The author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being received his citizenship certificate at home on Thursday, November 28th.
The great Czech writer Milan Kundera was given back his Czech citizenship, announced Monday night at Figaro the Czech ambassador to Paris Peter Drulak in an exclusive interview.
“This is a very important symbolic gesture, a symbolic return of the greatest Czech writer in the Czech Republic,” said the diplomat, saying he gave Kundera the citizenship certificate at his home last Thursday in the presence of his wife Vera Kundera, who, he said, played a big role.
“Milan Kundera hated the ceremonies and the pathos, it was a very simple moment, but of great conviviality and human warmth, I presented him the apologies of the Czech Republic for the attacks of which he had been the target for years. He was in a good mood, just took the document and said thank you. He is a very warm man, Ambassador Drulak said. Giant of European literature, author of Joke, of Book of Laughter and Forgetting and of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Kundera was expelled from the communist party for “anti-communist activities” in 1950. He became a hate figure for the authorities and eventually fled Czechoslovakia for France in 1975.
In 1979, his Czech citizenship was revoked by the government: he became a French citizen two years later. His works were banned in his homeland until the late 80s.
Ranked second to Franz Kafka, Kundera is regarded as the most famous Czech novelist of the 20th century with the many novels that have made him one of the most prominent Nobel Prize candidates for decades. He was able to visit his home country for the first time in 1996, followed by several, although short-lived-and-transient, visits.