radomír luža prize

Annual Radomír Luža Prize for Best Manuscript in Austrian/Czechoslovak Studies in the World War II Era

The American Friends of the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance and Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies of the University of New Orleans have conducted the search for the Radomír Luža Prize for an outstanding work in the field of Austrian and/or Czechoslovak World War II studies since 2012. Since 2017, the prize is being bestowed by the German Studies Association (GSA). This prize carries a cash award of $1,000.00 financed by the Zukunfstfonds der Republik Österreich. It seeks to encourage research in the above mentioned fields focusing on the time period of the 1930s and 1940s.

To be eligible for the Radomír Luža Prize competition, the book or dissertation must have been published (or a dissertation defended) between January 1 and December 31 of the year previous to the announcement. Authors must be citizens or resident aliens (holders of “green cards”) of the United States or Canada. Dissertations must have been awarded by a North American University. The language of the work must be English. To be considered for the Radomír Luža Prize competition, please send a copy of your work electronically to: gjbischo@uno.edu and/or winfried.garscha@doew.at. The deadline for submissions is August 27 of the year the prize is announced and the winner will be announced at the GSA annual conference banquet later in the fall of that year.


Radomir Luza Prize 2020

Rachel Applebaum, Empire of Friends: Soviet Power and Socialist Internationalism in Cold War Czechoslovakia (Cornell University Press, 275 pp)

Rachel Applebaum displays a deep knowledge of the Czechoslovak space and the "soul of the nation". She finds the right elements and highlights the most important moments which marked the changes in the attitude of Czechs towards the Soviets (I underline the word Czechs, as the Slovak perception is not emphasized except as a short notice about the puppet Slovak State in 1939-1945). Applebaum arrives at original and intriguing new interpretations; she adds a new function to the process of "normalization" and describes it as a transnational policy designed to restore the Soviet-Czechoslovak friendship after the 1968 events. She also illustrates the routinization of the obligatory Czechoslovak-Soviet friendship with interesting examples, such as the mandatory Russian learning in schools. With Russian, according to the textbooks for eight-graders, the pupils would be able to welcome Russian pioneers and correspond with Soviet pen-pals. The thorough work with archival documents from multiple countries and languages is much appreciated, as well as the high volume of usage of press and literature. Overall, Applebaum’s book is a high-quality book, putting the Czechoslovak-Soviet relationship into a new light. I believe this book truly demonstrates what the awarding of the Radomir Luza Prize is intended for.


Abigail Weil, “Man is Indestructible: Legend and Legitimacy in the Worlds of Jaroslav Hašek” (Dissertation, Harvard University, Slavic Literature, 320 pp)   

The dissertation by Abigail Weil deals with the life and work of Jaroslav Hašek, author of the Good Soldier Švejk, one of the best known and legendary Czech novels. She examines Hašek´s experience during WW I, life in Russia, fascination with Bolshevism, activities in interwar Czechoslovakia, and analyses how all these affected his masterpiece Good Soldier Švejk and more than 1,500 short stories, poems, jokes and articles he wrote. „Haškology“ is a specific discipline in Czech literary science, and there are many researchers who tried to frame a thorough analysis of Hašek´s work in the past. It is obvious that Weil didn´t just compile the opinions of her predecessors but formulates her own conclusions based on her research. It is my sincere hope the dissertation defended at Harvard University will be published soon to revisit the importance of Jaroslav Hašek to non-Czech readership.