Karel Čapek

Karel Čapek was born on January 9th, 1890 in the northwest part of Bohemia (Czech Republic) in the small town of Malé Svatoňovice. He was a prolific and talented writer who worked throughout his life as a novelist, a journalist, playwright, writer of childrens’ literature, and travelogue. Čapek was very close with his brother Josef, and the two brothers co-wrote many books and plays under the name Čapek Brothers. Since their childhood both Čapek brothers were influenced by Czech writers and folklorists such as K.J. Erben. Čapek suffered from a disease akin to severe arthritis that caused him severe pain. He was relieved of military duty during World War I, but he always advanced Czech ideals in his writing. He was active in politics during his later life and was a close friend with T. G. Masaryk. In addition to his literary career Capek was interested in gardening, travel, and photography and each of his interests influenced his writing. In 1920 Čapek met his future wife, Olga Scheinplungová, an actress. Due to Čapek’s health they did not marry until 1935, only three years before his death. In the years before World War II Čapek actively warned the Czech public against Nazi Germany. He also actively sought the support of foreign nations. Unfortunately both Čapek and his brother died prematurely. Čapek died after a week of illness on December 25, 1938 and so was perhaps spared the persecution of the Nazis. His brother Josef died in the concentration camp Bergen-Belson in 1945, shortly before the war ended.