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Letter e-mailed to the Editor: The New York Times

  • Date: 9 Jun, 2008 at 10:22AM,
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  • “Memo From Prague — 3 Czech Friends, Cast as Heroes and as Murderers” by Dan Bilefsky (June 2, 2008)

    And what about those left behind?

    by Jana Svehlova

As your correspondent Mr. Dan Bilefsky (June 2, 2008) mentions in his article “Memo from Prague…,” Mr. Janata and Mr. Sveda, friends of the Masins and Paumer, were caught and executed in Prague.

I am not knowledgeable enough to judge whether the brothers Mašín and Mr. Paumer deserve medals from the Czech Prime Minister or not, but I would appreciate a sign of empathy for their executed friends as well as those family members who stayed behind.

I met the daughter of Mr. Václav Švéda and saw the photograph of her smiling parents on their wedding day. Her parents’ happiness ended when Mr. Švéda was caught. After he and his wife were tortured for 19 months in the interrogation room, Mrs. Švédová went to prison for 10 years and Mr. Švéda to the gallows. At that time their son was 4 and their daughter was 7 years old.

Today, that 7 year old girl is Mrs. Švédová — Zouharová, a middle-aged woman who lives in a small village in the Czech Republic. How does she feel when those who were lucky to escape receive medals, yet her father’s name is mentioned just in passing that he was executed?