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Mgr. Naďa Köhlerová (1944) - Biography

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My husband hadn't returned from Germany on time and the secret police harassed us for the next 20 years

Naďa Köhlerová, née Šaradinová, was born on 2 September 1944 in Žilina, Slovakia. Her mum Věra, née Glaserová, was the daughter of a Jewish manager of a textile factory; her father Štefan came from a destitute family. In 1942, Naďa's mum was about to be deported to a concentration camp but her husband had her hidden in the cellar of a factory in Žilina where she stayed for two years. In the meantime she got pregnant and faced risk of uncovering once she'd given birth. In the end, Naďa was born under dramatical circumstances shortly after the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising. She studied pharmacy and got married to the bohemian photofrapher and musicologist Ivan Köhler with whom she moved to Česká Lípa in 1966. In 1969, the couple had spent several months in Munich. However, Ivan ignored the official appeal for all foreign-residing Czech nationals to return before 9 October 1969, the day the Czechoslovak border was to be closed again. Due to his belated return the couple got under secret police surveillance. In 1970, they returned to Slovakia and settled in Rajec where the police intruded in their marital life. Naďa was asked to convince her husband to collaborate with the secret police in exchange for a passport and ability to travel abroad, or to divorce him because he wasn't taking proper care of the family. However, Naďa supported and protected her husband who was doing photography and organizing jazz festivals in Žilina up until the fall of the authoritarian regime.

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