Vaclav Havel Library, via Facebook.

Writer Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, Who Connected Czech Dissidents With The West, Dies Aged 95

Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz in 2008, with Vaclav and Ivan Havel. Photo credit: Vaclav Havel Library, via Facebook.

Prague, Nov 7 (CTK) – Writer and translator Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, who helped connect dissidents in Czechoslovakia with the West, died at the age of 95 in Vancouver on Sunday. The news was announced yesterday by Kristyna Bardova of the Post Bellum organisation, which manages an archive of memories called Paměť národa (Memory of the Nation).

As an emigre, Goetz-Stankiewicz regularly returned to Czechoslovakia, where she met dissidents, including future president Vaclav Havel.

Havel honoured Goetz-Stankiewicz with a state decoration in 2000.

Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz was born into a Czech-German-Jewish family in Liberec in 1927.

Under the Nazi occupation, her father was imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp, and her family left Czechoslovakia in September 1948 after the Communist takeover.

She later settled in Canada where she studied literature and history. She lectured in German studies and comparative literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Along with her mother, she travelled regularly to Czechoslovakia from 1973, where she met with dissidents. While doing so, she smuggled into the country books that were prohibited by the Communist regime. She also smuggled back to the West the books by dissidents, which she also translated. She wrote about the dissident movement in works such as The Silenced Theatre: Czech Playwrights without a Stage, from 1979.

In 2000, President Havel granted her the Second Degree Medal of Merit, and in 2016 she received the Jiri Theiner Award for spreading and promoting Czech literature abroad.

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