Jiří Gruša

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Jiří Gruša (2009)

Jiří Gruša ( pseudonyms Jaroslav Konečný and Josef Balvin ; born November 10, 1938 in Pardubice , Czechoslovakia ; † October 28, 2011 in Bad Oeynhausen , Germany) was a Czech writer , poet , dissident and diplomat .


Gruša came from a medium-sized family. Father Emanuel Gruša and mother Blažena Machková were civil servants. In 1957 he graduated from high school in his hometown and studied philosophy and history at the Charles University in Prague , where he received his doctorate in 1962 at the philosophy faculty. phil. PhD .

Gruša appeared as a man of letters in the 1960s. He published together with other young writers, including Jiří Pištora , Petr Kabeš , Jan Lopatka , Václav Havel , Zbyněk Hejda and Věra Linhartová in the 1963 cofounded magazine Face (Tvář), the first non-communist magazine in the country. When he published a critical reckoning with the Stalinist poetry of the 50s, the face was forcibly set. He was then co-founder and employee of the literary magazine Hefte (Sešity), later he worked as an editor of the weekly magazine Zítřek .

In 1968 Gruša took part in the Prague Spring together with other intellectuals . In the course of the nationwide repression after the failed uprising during the so-called normalization , the Czechoslovak regime banned him from working . He was prosecuted for partially publishing his novel Mimner aneb Hra o smrad'ocha ( Eng . 1986 Mimner or the animal of mourning) in the Sešity. The novel should have been banned for its pornographic content, but the case was dropped. Due to the professional ban, he had to work for various construction companies. He also translated theater pieces and apart from his work as a freelancer for a theater, he was otherwise not very artistically active. Among other things, some of his works appeared in the illegal samizdat series ( self-published ) Edice petlice, which he also co-founded .

Gruša belonged to an anti-ideological generation that had not created the totalitarian system, but had to live in it.

In the 1960s he published three volumes of poetry and in the 1970s he self-published his erotic poetry collection Adoration of the Janinka (Modlitba k Janince) .

In the next few years Gruša distributed books that were self-published. He signed Charter 77 and in 1978 was prosecuted by the state for his Toronto novel Questionnaire (Dotazník) for attacking the social system. After two months he was released from abroad thanks to numerous interventions.

In the same year Gruša emigrated to Toronto. In 1980 he received a literary scholarship at the MacDowell Colony in the USA , went to Germany and lived in Bonn . In 1981 he was deprived of his Czechoslovak citizenship, and two years later he was given German citizenship . He wrote a reader for Czech schools in Austria . After the Velvet Revolution , Gruša was appointed Czech ambassador to Germany . From June to November 1997 he was the Czech Minister of Education in the Václav Klaus II government of Václav Klaus , and from 1998 to 2004 Ambassador to Austria. From 2005 to 2009 Jiří Gruša was director of the Diplomatic Academy Vienna . From November 27, 2003 to October 21, 2009 he was President of the international PEN Club. Jiří Gruša was a board member of the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Gesellschaft from 1992 until his death . In 1994 he was one of the first to sign an appeal for the foundation “Burned and banished poets / artists - for a center for the persecuted arts”, which the Wuppertal Society initiated together with the PEN Center for German-Speaking Authors Abroad (“Exil-PEN”).

Until his death in 2011, he lived with his German wife near Bonn. The Austrian Wieser Verlag started a ten-volume Jiří Gruša edition in 2014, which was completed in 2018.





  • Torna (the knapsack). Prague 1962.
  • Světlá lhůta (The bright period). Prague 1964.
  • Cvičení mučení (learning-suffering). Prague 1969.
  • The Babylon Forest. Poems, Stuttgart 1990.
  • Hiking stones. Poems, Stuttgart 1994.

Children's books

  • Kudláskovy příhody (Kudlasek's Adventure). Prague 1969.


  • Mimner. Prague 1972
  • Modlitba k Janince (prayer to Janinka). Prague 1972.
  • The 16th questionnaire (Dotazník aneb modlitba za jedno město a přítele). Roman, Reich Verlag, Lucerne, Switzerland 1979.
    • as Ullstein paperback: Ullstein Verlag, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-548-22600-0 .
  • Dr. Kokeš, mistr Panny. Toronto 1983, in German Dr. Kokeš - Meister der Jungfrau , Volume 6 of the ten-volume edition of the works published by Wieser-Verlag until 2018
  • Franz Kafka from Prague. Frankfurt 1983.
  • Janinka. Roman, Cologne 1984.
  • Mimner or The Animal of Mourning. Cologne 1986, Volume 3 of the ten-volume edition of the works published by Wieser-Verlag until 2018


  • Dámský gambit (Queen's Gambit). Prague 1974, Toronto 1978.


  • Hodina naděje (hour called hope). Frankfurt 1978.
  • Ostracized poets. Anthology of banned Czech authors. Cologne 1983.


  • Umělec v hladovení (A hunger artist)
  • První hoře (First Sorrow)
  • Starost hlavy rodiny (the care of the householder)
  • Obchodník (The Merchant)
  • Z deníku (excerpt from the diaries, 1921).
  • Instructions for use for the Czech Republic and Prague . 4th edition, Piper, Munich / Zurich 2011 (first edition 1999), ISBN 978-3-492-27526-2 .
    • in Czech: Česko - návod k použití (translated by Jiří Gruša and Mojmír Jeřábek), Barrister & Principal, Brno 2009, ISBN 978-80-87029-72-5 .
  • The face - the writer - the case. Literature in Central Europe . Dresden Poetics Lecturer. Thelem Universitätsverlag, Dresden 1999.
  • Club přátel poezie - Mladá Fronta. 1999.

Other publications

  • Slovník českých spisovatelů 1948–1978 (Lexicon of Czech Writers). Initiator and co-editor, Prague 1980.
  • Samizdat . Toronto 1982.
  • Prague Spring - Prague Autumn. Look back and forward Co-editor with Tomáš Kosta, Bund, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-7663-3124-8 .
  • with Eda Krisová and Petr Pithart: Prague - once the city of Czechs, Germans and Jews. (translated by Joachim Brus). Langen Müller, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-7844-2411-2 .
  • When I promised a feature section. Handbook of dissent and present tense - essays, reflections and interviews from 1964–2004 . Edited and translated by Michael Stavarič , Czernin, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-7076-0195-1 .
  • Beneš als Österreicher Wieser, Klagenfurt 2012 ISBN 978-3-990290-08-8 (critical book about Edvard Beneš ), out of print; New edition as volume 9 of the ten-volume edition of the works published by Wieser-Verlag until 2018
    • Czech edition: Beneš jako Rakušan. Translated by Jiří Gruša and Mojmír Jeřábek, Barrister & Principal, Brno 2011, ISBN 978-80-87474-12-9 .
  • with Václav Havel: The Power of the Mighty or The Power of the Powerless , Wieser-Verlag, Klagenfurt 2006, ISBN 978-3-85129-601-3
  • Frédéric Delouche (ed.): The European history book . From the beginning to the 21st century. Revised and updated edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-608-96257-4 .

Short articles, lectures

  • The European philistines of progress. In: Literaturmagazin 22 - A dream of Europe. Rowohlt, 1988.
  • Vaclav Havel. In: The new society - Frankfurter Hefte. May 5th 1989.
  • Migration and emigration. The Czechs and their literature after 1945. In: On Czech literature 1945 - 1985: with a list of the titles of the samizdat series “Behind Locks and Bars” , edited by Wolfgang Kasack , Spiz - Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-87061-377 -7 (= East European Research , Volume 28).
  • Talk about Germany. In: Hans-Dietrich Genscher ; Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München (Ed.): Speeches about Germany 3. The speeches were given on the "Munich Podium in the Kammerspiele '92". Bertelsmann, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-570-02381-8 .
  • The development of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic since the opening of the Iron Curtain. Regensburg 1993.
  • Laudation for Eckhard Thiele . In: Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 1994. Frankfurt am Main 1994
  • Wandering Ghetto. Reprint University of Jena, 1997.
  • Theresienstadt - Terezín, documentation of a German-Czech memorial event. In: Cross-border cooperation II. 1998.
  • Image of Germany in the Czech Republic - Image of the Czech Republic in Germany. In: Journal of Political Education. Eichholz letter 4/98.
  • Introduction to Zdenka Fantlová: “There is strength in calm,” said my father. Weidle, Bonn 1999, ISBN 3-931135-38-1 .
  • Asymmetry of a neighborhood. In: Reinhard Appel (Ed.): 50 years of the Federal Republic - memories and perspectives. Eco, Cologne 1999, ISBN 3-933468-43-4 .


Secondary literature

  • Bernhard M. Baron , Jiří Gruša (1938–2011) - bridge builder between Bohemia and the Upper Palatinate. Poet, journalist, humanist, diplomat and PEN president, In: Oberpfälzer Heimatspiegel 2013, ed. by district home nurse Dr. Franz Xaver Scheuerer, Pressath 2012, ISBN 978-3-939247-26-5 , pp. 41–47.
  • Wolfgang Greisenegger , Wolfgang Lederhaas: Answers. Jiří Gruša on his 70th birthday . Wieser , Klagenfurt 2008, ISBN 978-3-85129-819-2 .
  • Alfrun Kliems : In the silent land. On the exile work of Libuše Moníková, Jiří Gruša and Ota Filip . (also dissertation at Humboldt University Berlin 2000) Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 978-3-631-39983-5 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Jiří Gruša  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Writer and politician Jiří Gruša died , Der Standard , October 28, 2011
  2. http://www.slovnikceskeliteratury.cz/showContent.jsp?docId=1230 Slovník české literatury
  3. a b c Entry "Grusa, Jirí" in Munzinger Online / Personen - Internationales Biographisches Archiv, accessed on October 29, 2011
  4. Eda Kriseová : Vaclav Havel. Poet and president . Rowohlt, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-87134-012-X , p. 188.
  5. Dirk Schümer : The Birth of a Nationalist. FAZ , April 21, 2011
  6. http://www.czechlit.cz/de/nachrichten/jiri-grusa-werkausgabe-startet-im-marz-2014/
  7. Klestil pays tribute to Czech Ambassador Jiří Gruša on a farewell visit in the Wiener Zeitung on February 16, 2004, accessed on April 14, 2015
  8. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.59 MB)
  9. http://www.radio.cz/de/artikel/74543
  10. Presentation of the French award "Officier de la Légion d'Honneur" to Director Jiří Gruša (November 27, 2007) ( Memento of the original from January 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved October 28, 2011 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ambafrance-at.org
  11. ^ Speech by Federal Minister Claudia Schmied
  12. Laudation by Miguel Herz-Kestranek , 2000–2010 Vice President PEN Club Austria