Barbara Ziemba, Bezazel Ferhat ben Rabah.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. Thank you very much for all your reception reports, comments and mystery man competition answers. Before we get to those, let’s hear some of your comments and opinions.

Soumya Bhattacharjee writes from West Bengal:

“I hope you remember me as your faithful listener since the days of Radio Prague’s shortwave broadcasts. Today I am listening to you for the very first time on the internet and this is my first reception report to you or to any other radio station for their internet broadcast. Hence I am feeling very strange. I have never heard Radio Prague so clearly as always difficulties of shortwave were there. Listening to you was hence also exciting, however I must tell you that I found no joy that I used to get in listening to you on shortwave. I miss you really, and so do my DXer friends in India!”

Let me say that we miss shortwave, too and we greatly miss the feedback from our shortwave listeners. Although Radio Prague discontinued its shortwave service earlier this year, listeners in the United States can still tune in to Radio Prague’s English and Spanish broadcasts on the frequency 9955 kHz via Radio Miami International. Among them David Weronka from North Carolina who sent us a reception report.

Marlene Sherburne from Massachusetts listens to our internet broadcasts:

“This is my first reception report I have written by computer. I hope I did it right! I listen often on the computer. This is what I bought it for.”

Tim Marecki from Florida says he enjoyed a recent Sunday Music Show featuring the band Hradišťan:

“I enjoyed your folk music presentation very much! It was exciting to hear the great voices of this Moravian Band, along with the various instruments. I look forward to hearing more kinds of Czech music in future programs. It is always a great pleasure to follow all your feature programs, as well as learn more about the Czech Republic.”

Victor Latavish from Florida responded to a report on a beer festival in Prague:

“In my opinion, and I have tried to try them all, Czechs have the best beer in the world! While visiting your country I most enjoyed Pilsen Urquell and Budvar, which are by far better than any German or US beers. Dutch beers are very good but the very best is in Prague and České Budějovice, not in Munich or not even in Amsterdam, which is really, really good competition!”

And now for your monthly quiz answers.

Keith A. Simmonds from France wrote:

“Heinrich Landesmann was a poet and prose writer born in Austria in 1821. Very sickly as a child, his sight and hearing were almost completely destroyed at the age of 15. Later in life he became totally blind and developed a form of tactile signing that was named after him.”

Henk Poortvliet writes from the Netherlands:

“This month it is quite easy to name the person you are looking for: Hieronymus Lorm. At the age of 16 he lost his hearing and also from early childhood he suffered from impaired vision. Despite this he wrote many stories, poetry, philosophical works and novels.”

Chun-Quan Meng listens to Radio Prague in China:

“The mysterious person must be Hieronymus Lorm, who was an Austrian poet and writer born in 1821 in the south Moravian town of Mikulov. Lorm was a creator of one of the systems of hand touch alphabet for the deafblind, called Lorm’s alphabet, which is still in use in Czech Republic as well as many other countries.”

Colin Law from New Zealand wrote:

“From early childhood Heinrich suffered from poor health and by the age of 15 his eyesight and hearing were seriously damaged. Eventually he went completely blind which led to his developing a form of tactile signing – a means of communication for deaf and blind people and a hand-touch alphabet.

“Since then the alphabet has been modified to suit individual languages and the Czech version was created by a nun, Anna Aquina Sedláčková and later modified by director of the Country asylum for the sightless in Brno, A. Špička. As an example, the well-known symbol Ř (R with a háček) is indicated to the subject by first touching the curve between his thumb and index finger (háček) and then drumming slightly with several of your finger-tips in the middle of the palm of his hand (r).

Lorm’s alphabet
“At the age of 16 Heinrich was writing poems for magazines and in 1843 he wrote 'Abdul' a long poem in five sections. When his liberal writing drew attention to him, he adopted the pseudonym Hieronymus Lorm and moved to Berlin in 1846 to avoid censorship and political persecution. In the revolutionary period 1848-49 he returned to Vienna and joined the editorial board of the Wiener Zeitung (Viennese Daily) which was then the official newspaper of the Austrian state.

“Hieronymus Lorm published some 60 books and novels. He married Henrietta Franki in 1856. They had three children and lived in Baden bei Wein. In 1867 his eyesight improved slightly after surgery and in 1873 they moved to Dresden. Finally he spent the last ten years of his life in Brno close to his birth place and he died in Brno in 1902.”

Sandeep Jawale writes from India:

“My answer to May Quiz is Dr. Heinrich Landesmann – who became completely blind in his adulthood and deaf even though he wrote books and articles. This raised the ire of the Austrian authorities and after that adopted the pseudonym Hieronymus Lorm in order to keep himself and his family safe from police persecution. Through your quiz questions we get new information searching on sites and we find it really interesting.“

Charles Konecny from Ohio wrote:

“A remarkable fellow, Landsmann (Lorm) overcame his health handicaps to become a prolific poet and writer. And since he lost his vision and hearing, he also had to find a way to converse with people... so problem solved... as he went on to develop a tactile signing technique to communicate with others that is still used today. Heinrich was, by and large, a pessimist, and some of his writings ruffled a few political feathers, so many of his writings were under the pseudonym of Hieronynus Lorm (a rather interesting name). He also managed to get married and live to a rather ripe old age of 81. So despite his handicaps, Heinrich has much to be proud of. It was a life well lived.”

Mary Lou Krenek follows our broadcasts in Texas:

“His career was spent as a distinguished poet, philosopher, and writer. Often he used pseudonyms, one of which was Hieronymus Lorm. Since he lost his hearing and had impaired vision by the age of sixteen, he invented a touch alphabet that he used to communicate with his family. He did not publish the system, but after his death his daughter, Marie Landesmann, published the Lorm hand touch alphabet in the German language in1908. Lorm's alphabet is one of the systems of touch speech for deaf and blind people still used worldwide. It was been translated into many languages including English, Czech, and Hebrew.”

Hans Verner Lollike writes from Denmark:

“I have noted that many of the mystery persons that had the privilege to be born in your country were Jewish. I wonder what nationality they considered themselves to belong to. I assume that the towns with three nationalities like Mikulov created somehow a milieu for producing genius people like Heinrich Landesmann. I hope multinational societies nowadays will be able to have the same result, because especially the minorities create talents. I guess we already see it in the sports world. Many national stars are sons or daughters of immigrants.”

And Barbara Ziemba from the US wrote this:

“I so enjoy the mystery person of the month. Often it turns out even if I know the person, I learn something new about him or her. This month is no exception. Hieronymus Lorm (pseudonym of Heinrich Landesmann) was born in Mikulov and raised in Vienna. His father was a Moravian merchant. Around the age of 15 Hieronymus lost his hearing and soon after began to lose his eyesight. He became totally blind. Lorm did much writing under pseudonyms to avoid political persecution. He died in 1902 and is buried in Brno's Jewish Cemetery. Since he was both deaf and blind he could only communicate by touch. He developed a form of communication called tactile signing. One form of tactile signing is hand-over-hand. Helen Keller used this method of teaching the deaf-blind.”

Thank you very much for your answers and this month the prize goes to Bezazel Ferhat ben Rabah from Algeria. Congratulations and here’s another chance for those who have not been lucky this time:

Earlier this week the US Space Shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth carrying a furry toy of the popular Czech cartoon character Krteček or the Mole. Another Czech-related piece of art was launched into space onboard another NASA space shuttle several years ago but was destroyed in a disaster in which all its crew members were killed. We would like to know the name of the artist who created that piece of art and himself had a tragic fate.

Please send us his name, along with your comments, questions and reception reports to or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague by the end of June. Mailbox will be back on June 18. Until then, take care.