We’re Still at War
The publication’s authors approached leading Czech and Slovak comics artists, selected 13 noteworthy recorded recollections from the archive of the Memory of Nations internet project and created something unique not just on the Czech comics scene but in the field of popularising our history.
The comics recount the life stories of people who are for the most part no longer alive. The stories deal with the conflicts of specific individuals with totalitarian power and are as colourful as life itself – they take in victories and defeats, great acts of heroism and human weakness (and coming to terms with the latter). One of the publication’s heroes is Tomáš Sedláček. Alongside him in the story We’re Still At War, from which the collection takes its title, you will experience the cruelty of the Eastern Front and the despair of Communist jails. In the comics based on Jiřina Tvrdíková’s testimony you can learn how it is to “comb the white bear” and that many Czechoslovak citizens were also imprisoned in the Gulag.
For his part, Rudolf Bělohoubek recounts how both his parents were murdered in the post-war wild expulsion of Germans. In the story 15 Years in a Barn you will experience from the eyes of Václav Jakeš his interminable concealment from the Communist police on a farm owned by the Peckový family. The story The Boy Hasn’t Done Anything is about the tough decision faced by Miluška Havlůjová as to whether she should collaborate with the Communist State Security or spend four years in prison, which meant four years of separation from her two-year-old son. The Last Year, based on the story of Zdeněk Mikeš, depicts a dramatic escape “to the West” by students of a military aviation academy. Other parts focus on the normalisation period, while the characters even include a State Security collaborator – the story of an StB man who discusses his own failings was rendered in comics form in Smarter Than Them by Tomáš Kučerovský.
ÚSTR, Post Bellum, Argo, Karolinum, Prague 2017, 1st edition, bound, 180 pages, ISBN 978-80-87912-63-8 (ÚSTR), ISBN 978-80-257-2090-5 (Argo), 978-80-246-3728-0 (Karolinum), 978-80-905250-4-7 (Post Bellum)
The book We’re Still at War may be purchased on the website of publishers Kosmas.cz.