Antonín Novotný - Credit: Trachemys
Antonín Novotný (1904-1975) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1953 to 1968. He also held the post of President of Czechoslovakia from 1957 to 1968. He favored centralized, authoritarian, pro-Soviet policies, and was forced out of office in early 1968 to make way for the “Prague Spring” under Dubček (see Bookmarks, pages 25 and 26).
Obviously not a sympathetic figure to the author or characters of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he is mentioned in passing here because Sabina, unimpressed by the big talk of Czech émigrés speaking in the safety of a Western European city (probably Zurich; she is about to board a train to Amsterdam with Franz), chooses to insult a “distinguished émigré” by saying he looks like Novotný.