Arnost Lustig (1926-2011)

Arnošt Lustig, a long-time SVU member, renowned novelist and journalist, passed away at the age of 84 on February 26, 2011. He was born on 21 December 1926 in Prague.

At the age of 16, he was sent to a ghetto at Terezín and he had survived the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Auschwitz. He escaped the Nazi death transport to Dachau in April 1945.

The Holocaust madness liquidated most of his family, which affected his further life and his literary works. He wrote over 50 books.

In 1968, after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Arnošt Lustig escaped again, first to Israel, later lived also in Chroatia, and in 1970 he settled in the United States. His name was forbidden in his home country then. He lectured literature, film, and script writing at the American University in Washington D.C., where he also obtained his professorship in 1978.

After the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989, he returned to his homeland and lived in Prague. His novel Lovely Green Eyes was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Ewald Osers’ translation thereof has had an enormous success in Britain. In 2004, Arnošt was awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2008, he received the international Franz Kafka Prize.