Czechast With Holocaust Historian Anna Hájková

Anna Hájková

Dr. Anna Hájková is a Czech historian educated in Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book "The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt", published in English by Oxford University Press. In this episode of Czechast she talks very openly about why she finds life in Britain easier than in Czechia.

Anna's own family lived through some very tragic and dramatic times in history:

"My grandfather was sentenced to death in 1944 or 1945. He survived only incidentally because of the Prague Uprising in May 1945."

These days, Anna lives with her French architect wife in London and teaches at the University of Warwick. She speaks very candidly about her experiences, shedding light on the challenges she has faced, including the sexism prevalent in Czech society, and the obstacles encountered by a queer, leftist, Jewish woman in Czechia:

"My wife and I have talked about it many times. She told me: 'Czechia is even more sexist than France!' And she is someone who left France because it was so sexist."

Among other things that she points out about her native country is the fact that the Czech Senate failed to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence:

The Last Ghetto: An Everyday History of Theresienstadt | Photo: Oxford University Press

"You could start asking questions like: 'What does hesitation concerning the Istanbul Convention tell us? Does it mean that the Czech politicians are more gender-conservative than the general population? I honestly do not know."

And as with most other guests of Czechast, we discuss how she feels about her identity:

"I feel like a lot of things and I feel like a hybrid. I feel like an Eastern European in Britain. I feel like a Jew in Britain. I feel like a 'leftie' surrounded by dogmatic idiots. I miss Czechia and at the same time, I am frustrated by Czechia. I also try to live a virtuous life and I try not to hurt myself."

Author: Vít Pohanka
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