Franz Fühmann (1922-1984) was one of East Germany’s most widely read writers. He is also one of few that have stood the test of time. He grew up in Czechoslovakia in Rokytnice nad Jizerou, a small town in the mountains close to what was then the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. This provided the setting for several of his stories, drawing from his pre-war memories of the Sudetenland. They form part of his 1962 collection The Jew Car which is now available in English, published by Seagull Books and translated by Isabel Cole. David Vaughan
At the end of 2015 the Australian novelist and essayist Liam Pieper was Prague’s first writer-in-residence through the UNESCO City of Literature programme. His two months in Prague bore fruit. Last year Liam’s powerful and disturbing novel, The Toymaker, was published by Penguin Australia to critical acclaim. It has since been translated into several languages, including Czech. Set in Auschwitz, wartime Prague and Krakow, and contemporary Melbourne, The Toymaker grapples with the legacy of the Holocaust and reminds us of the dangers of keeping silent
Today a life peer in Britain’s House of Lords, Alfred Dubs was just six years old when he became one of over 660 Jewish children saved from Nazi-occupied Prague by Sir Nicholas Winton. The Labour politician last year made headlines for attaching an amendment to an immigration bill that offered unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain, though the UK authorities later largely abandoned the scheme. When we spoke recently in London, I asked Lord Dubs – now 85 – about his own beginnings in the UK and attitudes to refugees today. But we
Heda Margolius Kovály was a well-known writer and translator who survived the Auschwitz extermination camp and whose first husband, Rudolf Margolius, a deputy minister of foreign trade, was found guilty in the notorious Slánský show trials in what is one of the darkest chapters of in modern Czechoslovak history. In the 1970s, Heda published a memoir which has been in print ever since, but now, a new publication called “Hitler, Stalin and I”, based on four days of interviews with documentary filmmaker Helena Treštíková in 2000 and made into a film
A large brass plaque was set into the pavement in Olomouc on Tuesday to
honour the memory of more than 3,500 Jews, who were transported from the
city to extermination camps during WWII.
The ‘Stolperschwelle’, literally a ‘stumbling threshold’, has been
placed outside the elementary school in the centre of the city, from where
four transports left for the Terezín in 1942. Only about 295 people
Another 25 smaller plaques were placed into pavements in front of apartment blocks and houses, reminding the city’s residents of the victims of the Nazis who lived there.
A mass public drum session to remember the first Jewish transports from
Prague on 16 October, 1941 is set to be held in the Czech capital on
The event, called Drumming for Bubny, will take place at the former Bubny railway station, from which around 50,000 people were sent to their deaths. The drumming session has been organised by the Memorial of Silence and DOX Centre for Contemporary Art since 2015.
World War II veteran Arnošt Polák, a Czech who served with the British
RAF, has died at the age of 94. The news was announced on Thursday by the
Czech Embassy in London. The group captain passed away on September 27th;
he had received a Medal for Bravery from the Czech head of state weeks
Polák had served with the Czechoslovak-manned 311th bomber squadron, flying in the Vickers Wellington and B-24 Liberator, Euro.cz reported.