Jaroslava Moserova (1930-2006)

A long-time SVU member who attended practically all its functions, veteran politician, doctor and literary translator Jaroslava Moserova passed away in the early hours of Friday morning, April 10, 2006, after a long illness. She was 76.

She was something of a renaissance woman and her extraordinarily varied career defies easy description. She was a significant figure in Czech life in the fields of politics, where she stood as a presidential candidate in 2003, and in diplomacy: she was an ambassador in Australia and New Zealand and a prominent member of UNESCO.

In medicine she was a top skin specialist, and in literature she excelled as playwright, translator and illustrator.

She became one of Czechoslovakia’s leading experts in caring for burn victims and skin grafting. That specialty did became profoundly political for a few days in January 1969, however, when she was called in to treat Jan Palach, a student who had set fire to himself in Wenceslas Square in Prague a few months after Warsaw Pact troops had invaded Czecho-slovakia to suppress political reform.

She was above all a powerful voice of conscience in Czech society, articulating her generationís struggle to come to terms with the com-promises of life lived mostly under communism, and the new challenges of a postcommunist society which sometimes seemed to have lost all moral bearings.

Her sudden passing was a shock to everyone and she will sorely be missed. Only a few days earlier she was in correspondence with the organizers of the 2006 SVU World Congress which she was planning to attend.