Czech the Issues - Arnošt Lustig
01.07.2010 / 13:01
(Archivní článek, platnost skončena 27.03.2013 / 13:01.)
62nd Anniversary of the Israeli Independence From the Perspective of the Czech Corespondent at that Time
featuring Arnošt Lustig
Arnošt Lustig is a renowned Czech Jewish author of novels, short stories, plays, and screenplays whose works have often involved the Holocaust.
As a Jewish boy in Czechoslovakia during World War II, he was sent in 1942 to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, from where he was later transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, followed by time in the Buchenwald concentration camp. In 1945, he escaped from a train carrying him to the Dachau concentration camp when the engine was mistakenly destroyed by an American fighter-bomber. He returned to Prague in time to take part in the May 1945 anti-Nazi uprising.
After the war, he studied journalism at Charles University in Prague and then worked for a number of years at Radio Prague. He worked as a journalist in Israel at the time of its War of Independence where he met his future wife, who at the time was a volunteer with the Haganah. He was one of the major critics of the Communist regime in June 1967 at the 4th Writers Conference, and gave up his membership in the Communist Party after the 1967 Middle East war, to protest his government's breaking of relations with Israel. However, following the Soviet-led invasion that ended the Prague Spring in 1968, he left the country, first to Israel, then Yugoslavia and later in 1970 to the United States. After the fall of eastern European communism in 1989, he divided his time between Prague and Washington, D.C., where he continued to teach at the American University. After his retirement from the American University in 2003, he became a full-time resident of Prague. He was given an apartment in the Prague Castle by then President Václav Havel and honored for his contributions to Czech culture on his 80th birthday in 2006. In 2008, Lustig became the eighth recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize.
His most renowned books are A Prayer For Katerina Horovitzova (1964, filmed in 1965), Dita Saxová (1962, trans. 1979, filmed in 1968), Night and Hope (1957, trans. 1985, filmed as Transport from Paradise in 1962), Diamonds of the Night (1958, filmed in 1964) and Lovely Green Eyes (2004).