"Under a Cruel Star" Book Report

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Under a Cruel Star: Life in Prague 1941-1968 is the autobiography of Heda Margolius Kovály, a Jewish-Czech woman living in Prague during WWII and the Cold War, a time when Communism was vibrant in Czechoslovakia and the government often concealed the truth from their people.   After a daring escape from a concentration camp, Heda manages to find her way home to Prague, but she is not greeted with warm faces; instead, most of her ‘friends’ send her away, worried about risking their lives by helping her.   The war ends and prisoners from the concentration camps are released, but they have a hard time finding shelter and food and are seen as ‘dirty Jews’ by their own neighbors and friends.   Heda marries a Jewish-Czech man named Rudolf Margolius and they have a son, however their lives are not always peaceful, as Rudolf—though a very smart man—is figuratively blind and works at a very high position for the Party, believing that communism is the only way their country can pull itself up from the ruins the war left it as.   As it becomes apparent, however, that the Czechoslovakian Party has learned its ways from the Soviet Union, all Jewish Czechs are in danger as they start being arrested one-by-one, for “plotting against the Party”.   Rudolf is arrested and sent to prison for several years, all while his son is growing up and his wife is working several jobs in order to make ends meet—even though her health is rapidly failing and she is on the verge of dying.   During her time in the hospital, Heda listens intently to the broadcast of her husband’s trial, where he monotonously and robotically gives a false confession—the product of several years of torture—and is hung, along with several of his comrades.   Heda is isolated in the community for sticking up for her “traitorous” husband, until finally—over a decade later—the Party’s walls start to crumble and they admit to the public that Rudolf Margolius had, indeed, been innocent and that they had tortured him into giving a...

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  • Submitted by:
  • on April 21, 2013
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,311 words
  • Views: 154
  • Popularity Rank: 184959
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