Václav Polívka (1927-1971) was born into Czechoslovakia’s elite, roughly eight years after the country emerged from the ruins of Austria-Hungary. In this diary, which was found in an attic in Oslo, Norway in 2012, the young medical student with a strong interest in classical music describes three crucial years for Europe, which, beginning in 1945, was moving from World War with Nazi occupation to Cold War with communist dictatorship.
In the summers of 1946 and 1947, Václav travels to Denmark, where he meets a young Danish woman, Vibeke Hauer, with whom he falls in love, and later marries. In this respect, Václav Polivka’s diary is a Czech-Nordic love story with a happy ending. But Czechoslovakia would not enjoy such good fortune.
Almost immediately after the country was liberated, Polívka expresses his doubts about the intentions of the Russians. He realizes early on that indoctrination, censorship, and outright lies do not bode well for the future of freedom, and he shares his thoughts with surprising clarity in the pages of his diary.