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Vaclav Havel's Legacy, Through The Lenses Of Friends

Friends of former Czech President Vaclav Havel plan to mark his 80th birthday on October 5th with several memorial events. Havel, who died in 2011, went from being a jailed playwright to Czechoslovakia's first postcommunist leader. Two of his friends, photographers Bohdan Holomicek and Tomki Nemec, captured intimate moments from Havel's private life as he evolved from communist-era dissident to head of state.


Vaclav Havel at age 38 outside his country cottage in Hradecek, North Bohemia.
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Vaclav Havel at age 38 outside his country cottage in Hradecek, North Bohemia.

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

The Havels with friends Jan and Karla Triska in the summer of 1975.
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The Havels with friends Jan and Karla Triska in the summer of 1975.

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

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

Havel preparing food outdoors for a summer gathering in 1975 at the cottage.
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Havel preparing food outdoors for a summer gathering in 1975 at the cottage.

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

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

President Vaclav Havel speaking to a massive crowd at Prague Castle on February 25, 1990. He had just returned from a visit to the United States, where he had addressed the U.S. Congress.
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President Vaclav Havel speaking to a massive crowd at Prague Castle on February 25, 1990. He had just returned from a visit to the United States, where he had addressed the U.S. Congress.

Havel was an avid rock fan who admired the rebellious spirit of his musical heroes. On August 18, 1990, he met members of the Rolling Stones ahead of the band's legendary first concert in postcommunist Czechoslovakia.
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Havel was an avid rock fan who admired the rebellious spirit of his musical heroes. On August 18, 1990, he met members of the Rolling Stones ahead of the band's legendary first concert in postcommunist Czechoslovakia.

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

On a visit to Portugal, Havel wades into the Atlantic Ocean at Cabo da Roca, near the westernmost tip of the European continent, on December 14, 1990.
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On a visit to Portugal, Havel wades into the Atlantic Ocean at Cabo da Roca, near the westernmost tip of the European continent, on December 14, 1990.

Havel and his wife, Olga, hold hands in prayer with Polish President Lech Walesa at Prague Castle on September 16, 1991.
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Havel and his wife, Olga, hold hands in prayer with Polish President Lech Walesa at Prague Castle on September 16, 1991.

Vaclav Havel sitting for an official portrait as Czechoslovakia's head of state in 1992.
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Vaclav Havel sitting for an official portrait as Czechoslovakia's head of state in 1992.

A year after Olga's death in 1996, Havel married his second wife, Dagmar. The couple sits together in Hradecek around 2000.
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A year after Olga's death in 1996, Havel married his second wife, Dagmar. The couple sits together in Hradecek around 2000.

Havel breathes a sigh of relief after days of packing come to an end. In January 2003, Havel was nearing the end of his presidency and moving out of the president's official residence.
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Havel breathes a sigh of relief after days of packing come to an end. In January 2003, Havel was nearing the end of his presidency and moving out of the president's official residence.

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