A Sister, a Brother, and Christmas 1948

A Sister, a Brother, and Christmas 1948


Charles (Karel) Novacek, 1947

Vlasta Jakubová, the sister of my late husband Charles (Karel) Novacek was born on March 13, 1925 in Oždany, Slovakia. During World War II she was engaged in the Czech resistance as a contact to her uncle, Colonel Josef Robotka. After February 1948, she joined the anticommunist resistance, again working with her uncle. She was arrested for this “treasonous” activity on August 6, 1949 and ultimately given an eighteen year prison sentence. Vlasta stayed at Cejl, Znojmo, Ruzyně and Pardubice prisons and work camps at Minkovice and Chrastava. In 1959 she was set free on probation.

Many years later Vlasta wrote the following in a letter about Charles and how his disappearance from Czechoslovakia in 1948 affected his family at Christmastime.

“I did not look forward to this Christmas, because I was spooked of how to explain everything to our mom. [that Charles had fled Czechoslovakia]. . . I had Karel’s  photograph blown up, put it into the golden frame and placed it under the Christmas tree. Naturally everything went wrong, the Christmas was the saddest we ever had. We could not soothe our mum, she was crying night and day. We were not able to explain it to her. She did not believe Karel was okay and alive. She insisted on saying she had a dream and that she believed in it and that something bad must have happened to him.”

Read more about Vlasta and Charles in his award-winning memoir of World War II and the Cold War, Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance, Ten21 Press, 2012.

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