Václav Havel

Václav Havel

Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
Death 18 Dec 2011 (aged 75)
Hradek, Okres Frýdek-Místek, Moravskoslezský (Moravian-Silesian), Czech Republic
Burial Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic
Plot Havel Family Plot
Memorial ID 82101984 · View Source
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Czech Statesman. Writer. Born the son of Bozena and Václav Havel, a civil engineer and commercial real estate developer. They lost most of their holdings after the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. As a member of the Czech upper class, the regime denied him access to university, and he began his career as a laboratory technician. In 1957, he began writing plays, his work was first publicly performed in 1963 with a production of “The Garden Party.”During the Prague Spring of 1968 he wrote, “On the Theme of an Opposition,” an article that advocated the end of single-party rule, that communism could not be 'reformed.' In August of that year, the Soviets invaded, crushing the reform movement. In August 1969, Havel circulated a petition that repudiated normalization of ties with the Soviet Union. He was labeled a subversive, and in 1970 his writing was banned. In a 1975 open letter to the political head of the country, he attacked the regime, labeling the Czechoslovak system “political apartheid.” In 1977, he was an organizer of Charter 77, which called for the human rights guaranteed under the 1975 Helsinki accords. He was arrested and convicted of subversion; he served three months in prison. A second arrest in May 1979 on the same charge, led to a sentence of four and a half years. During the 1980s, he refused government pressure to emigrate. Eight days after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, he convened a meeting with other dissidents and established the Civic Forum which called for the resignation of the leading Communists, and the release of all political prisoners. The following day, almost a quarter million people demonstrated in the streets in Prague, the first of several demonstrations that led to the end of Communist rule; the so-called Velvet Revolution. He became the first and only president of the post soviet era Czechoslovakia, and in 1992 when the Czech Republic and Slovakia began the mechanics of separating, he resigned his post. He was then elected president of the new Czech Republic, and immediately made clear his Western affinities, courting American financial and technical assistance to help his country compete in the world market. He led his country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later. He also championed, the rights of the Roma within the republic, and formed a commission to inquire into the expulsion of three million Sudeten Germans after WWII, counter to popular feeling. He stepped down as president in 2003, and his memoir, “To the Castle and Back,” published in 2007. He produced a play, “Leaving,” in 2008. He succumbed to respiratory disease at age 75 at his country house in Bohemia. A state funeral followed, presided over by the Archbishop of Prague. After a popular campaign, it was announced that the Prague airport would be renamed the Václav Havel Airport Prague in October 2012. That same year, his widow, authorized the creation of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, to be awarded to “celebrate those who engage in creative dissent, exhibiting courage and creativity to challenge injustice and live in truth.”

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ruggero
  • Added: 17 Dec 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 82101984
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Václav Havel (5 Oct 1936–18 Dec 2011), Find a Grave Memorial no. 82101984, citing Hřbitov Vinohrady, Prague, Okres Praha, Prague Capital City, Czech Republic ; Maintained by Find A Grave .