Petr Bezruč – Vladimír Jan Nepomuk Vašek

15 September 1867, Opava – 17 February 1958, Olomouc
Petr Bezruč was a writer and poet.

Bezruč was a firstborn son of a teacher, philologist, and Silesian revivalist. He graduated from the Slavonic Grammar School in Brno and following in his father’s footsteps he went on to study classical and Slavic philology in at Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague. He never finished his studies, though. This was partially due to financial difficulties and his poor mental state, but also because of his disillusionment with the patriotic hypocrisy of the Czech representatives of national life. Bezruč left Prague for Brno, where he got a job as a post office clerk in 1888 and remained there until his retirement in 1928. He temporarily worked at the post office in Místek. In the course of his stay he made numerous trips in the Těšín Silesia and the Ostrava Region and became close to the locals who inspired his rebellious poems addressing the issues of social and national oppression. Bezruč died of tuberculosis and is buried in Opava.

Bezruč’s work is not extensive, but it has met with an extraordinary response – his poems inspired over 400 music compositions, thousands of graphics, bibliopolies, medals, paintings, busts, and sculptures. His poems, known worldwide as Silesian Songs, were first published in a magazine. The collection can be divided into three thematic areas: poems of social protest, poems of national pathos, and intimate poems. Bezruč’s Silesian Songs were translated into more than 40 languages.