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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vaclav Havel's Legacy, Through The Lenses Of Friends

Published 18 December 2012

Vaclav Havel, the first postcommunist president of Czechoslovakia and then of the newly established Czech Republic, died on December 18, 2011, at the age of 75. On the first anniversary of Havel's death, many Czechs are paying tribute to the memory of the writer and democracy icon. The photos collected here are the work of two photographers, Bohdan Holomicek and Tomki Nemec, members of Havel's inner circle who captured moments from his private life as he transitioned from communist-era dissident to head of state. (16 PHOTOS)


Vaclav Havel in 1975 at his country cottage, called Hradecek, in North Bohemia


Havel and his first wife, Olga, at Hradecek in 1974. Olga, who died in 1996, was a fellow dissident and signatory of the Charter 77 human rights initiative.


The Havels with friends Jan and Karla Triska in 1975


A photo taken during a long night of conversation at Hradecek in 1975


Friends and actors gather for a reading of Havel's play "The Garden Party."


Havel prepares for a summer gathering at the cottage, 1975.


A private staging of Havel's play "Audience" in 1976, with the author in one of the main roles


Havel appears in a window of Prague Castle in the early days of his presidency, on February 25, 1990.


The president addresses crowds at Prague Castle on February 25, 1990. He had just returned from a visit to the United States, where he spoke before the U.S. Congress.


Havel, a rock fan, meets members of the Rolling Stones on August 18, 1990, the day of the music legends' first concert in postcommunist Czechoslovakia.


British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher accompanies the Czechoslovak president on Wenceslas Square during an official visit to Prague on September 18, 1990.


Havel wades in the Atlantic Ocean in Cabo da Roca, Portugal, near the westernmost tip of the European continent, on December 14, 1990.


Havel and his wife, Olga, pray alongside Polish President Lech Walesa at Prague Castle on September 16, 1991.


A photographer takes an official portrait of the Czechoslovak head of state in 1992.


Havel with his second wife, Dagmar, whom he married in 1997, at Hradecek around 2000


Nearing the end of his presidency in January 2003, having already moved of the president's residence, Havel appears to breathe a sigh of relief.

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Comment Sorting
by: Frank T. Csongos from: Fairfax, VA
December 18, 2012 14:00
Wonderful photographs of a truly great man and a supporter of RFE/RL!

by: Garen Mailyan from: Glendale, CA
December 19, 2012 06:18
Life well lived. PRAISE GOD!

by: Thomas H. from: California, U.S.A.
December 19, 2012 12:01
These are all great images, especially the home portraits, the picture with his feet in the water, and those at Prague Castle. All really nice and show a progression to the Czech presidency and Havel's greater public life. I do wish there were even more pictures here.

by: marissa miller from: new york city
December 19, 2012 17:12
beautiful photographs