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Ludvík AšKenazy


AŠKENAZY, LUDVÍK (1921–1986), Czech author, playwright, and journalist. Born in Český Těšin and a Communist from his youth, Aškenazy joined the Czechoslovak Army brigade established in the U.S.S.R. during World War II. He adopted the principles of "socialist realism," which he expressed in his books, short stories, and radio plays. His works include Ulice milá a jiné reportáže z Polska ("Nice Street and Other Reports from Poland," 1950), Německé jaro ("German Spring," 1950), and his impressions of Austria, Greece, and other countries, Všude jsem potkal lidi ("I Met People Everywhere," 1955). In three volumes of short stories – Sto ohňů ("A Hundred Fires," 1952), Vysoká politika ("High Politics"; 1953), and Květnové hvězdy ("Stars in May," 1955) – Aškenazy repeatedly stresses the idea that the lives of ordinary people are influenced and determined by politics. A visit to Palestine with A. *Lustig in 1948 inspired Kde teče krev a nafta ("Where Blood and Oil Flow," 1948). In this Aškenazy gave expression to his anti-colonialism, showing scant sympathy for the emerging Jewish state.

Aškenazy often turned to the world of children and wrote some of his best stories about them, such as "Dětské etudy" ("Children's Etudes," 1955, 1966), "Ukradený měsíc" (1956, "The Stolen Moon"), also adapted for the stage as Milenci z bedny (1959, "Lovers from the Box"). Similarly he wrote the text for a book of photographs called Černá bedýnka (1960, "The Black Box") and published a collection of allegorical stories on animals for children, Psí život (1959, "The Dog's Life"). In the relatively liberal atmosphere of the 1960s he continued to write stories – Vajíčko (1963, "The Egg"), Malá vánoční povídka (1966, "A Small Christmas Story") – as well as fairy-tales for children – Putování za švestkovou vůní (1959, "Wandering toward the Plum's Scent"), Osamělý létající talíř (1963, "A Lonely Flying Saucer"), Praštěné pohádky (1966, "Dotty Fairy Tales"), Pohádka na klíč (1967, "Fairy Tale on Demand"), and Cestopis s jezevčíkem (1970, "Travel Story with a Dachshund"). In addition, he produced many radio and television scripts and was active as a playwright with Host (1960, "The Guest"), Rasputin (1967), etc. After the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia he left the country and lived in Germany, where he actively published his works in German after they were banned in Czechoslovakia. He died in Bolzano, Italy, and is buried in the Jewish cemetery there.


J. Kunc, Slovník českých spisovatelů beletristů (1957). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Slovník českých spisovatelů ("Dictionary of Czech Writers," 1982); A. Mikulášek et al., Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou ("Literature with the Shield of David"), vol. 1.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.