Newly redacted on June 24, 2018 (translation by Jan Kmuníček).
(Note: The undated items are placed only
Jan Weiss’s great-grandfather, a shoemaker, came
from Halič and settled down in the area around Benecko.
Jan Weiss’s grandfather was a shoemaker, his
father then had a “leather-cutting” business.
May 10, 1892 The Weiss family owned a
one-storey house in Jilemnice in Valdštejnská street no. 68 where son
Jan was born to Josef Weiss, known in Jilemnice as the “Monarch”, and
Filoména Richterová, as the second of their five children.
1897 Jan Weiss’s mother died. His father
remarried; therefore Jan had from his second, German mother (who,
however, did not discriminate among her children) also three
Jan Weiss together with his cousin do in Jilemnice
such mischief that it has become part of the local tradition.
1905–1913 Jan Weiss studied at the so
called “classical grammar school” in Hradec Králové and the so called
“real grammar school in Dvůr
Králové, where he passed the school-leaving examination.Weiss’s uncle,
priest in Choteč, arranged for Jan Weiss accomodation in Boromeo in
1913–1914 Jan Weiss studies law in Vienna
for two semesters.
September 1914 Jan Weiss was drafted –
after mobilization he spent some time in Pilsen and then was sent to
1916 Jan Weiss was captured at the Russian
front at Tarnopol. (Note: The information that Weiss fought at the
Italian front, often mentioned in literature about Weiss, is null and
Winter 1916–1917 Jan Weiss stays in the POW
camp Tockoje (these experiences were captured in his first book
The Hut of Death).
Spring 1917 Jan Weiss was moved to the
lager Berezovka in Siberia where his frozen toes were amputated. There,
he joined the Czech legions. He undertook training in Žitomir and after
revealing his handicap he was employed in an office. As a legionnaire,
Weiss did not take part in any combat and most likely he did not
publish anything in the legionnaire magazines.
1918 In Žitomír, Weiss’s first prose pieces
originate, reflecting the war and especially the POW experiences.
1918 Through his own poem, Weiss proves his
stay in Ufa.
1919 When still in Russia, Jan Weiss also
started writing his drama Penza and finished it in Irkutsk.
February 1920 Jan Weiss returns to his
September 1920 Jan Weiss entered the state
service in the accounting department of the Public Works Ministry in
Early 1924 In Cesta, Weiss’s first short
story Dream was published, followed by Hands in the
literary section of Samostatnost (Národní osvobození). Weiss’s first
works were published in Cesta with the help of Mirek Rutte, its editor,
including The House of 1000 Floors and Bianka Braselli
1925 In Prague, Jan Weiss meets Jan
Havlíček and stays in touch with him until Havlíček’s death in 1943.
1926–1927 Thanks to the care of Josef
Masařík, editorial-staff secretary (i.e. the main editor) of
Legionářské besedy, Weiss’s play Penza is published there
(later on, he was awarded the Czech Academy Award for this work); in
the magazine’s second and third years, Weiss is presented as the member
of its editorial circle.
Rudolf Medek introduces Jan Weiss to the Literary
section of Umělecká beseda (Artist Fellowship) and to the Circle of
Czech Authors, signing him up as a member.
Jan Weiss publishes in the magazine of Umělecká
At Umělecká beseda, Jan Weiss meets Karel Sezima,
who consequently reviews Weiss’s works.
Thanks to Ladislav Plechatý, Jan Weiss contributes
to Radio Journal.
In Prague, Jan Weiss diligently visits wine and
coffee shops – Unionka, Tůmovka (where he met Josef Masařík for the
first time), in Lazarská Street, Metro, Slávie (Jindřich Hořejší, Josef
Hora, Franta Sauer); only those he misses in Jilemnice later on.
1926 In the Prague coffee and wine shops he
used to meet almost daily (since fall 1934) Josef Masařík, eventually
the chief editor of Legionářské besedy, Rudolf Medek, and another
editor of the Besedy, J. O. Novotný, who was also an editor of the
literary magazine Cesta.
In a wine shop Jan Weiss met, through talking
about Jilemnice, also Jaroslava Rašková (from Nový Bydžov) who was
there celebrating passing the state exam in pedagogics. Despite a big
age difference (Jan Weiss was born in 1892 while Jaroslava Rašková in
1905) they eventually decided to try it together.
1927 Weiss’s publishing “triple debut”:
The Hut of Death, A Mirror that Falls Behind and The
Phantom of Laughter are published.
September 8, 1928 At the Old-Town town
hall, the wedding of Jan Weiss and Jaroslava Rašková took place (the
best men were Ladislav Plechatý and Josef Masařík).
1928 The Weisses’ honeymoon in France
(Paris, Nice), back through Switzerland, Austria and the Alps.
1928 The Weisses at the time when
apartments are scarce receive from factory-owner Grmela in Prague-Libeň
in return for ordering furniture from him the keys from their apartment
in Podlipného street in Libeň.
The Weisses have a crystal receiver and then a
“chapel” type radio receiver.
June 29, 1929 Daugther Jana was born to the
1929 Weiss’s novel debut appears – The
House of 1000 Floors.
In Beskydy, in Jasení by Jablunkov, a cow ate Jan
Weiss’s novel, whose theme eventually split in two novels – The
Crime School and A Sleeper in the Zodiac.
1930 Weiss publishes the collection of
short stories A Crazy Regiment.
1931 Weiss’s second novel The Crime
School and an intimate work Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová
1934 After reading Götz’s negative review
of the novel To be Silent is Gold (1933), Jan Weiss became so
angry that he let gas explode in the bathroom.
1934 In Split, during a tour to legionary
recreational centre, the Weisses
were particularly impressed by Diocletian’s palace.
1935 Jan Weiss receives for his novel
To be Silent is Gold the Award of City Prague (Jirásek’s award).
Afterwards, critic Kopecký (Kauders) writes in Národní politika
(newspaper) that the award was won by “Jew Weiss”.
Since 1936 The Weisses spend their weekends
in Radotín, Lahovská street.
1936–1937 Jan Weiss had the opportunity to
receive a scholarship in Italy but did not use it because he was
working on A Sleeper in the Zodiac (1937) at the time.
1937 Jan Weiss and his wife repeat (for the
third time) their trip to Yugoslavia. This time they are travelling
there by a six-seater Dakota plane to Sušak (by half travel price), the
second part of the travel price is paid by each of them in the form of
“promotional feuilleton”. They stay in legionary resort at Croatia
coast near Novi, in a village Povila where the Weisses experience an
earthquake. From the local karst caves where he swam underneath, Jan
Weiss brought pieces of stalactites. From Povila the Weisses made a
boat trip to Venice.
1938 To raise the nation’s hopes at the
time of the fascist threat more easily, authors were asked to try
flying by a fighter plane in Kbely. Jan Weiss, in contrast with Karel
Čapek, who refused, actually flew.
During the occupation The meetings of
Umělecká beseda are organized under the heading of “family gatherings”.
As a legionnaire, Jan Weiss was pensioned off.
1941 Jan Weiss attempts to supply the
nation with hope through both the novel He Came from the Mountains
and the short-story collection A Furniture Carrier.
1942 Germans threw the Weisses out of their
state apartment in Podolí, Na Zlatnici. Afterwards they lived in
Radotín, Lahovská street, until 1950.
1943 The novel Miraculous Hands,
which originated by editing the novel The Crime School,
contemplates the good and evil.
1944 The effort to encourage is evident
also from the publishing of Short Stories about Love and Hatred.
May 1945 The Weisses experience the
liberation of Prague at the Lahovská street above Radotín, where Jan
Weiss is captured by Germans during negotiations and liberated by
After the war Jan Weiss eventually became
the chairman of the Literary section of Umělecká beseda.
May 1945 In the Literary section of
Umělecká beseda, Jan Weiss and Josef Masařík renewed their
communication. Jan Weiss begins to publish in a new magazine of
Umělecká beseda, Doba.
July 1945 Jan Weiss was able to work again.
On July 30, 1945, Jan Weiss was appointed a
freeman of the town of Jilemnice.
1946 Unsuitable for publishing earlier, the
novel A Call for Help, written during the occupation, is now
April 1946 Marie Majerová asked Jan Weiss
for a screenplay to the film Siréna (Siren), which he
really wrote and was made into a film.
October 1947 Jan Weiss permanently retired
as an accounting director.
On October 28, 1947, Jan Weiss was
appointed an honorary member of SK (Sport Club) Jilemnice.
Weiss devotes several articles to the regional
problems of the Krkonoše mountains area.
Jaromír Horáček, later on a teacher at a medical
school in Turnov, wrote his final dissertation about Jan Weiss.
After February, 1948, the 1950s For about a
year, in spring and fall, Jan Weiss travels through the area around
Česká Lípa as its cultural patron.
1950 The Weisses build a terraced house in
cooperative housing in Houdova Street in Prague-5, Košíře, and start
Jiří Hájek, chief editor of Tvorba, who Jan Weiss
knew from Umělecká beseda, rediscovered Jan Weiss. At the beginning,
also Milan Schulz writes about Weiss.
1954 After his creative and life search in
the new social situation, Weiss publishes a short-story collection
Old and New Stories.
1957 Weiss finds a new theme, in which he
tries to combine the social demand with his tendency to imagination,
and publishes the collection The Country of Grandsons.
A trip to Varna in Bulgaria.
Jan Weiss’s trip to Vienna together with
May 10, 1957 Jan Weiss is designated a
Merited Artist by František Kahuda.
Jan Kristek publishes in the Československý spisovatel publishing house
Weiss’s whole work.
When travelling to the USSR for the first time,
his guide was Jarmila Glazarová. The Weisses brought from the USSR as a
fee for the translation of The Country of Grandsons (published
in 1959) a TV set, brand Znamja. Jan Weiss himself thought it tiresome
and did not watch it much.
1960 The next step of Weiss’s
science-fiction prose is the collection Satellites and Star-Sailors.
The 1960s The Weisses went to the USSR for
the second time because of the fee for the translation of The
House of One Thousand Floors. They stayed in a hotel in Moscow,
then went by train to Gagra in Caucasus, visited the local House of
authors, met Mongolian (i.e. “Soviet”) writers, who they eventually
keep in touch with, the authors sending their books to Weiss.
When 60, 65, Jan Weiss still skies.
May 10, 1962 Jan Weiss was awarded the
Order of Work.
1963 The last in the series of “socialist
science fictions” is the collection Guessing about the Future.
Early 1964 Jan Weiss after a crushing
critique of his science-fiction works published by Oleg Sus stops
Karel Bogar from the local-history museum in
Frýdek-Místek wrote his final dissertation
about Jan Weiss.
Jan Weiss is seriously ill and bound to bed, his
wife left her work because of him and stayed at home. He cannot read
any longer, therefore his wife reads to him. (With you, it is possible
to live even like that, Jan Weiss tells her then.)
March 7, 1972 Jan Weiss dies.