Around the turn of the century in Olmütz, a small town in the Czech Republic, (known as Olomouc in present day) a Jewish community flourished. With its impeccable examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture and connection to the Hapsburg Empire, it was known as the “Moravian Rome”. However, its young people were increasingly turning to cosmopolitan Vienna for intellectual stimulation. When the onset of World War I sent many of them home to Olmütz, they tried to maintain that high level of cultural exchange they had experienced in the Kaiserstadt.
Based on interviews with award-winning filmmaker Helena Treštíková, Hitler, Stalin and I (DoppelHouse Press, 2018) is the oral history of Heda Margolius Kovály. In the book Heda recounts her experiences under fascist and communist oppression in 20th century Czechoslovakia. In the following interview, Treštíková and Kovály’s son and translator Ivan Margolius give more context to the book and its publication.