Czechoslovakia: Understanding Kafka

It was in Prague in the '20s that Franz Kafka wrote his chilling allegories of men condemned to lingering deaths by a malevolent bureaucracy. "People didn't understand him 25 years ago," mused a Czech writer recently. "Now, after 16 years of Communism, they understand Kafka very well."

They should, for Czechoslovakia itself seems today to be smothering in a Kafkaesque nightmare. Prague was once known as the "Golden City." Nowadays it is best seen after dark, for night alone can mask the soot and uncollected refuse that mar its crooked old streets. The only Central European capital that was spared...

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