Tom Hasler, a member of the Hobart Class of 1962, was born while his father, Czech songwriter-performer Karel Hasler, was held in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. After growing up in Australia and Connecticut, Hasler finally met his father in a film. In 1990, there was a major cultural exhibition in Manhattan called “Czech Modernism 1900-50.” Included were screenings of period Czech films, including an early sound film, “Batalion,” in which his father played the leading role but didn't sing.
“It was the first time I ever saw him in motion,” Hasler recalls, “and I began to connect with him.” But not until 1993, on a visit to Prague, did he see and hear his father sing: “I screened a 1932 film called 'Pisnickar' [Balladeer], which was based on his own story. When he sang 'Our Czech Song,' I connected emotionally.”
Since then, Hasler has devoted himself to retrieving memories of his father and restoring the man's reputation. Hasler was profiled in the story “Tom Hasler: Prodigal son's odyssey” in the Nov. 20 Prague Post, Prague, Czech Republic.