Milan Kundera Accused of Being an Informant in the 1950s

by Staff

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, a Czech research group, published a report yesterday that accuses Milan Kundera of telling the police about a supposed spy nearly sixty years ago, according to the Associated Press. Kundera, the author of Life Is Elsewhere (Knopf, 1974), The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Knopf, 1980), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Harper & Row, 1984), and other well-regarded novels, is said to have informed on Miroslav Dvoracek in 1950, when the Czech writer was twenty-one. Dvoracek, who had been recruited in Germany by a United States-backed intelligence network to work as a spy against the Communist regime, was later arrested and sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. He served fourteen, working in uranium mines, but escaped the death penalty. The state-sponsored research institute claims that Kundera told police about Dvoracek when the supposed spy was visiting a woman in a student dormitory where Kundera lived.

Kundera, who is now seventy-nine and lives in Paris (he was granted French citizenship in 1981), denies the allegations. "I object in the strongest manner to these accusations, which are pure lies," he said in a statement released by his French publisher. Kundera's most recent book The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts, translated from the French by Linda Asher and published by HarperCollins in 2006.