The Wall

Peter Sis’s illustrations are careful, unassuming and somehow gentle. But the story he tells of his childhood in Prague, The Wall, through his pictures, through minimal text supplemented with historical annotations and snippets from his own journal entries, is of a world that, however permanent it looked at the time, is now hard to believe in.

FROM MY JOURNALS

September 1963

Colonel Jan Pixa was named a Hero of the Czech Socialist Republic – for his ingenious plan for catching “disturbers of the border,” people tring to cross over to the West. He made a fake border so the “bad guys” would think they had gotten through. When they saw the American flag and were greeted by secret service men disguised as American soldiers, they’d think they had reached the West. The defectors would tell the secret service everything they knew and name their friends. What a surprise when the defectors found out they weren’t in the West after all and were going to prison for life. Colonel Pixa is a hero.

Slowly he started to ask questions. He painted what he wanted to – in secret.

!

Everything seemed possible . . . It was the Prague Spring of 1968!

Everyone wanted to draw. They painted a wall with their dreams . . .

and repainted it again and again.

Things got worse. He dreamed of being free. Wild dreams.

SOMETIMES DREAMS COME TRUE. ON NOVEMBER 9, 1989, THE WALL FELL.

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