Saturday, February 26, 2011

Member of Prague Faculty, Arnost Lustig, dies

Arnost Lustig has passed. He was a permanent member of the faculty of the WMU English Department's Prague Summer Program from its inception and worked with many of our students. A good friend of Vaclav Havel, he and Havel were recipients a few years ago of honorary doctorates from WMU, and he visited WMU and read from his works in October 2008. Arnost was a Holocaust survivor who wrote, his entire life, from that experience. He won numerous awards, among them the Karl Capek Award and Jewish National Book Award, and he was short-listed for the Nobel Prize for Literature. 
Arnost Lustig was born in Prague in 1926. In 1942 he was sent by the Nazis to Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz, where his father died in the gas chambers, and finally to Buchenwald. He left Czechoslovakia after the Soviet occupation in 1968. He settled in 1970 in Washington D. C., where he was Professor of Literature at the American University. He is leaving a lasting legacy in his books: The Unloved, Diamonds of the Night, A Prayer for Katerina Horovitzova, The Bitter Smell of Almonds, Children of the Holocaust, Darkness Casts no Shadows, Dita Saxova, Fire on Water: Porgess and the Abyss, The House of Returned Echoes, Indecent Dreams, Lovely Green Eyes: A Novel, The Unloved: (From the Diary of Perla S.), and Night and Hope.

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