Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The book of tattling and forgetting

The Czech magazine Respekt has published an alleged police report from March 14 1950, stating: "Today, at around 1600 hours, a student, Milan Kundera, born 1.4. 1929 in Brno ... presented himself at this department and reported that Iva Militka ... had met ... Miroslav Dvoracek ... who had apparently deserted from military service."

The report said Dvoracek, who had illegally fled the country after the 1948 Soviet coup and was considered a traitor by the communist regime, was to pick up his case from Militka's flat that afternoon. When he went back to the flat, following the tip-off, he was seized by police. He faced the death penalty but was sentenced to 22 years in jail, of which he served 14, most of them in a hard labour camp.

Militka told Hradilek that she had informed her boyfriend and future husband Miroslav Dlask of Dvoracek's whereabouts and that he had passed the information on to his friend Kundera, then a 21-year-old university student.

It takes a lot to make him break his silence - Kundera has given few interviews in the past 25 years. But yesterday the writer well-known for his loathing of hardline communism, vehemently denied the claims, calling the attack "the assassination of an author".

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