Julius Tomin

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For the supporter of Interlingua, see Július Tomin (Interlingua)
Julius Tomin
Born December 2, 1938
Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia
Residence England
Education PhD in philosophy, 1965
Alma mater Charles University, Prague
Known for Underground seminars, Jan Hus Educational Foundation
Spouse(s) Zdena Holubova (m. 1962)
Doina Cornell (m. 1999)
Children Three sons, one daughter
Relatives Michaela Marksová-Tominová (niece)
Website www.juliustomin.org

Julius Tomin (born December 2, 1938) is a Czech philosopher. He became known in the 1970s and 1980s for his involvement with the Jan Hus Educational Foundation, which ran an underground education network in the former Czechoslovakia, offering seminars in philosophy in people's homes.[1]

Barbara Day writes that Tomin studied English and Russian in the 1940s and 50s. He agreed with Tolstoy's and Gandhi's views on non-violence, and refused to do military service, for which he served a prison sentence. He then tried to leave the country for Sweden, but was caught and served an additional year. He took a job as a forester when released, and worked as a ward assistant in a psychiatric hospital, where he met his first wife, a therapist, whom he married in 1962.[2]

He was interested in philosophy, and wrote to Milan Machovec of Charles University, Prague, who arranged for him to register for a doctorate. He obtained his PhD and became a junior fellow in the university's philosophy department from 1966 to 1970. In 1969–1970 he held a visiting professorship at the University of Hawaii. Day writes that he was refused an academic position when he returned, after associating himself with the reform Communists. He worked instead as a turbine operator, but according to Day was sacked when he was discovered teaching philosophy to his colleagues. He then worked as a nightwatchman in a zoo.[2]

He became a signatory to Charter 77 in December 1976, which made him a further target of suspicion, and began holding philosophy seminars in his apartment in 1977.[3] After asking for academic support for his seminars in 1978 from universities in England, Germany, and the United States, philosophers from the University of Oxford set up the Jan Hus Educational Foundation to help send books and speakers. Several of the philosophers who attended these home seminars, including Jacques Derrida, were detained by the police and asked to leave the country.[4]

Tomin travelled with his family to the UK in August 1980, with the help of Kathy Wilkes, the Oxford philosopher, after receiving permission to study abroad. In May 1981 his Czech passport was removed by the Czech Embassy in London, and he was told he and his wife no longer had Czech citizenship. As of 2011 he remains a British resident.[5]

His niece is Michaela Marksová-Tominová, current minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic.[6]

Selected articles[edit]

  • Tomin, Julius. "Inside the Security State," New Statesman, March 7, 1980.
  • Tomin, Julius. "Socratic Midwifery", '"The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 37, No 1, 1987.


  1. ^ Day, Barbara. The Velvet Philosophers. The Claridge Press, 1999, p. 18ff.
  2. ^ a b Day, 1999, pp. 18–19.
  3. ^ Pilger, John. Heroes. South End Press, 2002, p. 468.
  4. ^ Hills, Nicholas. "Oxford dons battle Czech secret police", The Montreal Gazette: p. 77. June 4, 1980.
  5. ^ For the passport and citizenship, see Pilger 2002, p. 472.
    • For his living in the UK, see "Brief biography", juliustomin.org, accessed April 19, 2011.
  6. ^ http://www.cssd.cz/media/cssd-v-mediich/m-marksova-tominova-pro-mf-dnes/

Further reading[edit]