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 Heda Kovaly

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Heda Kovaly

  • Birth 15 Sep 1919 Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
  • Death 5 Dec 2010 Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
  • Burial Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
  • Memorial ID 62724236

Author, Holocaust Survivor. She penned a best-selling account of life under two totalitarian regimes. Born to a well-off family, she was raised in Prague under comfortable circumstances until the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia in 1941; shipped to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, she was transferred to Auschwitz in 1944, where her parents were executed. After a time at Christianstadt, she escaped in 1945 and was eventually able to rejoin her husband Rudolf Margolius, who had survived both Auschwitz and Dachau. Back in Prague, Mr. Margolius became deputy trade minister and an enthusiastic Communist, while Heda was a much more reluctant Party member. In 1952, Mr. Margolius was caught up in the Slansky conspiracy and, after a show trial, hanged. Heda married Pavel Kovaly (deceased 2006) in 1955 and for a number of years worked as a translator of foreign literature into Czech. She rejected a 1963 offer of a behind the scenes clearing of her first husband's name, feeling that the gesture should have been public. She and Mr. Kovaly emigrated to England and thence to America in 1967, with Heda working as a librarian at Harvard Law School while her husband was a professor at the University. In 1973 she published "The Victors and the Vanquished" an account living under both the Nazis and the Communists. The book was re-released in 1986 with its better known title "Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague, 1941-1968", then in 1988 printed in England as "Prague Farewell". She and Mr. Kovaly returned home in 1996, where she was to spend the rest of her days in an unsuccessful quest for an open exoneration of Mr. Margolius. Mrs. Kovaly died following a long illness.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 9 Dec 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 62724236
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Heda Kovaly (15 Sep 1919–5 Dec 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 62724236, citing New Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic ; Maintained by Find A Grave .