Who Is Valda (Jan) Schwarz?
Last December he attended our Christmas meeting of the International Czech Club and donated a very unusual object to our raffle- a carding machine! He is a man of many interests and talents- he knows and corresponds with many interesting personalities, he is a collector in many fields, is interested in the literature of the 19th and 20th centuries and in various old documents and writings. Valda's greatgrandfather Oskar who lived in Pelhrimov, donated in the 19th century 2 Gulden to help to build the National Theater in Prague. His uncle Theodor was a builder and artist and his daughter Eva was a professional designer. Valda's father Osvald was an artist and one of the originators of the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary. He made sure that the festival became well known at home and abroad. Until this day, he and Aunt Jana are often attending the International Film Festival. Valda's mother's second husband was Otakar Lanc. He was a translator of Czechoslovak literature and later also a diplomat in the United Nations.
Valda Schwarz was born in Liberec and grew up in Prague living with his grandparents. He studied at the famous Hollar school and later on graduated from Charles University with a degree in library science. He first worked in the Central Library, and later in the National Library- in the Klementinum. He is an admirer of beautiful and unique books. For example he owns the book by Fr. Ladislav Celakovsky on various sayings and proverbs of Slavic nations (1852), which contains the signature of Karel Havlicek Borovsky written in Brixen. Because of his interest in culture, he has met personally many artists, news reporters and photographers (e.g. Vladimir Suchanek, Vladimir Thiel), or many actors and singers (e.g. Jiri Bartoska, Inka Zemankova). In addition to traveling in his own country, he traveled extensively in Germany and in the Baltic states. He says: "I was mostly intrigued by the French, and also by the English and Germans."
He owns a wonderful library and interesting collections. And he can talk about all of this in a fascinating and spellbinding way. He is a most interesting human being.Olga Szymanska
Translation by Marie Dolanska
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