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The heroine of the week: Milena Jesenská

The Czech Centres, in cooperation with Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art of the University of Western Bohemia in Pilsen and Radio Prague International, present important women of the Czech history and the present. Every week we bring you one portrait of a heroine. The heroine of this week is the journalist, writer and translator Milena Jesenská.

Milena Jesenská

Milena Jesenská is most often remembered as a muse and friend of Franz Kafka, whose writings she translated into Czech. Nevertheless, she was also a prominent figure of First Czechoslovac Republic journalism and a writer.

Restless, temperamental, free-thinking, stubborn, unyielding, defiant - that's how her contemporaries used to describe her.
When World War II began, she became actively involved in the resistance, helping Jewish families to flee. She inspired Nicholas Winton in her efforts.

In November 1939, she was arrested for her anti-Nazi activities. The following year, she was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She died there in 1944.

In April 1995, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem recognized her as a Righteous Among the Nations.

© Radio Prague International 

© Markéta Brecherová


About the project

An illustrated mosaic of the stories of prominent Czech women - rulers, politicians, artists, scientists, and athletes – who left an important mark on history and the present day in the Czech lands and internationally. The project is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s suffrage in Czechoslovakia in 1920 and the 200th birthday of author Božena Němcová. It offers portraits of fifty distinguished female personalities as seen through the eyes of the contemporary wave of young illustrators, students of the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art at the University of West Bohemia under the guidance of their mentor and teacher Renáta Fučíková. The profiles of the selected hereoines were written by the historian Lenka Křížová and the writer Kateřina Tučková. The exhibition project will be complemented by a book of the same name, which is going to be published in autumn 2020.


Czech Heroines in Pilsen

You can currently see the exhibition České hrdinky / Czech Heroines at Ladislav Sutnar Gallery in Pilsen. The exhibition is open until August 1, 2020.

© Kamran Julfayev

© Kamran Julfayev

© Kamran Julfayev

© Kamran Julfayev




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