Sweden-based former dissident bears no grudge against Kundera

A former Czech pilot now living in Sweden said he bore no ill will against Milan Kundera following reports on Monday that the writer informed on him to the secret police in the 1950s.

Miroslav Dvoracek, who spent 14 years in communist prisons, does not care who informed on him, his wife told AFP, speaking from the couple’s home in Sweden.

The ex-pilot “knew he was informed on, so who did it makes no difference to him now,” said his wife Marketa Dvoracek Novak.

Miroslav Dvoracek is now aged 80 and is in poor health after recently suffering a stroke.

“We’re not surprised” that Kundera’s name has surfaced in Czech media reports as the informant, she said, adding: Kundera “is a good writer but I am under no illusions about him as a human being.”

At the time of the communist show trials of the 1950s, in which tens of thousands of people were sentenced, Kundera went to the police to turn in Dvoracek, the weekly Respekt reported on Monday.

Dvoracek had left Czechoslovakia after the 1948 communist coup.

In a refugee camp in Germany, he was recruited by a branch of the US counter-espionage and sent back to Czechoslovakia. But his trip to his home country came to an unfortunate end.

Arrested after Kundera reportedly went to the police, Dvoracek was sentenced to 22 years in jail, although the state attorney proposed a death penalty.

He was sent to prison and then to a uranium mine, a typical destination for political prisoners at the time, spending a total of 14 years in prison.

“Among the celebrities of that era many were fanatical supporters of the Communist regime in the 1950s,” she said.

“They changed their tune after 1968 and started to preach freedom, dragging in their baggage what they had done in the 1950s,” she said.

Kundera, one of the best-known contemporary Czech writers and a French citizen since 1981, left what was then Czechoslovakia in 1975.