World War II Memoirs Lecture

AAU Campus, Room 2.07

This event is aimed at students of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and faculty. To register, please email:

About the event:

WWII Memoirs:
Many of us never explore the effects WWII had on future generations and how all our lives might be different if there had been no war. Join Brenda Love, Ph.D., an American writer, and lecturer, along with several other speakers who will share their family’s experiences. Theirs are a few of the stories from the anthology, WWII Memoirs, which includes accounts from Allied and Axis veterans, POWs, partisans, women aviators, camp survivors, and civilians on the home front.

Many of the authors had to overcome a great sadness as they wrote, but despite this felt it was important to document these, the darkest days of our history. The strength, courage, and perseverance in these stories remind us that the human spirit will not be broken.

About the panel:


Brenda Love received her doctorate in psychology. She is also a biographer of Who’s Who of American Women, and of Who’s Who of Outstanding Female Writers of the 20th Century. Love has been a guest on numerous American television and radio programs.

She spent 20 years prior to retirement working at ALZA Pharmaceuticals in California, while also serving as a counselor on the National STD Hotline, the San Mateo Suicide and Crisis Center, the National AIDS Hotline, and the San Francisco Sex Information Switchboard. Prior to that, she was the manager of Frank Leary Racing (her second husband raced in the TransAm, SCCA, and IMSA race circuits).

Her 1990 book, the Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, remains the most comprehensive and valuable research available today for therapists, physicians, educators, and law enforcement agencies. After retirement Brenda moved to Prague with her Czech husband and once again began to write plays and books. Her latest books are A Crazy Old Ladies Guide to the World of Bridge,Dita’s Journey, 5 Camps, 5 Years and WWII Memoirs, an anthology of wartime stories written by survivors or their relatives.


Gerald Power is a professor at AAU and Chair of the History Department. He completed a Liberal Arts degree at the American College Dublin before undertaking doctoral studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His Ph.D. thesis (2009) was published in 2012 as A European Frontier Elite: The Nobility of the English Pale in Tudor Ireland, 1496-1566. He jointly edited the collection of essays on Ireland and the Czech Lands: Connections and Comparisons in History and Culture (Bern, 2014). Dr. Power’s research interests have since diversified to include the reception of Thatcherism in the Czech lands. More recently, he has begun a research project looking at British cultural diplomacy in the Arab Gulf during the Cold War. Dr. Power is a member of the Steering Committee of the Euro-Gulf Information Centre (Rome).

Panel of Speakers:

  • Jan Valdinger was brought up and educated in England from 1948, then aged two.  He graduated in Law – fulfilling his father’s own ambitions which had been curtailed by the war – and practiced in the City of London with a major firm of solicitors. He then switched to merchant banking, first in London, and then headed offices in India and later in Asia, based in Hong Kong. In 1987 he returned to London. In 1994, not long after the demise of communism in Czechoslovakia, he moved to the Czech Republic, working for some eight years with the major financial group PPF. Jan finally chose to work as an Executive Coach to business leaders, which he continues to do from time to time, though now in semi-retirement based near Karlštejn.

    Jan contributed the chapter about his father, Stefan, who joined the Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade and fought on many fronts. At one point, he was selected for training with Special forces and trained as a parachutist in Scotland along with Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who went on to assassinate Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. His father never told him of his Jewish roots, it was only recently he discovered an aunt that survived Auschwitz when a rabbi’s wife exchanged places with her while in line to be gassed.

  • Stephen Weeks is a British film director, writer, and producer. He started making films when 16 and made his featured debut aged 22 with I, Monster. His cinema feature films, as director, include Ghost Story and Sword of the Valiant, and also TV documentaries (including award-winning Scars). He has written seven novels as well. Stephen was also active in promoting conservation and careful re-use of redundant churches in Wales and England. He bought, restored, and opened to the public the derelict Norman border castle of Penhow in Monmouthshire. The work won many awards, including Prince of Wales Award, Europa Nostra Award, Wales Tourist Board Gold Medal, and three Sandford Awards for Heritage Education.

    In 1995, Stephen started to work in Prague at the invitation of the Czech government, worked on strategies to regenerate deprived towns by starting a chain of restored castles to create regional tourism in the Republic. Weeks is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, served for 24 years on various committees of the Historic Houses Association, and was Vice-Chairman for Wales for four years.

    Stephen has done extensive research about the war years for his novels and has contributed several chapters. One about the battles fought in by his father, Donald Weeks, and another about Lena Heydrich.

  • David Kraus is a historian, researcher, journalist, and active member of the Czech Jewish Community. He works in the Prague Jewish Museum and focuses on regional Jewish history and Holocaust studies, regularly publishing his finds in local magazines and popularizing various Jewish topics. His grandfather, František Kraus, was an anti-Nazi journalist, writer, broadcaster and member of the resistance movement. He was friends with Franz Kafka, Karel Capek, Max Brod and Jan Masaryk among others. He escaped from Auschwitz and was the first survivor to publish a book on the atrocities in Nazi camps. It was published in September 1945 and titled, “Gas, gas…, then fire.”