Her short love affair with the poet Franz Kafka made her famous throughout the world. Yet there was much more to Milena Jesenská than that. Early on she stood in the limelight of the Prague intellectual society, later becoming a dedicated political journalist and finally a member of the resistance in the Third Reich. Alois Prinz, one of the most well-known biographers, tells the tale of a colourful and moving life.
Daughter of a professor in Prague, Milena Jesenská (1896-1944), spent her life striving for independence and battling against being put into one category. She broke off her studies of medicine, married against her father’s will, who, in turn disinherited her. She made the transition from being a fashion journalist into a journalist that fought against social poverty and against the Nazi regime, ending up in Ravensbrück, the concentration camp where she lost her life.
Powerfully and with great respect, Alois Prinz tells Milena’s story, in which she meets Kafka as a 24-year-old, who calls her a “living inferno” when their lives crossed. He refers to the recently found letters that Milena wrote to her father and her daughter, Honza, from concentration camp. The image of a young woman emerges who was extraordinarily passionate in love, friendship and caring for others.