- communism - Czech Republic - history - literature
Marketa Dvoracek-Novak, whose husband spent 22 years in prison in the former Czechoslovakia after being exposed as a Western spy, said she knew of no connection between him and his alleged denouncer – the author Milan Kundera.
In an interview with France 24, Dvoracek-Novak also said she doubted the “so-called evidence” being used in the claims against Kundera, an acclaimed writer who left Czechoslovakia for France in 1975 and took French citizenship in 1981.
Dvoracek-Novak said she first heard about Kundera’s possible involvement about the denunciation in July. “I thought it was very strange. I never knew Mike [the name Dvoracek goes under now] had ever known or seen him [Kundera]. We didn’t pay much attention to that,” she said. “Then we got the so-called evidence. I don’t know how reliable it is. I saw the document from the police. It remains to be proven [whether it is] real, but for Mike and for me it makes no difference."
The Czech-born Kundera, whose work includes darkly comic portrayals of life under Stalinism, has strongly denied a claim Monday that he denounced Miroslav Dvoracek, a young pilot who deserted after the 1948 communist coup but was recruited by US counter-espionage in a refugee camp in Germany and sent back to spy in his homeland, to the communist police in 1950.
Dvoracek was arrested and, though he escaped a death penalty, was sentenced to 22 years in prison. In 1952, like many political prisoners at the time, he was sent to work at a uranium mine. After his release in 1963, he left for Sweden where he now lives.
Dvoracek said never knew who denounced her husband, and that it made little difference to her.
“It really doesn’t [make] any difference whether the denouncer was a very famous person or someone not at all known,” Dvoracek-Novak told France 24 in an interview on Tuesday. Dvoracek “spent 14 years in the uranium mines and he [lived] a living hell. And now he has suffered a severe stroke and lost his speech, and he cannot comment.”
“It was 58 years ago. Nobody ever admitted it was him/her [self] who denounced him.”