Jaroslava Moserova is a woman of many talents. She is best known to many Czechs for her translations, in particular the novels of Dick Francis. For several years she was also a Czech senator and prior to that a member of the lower house of parliament, and also Czech ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. As if that weren't enough she has also had a long career as a burns specialist and was the first doctor to treat Jan Palach, the Czech student who set himself alight on Wenceslas Square in 1969. But here Jaroslava Moserova remembers back to a time before all that, when she was a little girl, growing up in wartime occupied Prague.
"During the war we lost many friends, but we didn't lose any family members. We lived in a nice house from which all our Jewish friends disappeared and were replaced by the Nazi elite. And one of the families had a little boy whose name was Werner. He was a little boy who wore the Nazi leather shorts and a knife at his side, and to us - the other children who lived in the house - he was the devil incarnate, he was a fiend. We hated him because he plagued the other children and they of course didn't dare to fight back. We truly hated him.
"And then came the end of the war, and many of the top Germans - the worst - were taken from our house to a school from which we heard shots. It was not very nice. When I was leaving the house one day, this little boy, whom we hated so much, ran towards me, caught me by the skirt, his eyes were streaming, his nose was running. He said, 'Miss, miss, please do something! My mother and father were taken to the school and I am afraid they will kill them.'
"There was nothing to be done, of course. But at that very moment, when I looked at the little boy, he was no longer the devil incarnate. He was just a little boy, who was born at the wrong time in the wrong family, and that was the moment when I realized that there is nothing to hate but hate itself."