Milan Svanderlik, author of Sketches from Childhood, was born in Czechoslovakia on 27 February 1948, the day its democratic government was overthrown by the Communist Party. The ensuing doctrinaire ... weiterlesenregime, committed to a more just and equal society. Focussed first on dismantling the bourgeois establishment, and what had been the post-war ethnic cleansing of non-Slav peoples metamorphosed into the persecution of anyone failing to espouse Stalinism – once-free citizens soon found themselves imprisoned within borders that bristled fiercely with barbed wire and armed guards. Milan’s Czech parents were born in Yugoslavia, where his father fought with Tito’s Partizans to liberate that nation from the occupying Nazi forces. After the war, he moved his young family to Northern Czechoslovakia, seeking a congenial new life amongst fellow Czechs. Such dreams were shattered when the Czech Communist coup coincided with Marshal Tito’s growing intransigence towards Stalin: because of Milan’s father’s past links with Tito, he was immediately suspect. The family was ostracised, with social exclusion quickly morphing into several years of virtual house arrest; categorised as ‘undesirables’, they were finally deported in 1955. These Sketches, the story of a childhood lived through turbulent times, comprise both written memoir and some 36 contemporary photographs, focussing in detail on the period, 1948 to 1956.
Born in Czechoslovakia, the author, Milan Svanderlik, grew up in Yugoslavia, worked briefly in Switzerland, and has lived for almost 50 years in London. A photographer, artist and writer, he is a veteran observer of the extraordinary diversity and beauty of nature, people and life in general.