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Pavel, Ota

PAVEL, OTA (Otto Popper; 1930–1973), Czech author, fiction writer, and journalist. Pavel was born in Prague into a mixed Czech-Jewish family. His father and two brothers were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Pavel worked as a miner and later as an editor at sports magazines, where he published many articles. His stories and novels, which move between reality and fiction, touched both sports and his own experience. These include Dukla among the Skyscrapers (1964); A Box Full of Champagne (1967); and The Cup from the Lord (1971). Later he published collections of autobiographical stories, such as Death of the Beautiful Deer (1971), which recounts in a humorous way the life of his family in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and How I Came to Know Fish (1974) from the post-war era. A key figure in most of his stories is his assimilated Jewish father, Leo, who is portrayed – as is the whole family – with understanding and tolerance. His collected works (seven volumes), including many unknown or yet unpublished stories, appeared in the Czech Republic until 2002. Karel Kachyňa's films Death of the Beautiful Deer and The Golden Eels and the TV movie Carps for Wehrmacht are based on Pavel's stories. Some of his works were translated into English, German, and Hebrew.


A. Mikulášek, Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou, vol. 1 (1998); O. Pavel, Jak šel táta Afrikou (1994) with preface by Arnošt Lustig on Pavel's relation to Judaism; V. Pavlová, Vzpomínky na Otu Pavla (1993); Slovník českých spisovatelů (2000).