"John F. Kennedy"

Kennedy in his Senate office, 1959
Public DomainKennedy in his Senate office, 1959 - Credit: LOOK magazine photograph collection, Library of Congress
John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th President of the United States. He served with distinction in World War II as commander of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109, then was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on behalf of the state of Massachusetts from 1947 until his election to the Presidency in 1960.

A photo of the late American president (assassinated five years before main portion of the Unbearable Lightness) hangs on the wall of “the ambassador,” formerly an actual ambassador who lost his position after the Russian takeover and now has a job as night attendant at the hotel where Tereza gets a job waiting tables at the bar.

The Kennedy portrait is mentioned again later, when Tereza discusses the mysterious engineer with "the ambassador" (section 24 of Part Four, page 163).

Kennedy became a symbol of youth and freedom for people and nations all over the world in the 1960s. Many countries who had very little to do with the United States otherwise put Kennedy on their postage stamps.