A Czech memoir

Posted Friday, May. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In the 1960s, I spent summers visiting my grandparents in Hillsboro. When a local radio newscaster announcing classes for Hill College said “Czech 101,” I asked, “Who in Texas would take Czechoslovakian? My grandmother told me many Czechs settled in Texas.

Charles Heller, born in Czechoslovakia three years before the Nazi occupation, began a Texas tour Wednesday presenting his memoir, Prague: My Long Journey Home. Son of a Catholic mother and Jewish father, Heller spent six years as one of the “hidden children of Europe,” while his father fought with the British and his mother was sent to a slave labor camp.

After the war, the family reunited and fled the communist takeover.

After 18 months in a refugee camp, the family immigrated to New Jersey. Heller’s story is one of triumph and survival through a harrowing time in history and of a man’s search for his identity and heritage.

Heller’s tour includes stops at the new Bush library and the Czech Center Museum in Houston. Find his itinerary at www.charlesotaheller.com.

— Marilyn Recknor, Arnold, Md.

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