Journalist and war veteran wins Arnošt Lustig prize

A 93 year old war veteran and journalist, Bedřich Utiz, has been named this year’s winner of the Arnošt Lustig prize. The prize was created following the death of the famous Czech writer in 2011 to recognize those who displayed courage, integrity, and strived for the public good. Utiz escaped the Nazi occupation to Palestine and later joined the Czechoslovak army in exile, fighting in the Western desert and Normandy. After the war he worked for the Czechoslovak News Agency and Czechoslovak Radio. He was posted to West Germany ahead of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and decided not to return home. Instead, he helped found the publishing house in exile, Index, which functioned until the Velvet Revolution in 1989.