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Vaclav Havel - Biography

*5. 10. 1936 Prague - +18. 12. 2011 Hradecek
Writer and Dramatist; One of the first Spokesmen for Charter 77; Leading Figure of the Velvet Revolution of 1989; Last President of Czechoslovakia; and First President of the Czech Republic.
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Václav Havel

Václav Havel grew up in a well-known entrepreneurial and intellectual family, which was closely linked to the cultural and political events in Czechoslovakia from the 1920's to the 1940's. Because of these links the communists did not allow Havel to study formally after having completed required schooling in 1951. In the first part of the 1950's, a young Václav Havel entered into a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant and simultaneously took evening classes to complete his secondary education (which he did in 1954). For political reasons he was not accepted into any post-secondary school with a humanities program; therefore, he opted to study at the Faculty of Economics of Czech Technical University. He left this program after two years.

The intellectual tradition of his family compelled Václav Havel to pursue the humanitarian values of Czech culture, which were harshly suppressed in the 1950's. Following his return from two years of military service, he worked as a stage technician - first at Divadlo ABC, and then, in 1960, at Divadlo Na zabradli. From 1962 until 1966, he studied Drama by correspondence at the Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Musical Arts, and completed his studies with a commentary on the play "Eduard", which became the basis of his own "The Increased Difficulty of Concentration".