Queer Places:
Národní obrany 15, 160 00 Praha 6-Dejvice, Czechia

Ladislav Fuks (September 24, 1923 in Prague – August 19, 1994 in Prague) was a Czech novelist. He focused mainly on psychological novels, portraying the despair and suffering of people under German occupation of Czechoslovakia. During his life, he had to hide his homosexual orientation, Christian faith and opposition to the regime.

Fuks was born in Prague on September 24, 1923, the only child of Vaclav Fuks (a police officer) and Marie Frycková Fuksová.[1] This gentle, almost hypersensitive boy thus grew up in a strict atmosphere. As he recalls in his memoirs, his father was a "big cop." This was what caused him some problems in finding friends and joining his peers. However, homosexuality also played a role here, which he had to anxiously hide from his parents and others as a teenager.

He studied the Gymnasium in Truhlářšká ulice, where he also first witnessed Nazi persecution of his Jewish friends. In 1942 he was forced to be a caretaker in Hodonín, as a part of the Arbeitseinsatz. Later he studied philosophy, psychology and art history at the Philosophical faculty of Charles University in Prague, where, in 1949, he received a doctorate. After his studies, he was a member of the National heritage administration and after 1959 he worked in the national gallery. He became a professional writer in the 1960s. He attracted much attention with his debut work, Pan Theodor Mundstock (Mr. Theodore Mundstock), published in 1963, and a year later with his short story collection Mí černovlasí bratři (My dark-haired brothers).[1][2] During the communist period, Fuks said he "preferred to choose conciliatoriness and toleration over reckless defiance and courage to fall in the resistance" (raději volil smířlivost a toleranci před bezhlavým vzdorem a odvahou padnout v odporu).

In addition to his homosexuality, Ladislav Fuks also concealed his faith, which, however, contradicted his orientation. He hid his nature, which was an absolute taboo at the time. His sense of rift, fear, and anxiety grew, and he confessed to having schizophrenic features. He tried not only to escape from loneliness and lack of freedom, but also from Czechoslovakia, when in 1964 he married the Italian Giuliana Limiti. His wife came from an important and influential family, as evidenced by the congratulations to the wedding from the chairman of the Italian Communist Party, Palmiro Toglatti, but also Pope Paul VI. However, the marriage did not last long. After a few days, Ladislav Fuks returned to Prague, which caused a great international uproar. Ladislav Fuks really wanted to settle in Italy, he had a number of things moved there, including part of his library. He wanted to break out of the dark uniqueness and live a normal life. However, he could not suppress his nature. Arnošt Lustig even writes in his book About Writers that Fuks disappeared during a wedding reception (allegedly behind a Romanian waiter).

Some of his work from the 1970s is strongly linked to the era in which it was created; for example, Návrat z žitného pole (The Return from the Rye Field) is a novel targeted against emigration after the 1948 communist coup. He was also a member of the socialist Union of Czech Writers (Svaz českých spisovatelů). Although he obtained some international recognition, in the last years of his life he was left alone and friendless. He died in 1994 in his Prague apartment in the Dejvice neighborhood, at Národní obrany no. 15.

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