“I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.” ~ Václav Havel
Václav Havel (October 5, 1936 – December 18, 2011) was born into a grand bourgeois and intellectual family, the son of Václav Maria Havel and Božena (Vavrečková). His father and uncle pioneered the film industry, co-founding Barrandov Studios, modeled after Hollywood. Meanwhile, his grandfather was an ambassador and renowned journalist. From this esteemed background, Havel went to one of the best prep schools in the country, where future Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman was a fellow student. However, 1948 brought the communists to power, and Havel was expelled from school and banned from studying anything connected to the arts. The government appropriated his family’s country estate, cinema, film studio, and all but two rooms of their mansion in Prague. During this tumultuous time, Havel never sacrificed truth and justice as lies and hatred, fed by the ruling regime, began to infest the country. Little did they know that one day he would transform the nation and the world through his powerful words and actions.
Photo © Oldřich Škácha
2005 – Václav Havel in his office in Voršilská Street