Embassy of the Czech Republic - Celebrating the Life of Arnost Lustig
April 14, 2011
7 pm
Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW, Washington, DC 20008

The Embassy of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) invites you to a celebration of the life of Arnošt Lustig on April 14, 2011 at 7 pm.  The evening will include the screening of documentary films by Lustig's son and daughter, as well as remarks from the Embassy, SVU President V?ra Bo?kovcová, friends and relatives.

Arnošt Lustig passed away on February 26, 2011. We hope that you will share in this evening of honoring the life of a legendary man who in the face of such tragedy brought humor and vivacity to those around him.  

Photo credit: Chad Evans Wyatt

Light refreshments will be served after the event.

R.S.V.P. to czech_events@yahoo.com with "Arnost Lustig" in the subject lineby April 13, 2011.

Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW, Washington, DC 20008

My Daddy and His Favorite Concentration Camps (M?j fotr a jeho nejoblíben?jší koncentráky)

Dir: Josef Lustig, 58 min, in Czech with English subtitles

Writer Arnošt Lustig, together with son Josef and grandson Vias, sets out for an expedition to Nazi concentration camps, which he passed through as a prisoner during the war years (1942–1945). He finds out that his shocking experiences are hardly transferrable even to his family.

Within the event, a 10-minute excerpt of the documentary Your Tear, My Rain(Tvoje slza, m?j déš?) by Arnošt Lustig's daughter Eva will be screened. The documentary is still currently in production and is in Czech with English subtitles.

Arnošt Lustig's Biography:

Born in Prague in 1926, the teenage Lustig survived Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald Nazi concentration camps before he managed to escape from a train that was transporting him to Dachau in 1945. However, the train's engine was destroyed by an American bomber. Many members of Lustig's family died in the Holocaust; his mother and sister survived. His experiences were reflected in his short stories and novels where his characters fight to retain human dignity in the midst of Holocaust horrors.

Lustig studied journalism and covered the 1948 Arab-Israeli war for Czech radio. He began to publish in the late 1950s, and his well-known works include A Prayer for Katerina Horowitzova, Diamonds of the Night, The Unloved: From the Diary of Perla S., Darkness Cast No Shadow, Lovely Green Eyes and Dita Saxova. Some of the works were made into films.

When the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia crushed the liberal reforms of Alexander Dub?ek and ended an era known as the Prague Spring in 1968, Lustig fled his homeland and, after a stay in Israel, he settled in Washington, D.C., where he became a professor of literature at American University. After the collapse of communism in 1989, Lustig visited Prague on a regular basis and later returned to live there. In a surprise move, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Czech language version of Playboy magazine in 1995.

Lustig was twice awarded the National Jewish Book Award. In 1994, he received a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for exceptional accomplishment. In 2009, he was among the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize and was awarded the prestigious Czech Franz Kafka Prize the year before.

Arnošt Lustig died on February 26, 2011, at the age of 84. He is survived by a son, Josef, and a daughter, Eva.

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