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Reflections of Prague: Journeys Through the 20th Century



Reflections of Prague: Journeys Through the 20th Century

Ivan Margolius

ISBN: 978-1-118-38732-0 August 2012 320 Pages


Reflections of Prague is the story of how a Czech Jewish family become embroiled in the most tragic and tumultuous episodes of the twentieth century.  Through their eyes we see the history of their beloved Prague, a unique European city, and the wider, political forces that tear their lives apart. Their moving story traces the major events, turmoil, oppression and triumphs of Europe through the last hundred years – from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the First World War; from the vibrant artistic and intellectual life of Prague in the times of Kafka, the Capek Brothers and Masaryk to years of hunger in a Polish ghetto and the concentration camps of Hitler; from the tyrannous rule of Stalin to the rekindled hopes of Dubcek and the subsequent Soviet occupation to liberation under Havel. Told from Ivan’s perspective, it is a poignant but uplifting tale that tells of life lived with purpose and conviction, in the face of personal suffering and sacrifice.

‘A remarkable book. This archetypical story of the twentieth century is intertwined with an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative of the history of the Czechs, of Prague, interspersed with samples of exquisite poetry by great contemporary poets. So the narrative flows like Eliot’s sweet Thames full of the debris of tragic lives, of horrors, of moments of beauty and testimonies of love – all against the backdrop of man’s inhumanity.’ Josef Škvorecký

‘A poignant and vivid mémoire of a child searching for traces of his father, lost in the murky ideologies of post war Central Europe.  An engrossing book.’ Sir John Tusa


1. Journey with my Lost Father.

2. Lonely Times.

3. The Safety of Bratislava.

4. Rudolf.

5. Heda.

6. Rudolf: Into Adulthood.

7. Heda: Life’s Endings and Beginnings.

8. Between the Wars.

9. An Impotent Army.

10. Chances of Survival.

11. Transport to Lódz.

12. A Stumble out of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

13. Return to Prague.

14. From Idealism into Self-Destruction.

15. Politics Taking Over.

16. Stranded in the Forcefully Distorted Economy.

17. The Soviets Arrive.

18. Journeys of Misunderstanding.

19. Towards Manufactured Guilt.

20. Ways into Detention.

21. To Nowhere.

22. In the Name of the Party.

23. Making Trade.

24. Ruzyne› Interlude.

25. The Theatre of Absurdity.

26. A Trip to the Land of No Return.

27. The Last Journey.

28. Sinking Deeper.

29. Towards Beauty.

30. A Walk from School.

31. Youthful Dreams.

32. The Emergence of Truth.

33. Living Anew.


Families and Friends, Artists and Writers, Defendants,

Politicians and Interrogators.



"...stands as an important testimony to tragic times..." (The Prague Post, July 2006)

"It's a memorable story which stays in the mind long after the last page has been turned." (Nottingham Evening Post, December 2006)