V krajině za zrcadlem. Političtí emigranti v poúnorovém Československu a případ Aymonin
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IN THE LAND BEYOND THE LOOKING GLASS. EMIGRES IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA AND THE AYMONIN CASE
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This article considers the unusual phenomenon of exile in Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover in 1948. It first briefly considers asylum in interwar Czechoslovakia, when, despite many Russian, Ukrainian, and German emigres in the country, the right to political asylum was not legislatively defined, being determined largely by international convention; this was so even after the war. Emigres in Czechoslovakia were granted asylum on the basis of a proposal by the Central Committee of the CPCz, modelled on an article of the Soviet Constitution and codified in the new Czechoslovak Socialist Constitution in 1960. Most Western emigres in Czechoslovakia were Greeks and Macedonians seeking asylum in the Soviet bloc after the Communist defeat in the Greek Civil War. About 12,000 came to Czechoslovakia in 1948–51. The next largest group was Italian, mostly ex-partisans, 214 of whom were in Czechoslovakia in late 1950. Then came the Yugoslavs, 152 in late 1950, opponents to the Tito regime after the split with Stalin. Among the 58 Spaniards, mostly workers and intellectuals opposed to Franco, two, Uribe and Modesto, were leading functionaries of the Spanish Communist Party. Also, 14 Americans emigrated to Czechoslovakia in the mid-1950s, as did people from other countries, including four Frenchmen, in particular the cultural attache Marcel Aymonin, another focus of the article. The author considers Aymonin in the context of Czechoslovak-French relations. Aymonin worked in Czechoslovakia as a teacher in Prague from 1933, then as cultural attache at the French Embassy, and, after the war, as head of the 'Institut Francais', Prague. In late 1949 he was transferred to Sofia. Returning to Prague in 1951 he sought asylum. The authoress seeks to explain what was behind this unexpected act, which was seized upon by Communist propaganda. She too thinks it was the result of Aymonin's opportunism, political intrigues, and, perhaps, love for Czechoslovakia. Aymonin was then employed in Czechoslovakia editing works of the French Stalinist Andre Stil and translating, before returning to France probably after 1968. By then he was already translating works by Kundera and Havel.
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