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My Seven Lives


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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. Childhood and Adolescence 1924–1942
  • 2. War—Deportations—Escape—Return 1942–1945
  • 3. Bratislava After the War 1945–1956
  • 4. From Oppression to Freedom and Back Again 1956–1969
  • 5. Normalization and Emigration 1969–1978
  • 6. Exile 1978–1990
  • 7. Returns 1990–1995
  • What Happened Next
  • Farewell to Agneša Kalinová
  • Appendix: Biographical Notes on Selected Individuals Mentioned
  • Notes
  • Index

About the Author

Jana Juráňová cofounded the feminist educational and publication project ASPEKT, where she remains a coordinator and editor. She has translated over twenty books from English, including Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf, Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, and Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman. She is a playwright and author of children's books and literary fiction. Her novel Nani?ìhodnica (The Wretch) was published in 2020. She has been nominated three times for Slovakia's most prestigious literary award, Anasoft Litera. For My Seven Lives both authors were awarded the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize in Prague. In 2018 Juráňová received a state prize for her literary activities and the promotion of human rights and democracy from the president of the Slovak Republic.

Agneša Kalinová (1924-2014) was a journalist and translator. Born into a Jewish family in Pre?íov in eastern Slovakia, she lost most of her extended family in the Holocaust while she survived by hiding in a convent in Budapest. After the war she embarked on a career as journalist and film critic, serving for many years as an editor with the cultural and political weekly Kult??rny ?¥ivot. As supporters of the Prague Spring, Agneša and her husband lost their jobs following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and were imprisoned in 1972. She later immigrated with her husband and daughter to West Germany, where she became a political commentator for Radio Free Europe. She died in Munich a few weeks after her ninetieth birthday.


"This book is not a conventional autobiography, but takes the form – commonly used in Central Europe – of a transcribed dialogue between the subject and a friendly interlocutor [...] As impressive as Kalinová’s recall of names and events is her lack of bitterness. Refusing to let herself be defined by the loss of family in the Holocaust and of her career in middle age, she says: “I’ve always regarded life as a kind of adventure: let’s see what it throws at me and how things will pan out.”" - Times Literary Supplement

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