Ing. Antonín Marián Svoboda, CSc.

Ing. Antonín Marián Svoboda, CSc.
21 May 1930 – 3 February 2021

Antonín Marián Svoboda was a noted Czech dendrologist with a specialization in foreign trees. He was also an expert in the history of botanical gardens and parks.


Antonín Marián Svoboda was born in Prague. His father, JUDr. Antonín Svoboda, was a recognized and successful lawyer. Before entering elementary school, Antonin spent two years in Telč at his grandfather’s house. Grandfather Antonín Komárek, father of Antonín’s mother Marie, was a game keeper. Antonín has had a strong emotional tie to Telč and its surrounding nature all of his life. He joined a scout troup which organized summer camping in the ‚Czech Canada‘ area near Telč. His friendships with his fellow scouts have lasted throughout Antonin’s life. For many years he saw his childhood friends every year on the occasion of scout summer camps in Zvůle. Antonin’s qualities of honesty, generosity, modesty and friendship, which he developed while scouting, complement his interesting personality and high intelligence. Antonin’s childhood was influenced by the Second World War when his family lived in Vinohrady. As a teenager he witnessed the accidental bombing of Prague by the American Air Force in 1945.


Antonín completed high school at the high school on Křemencova street. He has been interested in nature and science since early childhood. Originally, he was inspired by zoology and gamekeeping, but when studying at the University in Košice he became more and more interested in dendrology. After his return to Prague he started his first job in the botanical garden and institute in Průhonice. He worked at Průhonice Botanical Institute all of his career. Antonín Maria Svoboda was inspired by the founder of Průhonice Park, Count Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca. His dissertation about the variability of the Copper Beech was published in 1972 (Studie ČSAV, 1972).


In Průhonice Antonin met his wife, Danuše Pištorová, who was conducting genetic research at Průhonice Park at the time. They have three daughters. The oldest, Jana Hrabová, is an actor and director. She collaborates with her husband, Ondřej Hrab, in the Archa Theatre in Prague. The two younger daughters are twins, Michaela and Petra. Michaela Wicki has a master’s degree in economy and specializes in the management of social services. She is the founder and director of DOM, an institution which supports disadvantaged youngsters. Petra Winnette has a doctorate in Comparative Science and specializes in psychology and developmental affective neuroscience. She recently completed a Fulbright Scholarship at Columbia University.

Interest and contribution

Antonín Marián Svoboda has collaborated with many Czech and foreign colleagues. He has worked in Poland, Hungary, Mongolia and Slovakia. His expertise and interests were rather wide. They can be divided into three main areas:

  1. Dendrology and changes in trees following introduction into new environments
  2. The development, architecture, mapping and history of parks and botanic gardens
  3. The history of dendrology


See bibliography

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