Goldstuecker, Eduard

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GOLDSTUECKER, EDUARD (1913–2000), Czech literary historian and critic, author, and diplomat. Goldstuecker was born in Podbiel, Slovakia. In his youth he was active in the Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir movement in Slovakia but later became a Communist. Following the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, Goldstuecker fled to England, where he studied at Oxford. In 1945 he returned to Prague, joined his country's diplomatic service, and, after a tour of duty in London, was appointed Czechoslovakia's first minister to Israel (1949–51). Goldstuecker later figured in the *Slánský trial and in 1952 was sentenced to life imprisonment for "anti-state" activities. Released after four years, he was appointed professor of the history of German literature at Charles University in Prague in 1963 (vice rector 1968–69). An outspoken critic of the Party's interference in cultural affairs, Goldstuecker published a collection of studies on Franz *Kafka, Na téma Franz Kafka (On Franz Kafka, 1964). He organized two international conferences on Kafka and on Prague's German literature in Liblice in 1963 and 1965. As a result of his efforts Kafka, who until then was taboo in the Communist world, was "rehabilitated" in Czechoslovakia and some other states of the Communist bloc. After the liberalization of the Czechoslovak regime in January 1968, Goldstuecker was elected president of the Czechoslovak Writers' Union and a member of the Czech National Council. After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, Goldstuecker was a major target of criticism by the anti-liberal elements. He left the country and accepted a visiting professorship at the University of Sussex (1969–78) and the University of Brighton (1978–90), England. In 1970 Goldstuecker was one of several Czechoslovak public figures accused of being agents of "Zionism and Imperialism" and tried in absentia. Goldstuecker for his part maintained that his Jewish origin was a major reason for his persecution by "Stalinist ruling circles" in Czechoslovakia. He returned to Prague in 1991.

Goldstuecker published dozens of studies and articles on Prague's German literature and its major figures, such as Franz Kafka, Franz *Werfel, R.M. Rilke, and E.E. *Kisch, including Rainer Maria Rilke and Franz Werfel (1960) with prefaces and epilogues to translations from German literature (Thomas *Mann, Karl *Kraus, etc.). He also edited works by J.W. Goethe. During his second exile, (1969–91) he published The Czech National Revival, the Germans and the Jews (1973) and Prozesse: Erfahrungen eines Mitteleuropäers (Trials: Experiences of an Inhabitant of Central Europe, 1989). In Czechoslovakia, he published studies on Czech antisemitism, relations between Czechs, Germans and Jews, and on the Prague Spring of 1968. Goldstuecker took stock of his life in a volume of memoirs, Vzpomínky (1913–1945), published in 2003. The second part remained unpublished.

add. bibliography:

A. Mikulášek et al., Literatura s hvězdou Davidovou, vol. 1 (1998).

[Avigdor Dagan /

Milos Pojar (2nd ed.)]