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Seifert’s Treatment

In response to:

A Little History Lesson from the November 22, 1984 issue

To the Editors:

The treatment of Jaroslav Seifert in his native Czechoslovakia adds a sad postscript to Milan Kundera’s article [NYR, November 22, 1984]. Up to last September, the police routinely confiscated his poems as corpus delecti during house searches. The charges against Jirina Siklová, a sociologist, included attempting to send Seifert’s manuscripts and documentation about him to the Nobel prize nominating committee; she was detained for nearly a year. The eighty-two-year-old Seifert, the only Czechoslovak Nobel laureate in literature, the last president of the Writers’ Union dissolved in 1969, and a signatory of the human rights manifesto, Charter ’77, remains bedridden in a Plague hospital. According to samizdat sources, access to him is barred by two policemen, barely disguised by their white coats.

Zdenka Brodska

Mary Hrabik Samal

Farmington Hills, Michigan