Frýd, Norbert

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FRÝD, NORBERT (Fried , also Nora F. , 1913–1976), Czech writer and journalist. Born in České Budějovice (Bohemia) into a mixed Czech-German family, he studied law and modern literature at Charles University in Prague. He was active in left-wing culture and influenced by surrealism. His professional career as a scriptwriter, as well as his personal life, was interrupted by the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He was sent to the Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, and Dachau concentration camps and was the only member of his family to survive. He recorded his experiences from the Holocaust in his novel Krabice živých (1956; "A Box of Living People"). The Protectorate's atmosphere is depicted in the story Kat nepočká (1958; "The Hangman Will Not Wait"). After the war, Frýd entered the Czechoslovak Foreign Service and spent several years in Mexico. His stay there inspired him to write the journalistic pieces Mexiko je v Americe (1952; "Mexico Is in America") and Usměvavá Guatemala (1955; "Smiling Guatemala"), the novels Studna supů (1953; "The Well of Vultures"), Prales (1965; "The Primeval Forest"), and Císařovna (1972; "The Empress") and some other works of prose. Beginning in the late 1960s Frýd published a fictionalized trilogy chronicling the life of his family and its fate. The first volume, Vzorek bez ceny a pan biskup (1966; "Sample without Value and Mister Bishop"), and the second, Hedvábné starosti (1968; "Silken Worries") deal with the time of his grandparents and parents, i.e., Bohemian Jewry in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century; the third volume Lahvová pošta (1971; "The Bottle Post"), is a testimony of the 1930s in Prague and of Frýd's stay at the Theresienstadt ghetto and other concentration camps.


Českožidovští spisovatelé v literatuře 20. století (Czech-Jewish Writers in the Literature of the 20th Century), Praha, Židovské muzeum (2000); Lexikon české literatury 1 A–G (Dictionary of Czech Literature vol. 1 a–g), Praha, Publ. House Academia (1985); V. Menclová, Norbert Frýd, Praha, Čs. spisovatel (1981)

[Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]