Money from Hitler (2006)

Peníze od Hitlera (2006)
Peníze od Hitlera (2006)



Literary fiction
Host, 2006
242 pp

Extract & presentation (by David Vaughan) »


16-year-old Gita Lauschmannová, who grew up in a German-speaking, assimilated Jewish family in a Czech village, returns from a Nazi concentration camp at the end of the war.  Now an orphan, she hopes for a warm welcome but instead finds a hostile reception from her father’s former employees who have taken possession of her family’s property and moved into her family’s house. Denouncing her for speaking German and labelling her a Nazi, they put her through a terrifying ordeal. Gita only narrowly escaping being murdered, and is lumped together with the Germans being driven out of Czechoslovakia. She manages to escape again and makes her way to her only surviving relative, an aunt in Prague.

Following the end of communism, Gita Lauschmannová – now a retired doctor – returns to the village to seek justice and an apology. But again the locals, terrified that she wants to recover her long-lost property, close ranks against her.  Her only – unlikely – ally turns out to be the son of the family that had driven her out.

Is it possible to get justice for barbaric acts? Can old wrongs be righted? Gita is the victim of racist, anti-Semitic and political prejudice and collective guilt. “Money from Hitler” is a harrowing story infused with the power of a classical tragedy. It is a timeless story of persecution and expulsion, and the futility of the struggle for justice.  Radka Denemarková’s second novel won the Magnesia Litera for fiction, Czech Republic’s most prestigious literary prize, in 2007. A critically acclaimed play based on the novel was staged in 2010-2012 at Prague’s Svanda Theatre. The production stirred lively public debate on the highly sensitive subject of postwar expulsions and German-Czech-Jewish triangle.


„Six chapters, six attempts to return home to the place of the happy pre-war childhood of Gita Lauschmann, whose family only learned about their Jewish heritage when they were dragged into the concentration camps. The first attempt opens the second and longer post-war act of the historical tragedy: the villagers are trying, by confiscating Gita’s family’s property and land, to get rid of two children who returned from the camp. They manage to kill and bury the boy, but Gita survives. The sombre shadow of the murder and of the unjust theft brings the villagers close together. When, sixty years later, Gita reappears one summer, they are scared and refuse to accept her as one of them, even though she does not intend to get her property back, but only seeks a symbolic expression of justice for her father. The five summertime returns show Gita how difficult it is to admit to being guilty of a crime, especially when a whole village participated in it. Great, dark and very current story, reaching the depths of an ancient drama.“ (from jury’s justification)

  • 2009 nominated for ANGELUS PRIZE (Poland)
  • 2011 USEDOMER LITERATURPREIS (Usedom Literature Prize) awarded by German literary critics. Laudatio: Hellmuth Karasek. Jury: Hellmuth Karasek, Andreas Kossert, Doris Lemmermeier, Thomas Schulz.
  • 2012 GEORG–DEHIO–BUCHPREIS (Georg Dehio Prize). Berlin. Laudatio: Andreas Kossert.

Jury’s justification: „Reading Money from Hitler (Peníze od Hitlera) is a mind shattering experience. The novella tells a classical story of persecution and expulsion, but also of a fight for justice. Radka Denemarková has made a major contribution, with a literary mastery, to the extensive chronicles of the history of German-Czech-Jewish relationships.“

„Radka Denemarková is to receive the Georg Dehio Book Prize on 29 November 2012 in Berlin for her novel MONEY FROM HITLER. The Georg Dehio Book Prize is awarded by German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe to writers, who throughout their works thoroughly investigate the common cultural heritage and traditions in each of the eastern European regions that have been inhabited by Germans over history, and thus contribute to mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue. The winners are to be announced in autumn 2012 in Berlin. The Georg Dehio Book Prize winners for 2012 are Peter Demetz for lifetime achievement and Radka Denemarková for her book Money from Hitler (Peníze od Hitlera). The prize is named after Georg Dehio (1850–1932), a German art historian, whose approach to regional context and heritage conservation also became a base for the work of the German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe. This year’s jury members are: Bernd Busch (German Academy for Language and Literature, Darmstadt, Germany). Blanka Mouralová (Collegium Bohemicum, Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic). Martin Pollack (author and translator, Bocksdorf, Austria). Manfred Sapper (Osteuropa magazine, Berlin, Germany). Stefan Sienerth (Institute for German Culture and History in Southeast Europe, Munich, Germany). Beate Störtkuhl (Federal Institute for the Culture and History of Germans in Eastern Europe, Oldenburg, as a representative of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, Germany).“ Ernest Wichner (LiteraturhausBerlin, Germany)


  • Hungarian edition: Hitler pénze. Translated by Klára Körtvélyessy, Európa, 2009. (reading and discussion on the topic of Central European Literature on 25th April 2009: Radka Denemarková, Miklós Vámos, Pawel Huelle as guests of the Budapest Book Fair, 23th – 26th April 2009, XVI. Budapesti Nemzetközi Könyvfesztivál).
  • Polish edition: Pieniądze od Hitlera. Translated by Tomasz Timingeriu and Olga Czernikow, Oficyna Wydawnicza ATUT, Wroclaw 2008. Nominated for the Angelus Prize, April 2009.
  • German edition: Ein herrlicher Flecken Erde. Translated by Eva Profousová, DVA, Random House, Munich, September 2009. Usedomer Literaturpreis 2011 (Laudatio: Hellmuth Karasek). Georg–Dehio–Buchpreis 2012 (Laudatio: Andreas Kossert).
  • English edition: Money from Hitler. Translated by Andrew Oakland, Women’s Press, Toronto, Canada, 2009.
  • Slovenian edition: Denar od Hitlerja. Translated by Tatjana Jamnik. Modrijan, Ljubljana 2010.
  • Anthology in Portuguese: Elas escrevem (Antologia de Pontos tchecos contemporaneos escritos por mulheres). Thesaurus, 2010, Brasil (an anthology of contemporary Czech female writers. A chapter from the Money from Hitler).
  • Italian edition: I soldi di Hitler. Translated by Angela Zavettieri. Keller editore, Torino 2012.
  • Moldavian anthology of contemporary Czech literature: Coama leului pe pernă(And a Head of a Lion on the Pillow). Translated by Lidia Našincová. Chişinău, 2013.
  • Bulgarian edition: Pari ot Hitler. Translated by Jordanka Trifonova. Afterword by Dobromir Grigorov. Elias Canetti, Ruse. December 2013.
  • Spanish edition: El dinero de Hitler. Translated by Elena Buixaderas. Galaxia Gutenberg, Barcelona, 2015.
  • Macedonian edition: Parite od Hitler. Translated by Margareta Karajanova. Begemot, Skopje, 2016.
  • Swedish edition: Pengar från Hitler. Translated by Karin Eriksson.  Aspekt Vörlag, Vallentuna, 2016.


  • Editions du Bord de l’eau, France
  • Flower City Publishing House, China
  • Hena Com, Croatia
  • Ejal, Albania



  • Třistatřicettři. Česká televize, July 2007.
  • Čtenářský deník. Television portrait about the book Money from Hitler. Česká televize, April 2008.
  • Horizons – Lointains (Prague). A documentary film produced by the French ARTE television, by Patrick Poivre d’Arvor about the Czech literature. Broadcasted on 8th October 2009.
  • Schriftstellerin Radka Denemarková. Directed by Rudolf von Bitter. Bayrisches Fernsehen, Redaktion Literatur und Kunst. Florianmühlstrasse 60. München. Broadcasted in Büchermagazin LeseZeichen, Sendung im Bayrischen Fernsehen, am 22. 2. 2010 um 23:40 Uhr. Sendung auf BR–alpha am 23. 2. 2010 um 23:00 und am 27. 2. 2010 um 22:00 Uhr.


  • Jan Šícha: Knihovnička, Literární noviny, č. 23, 5. 6. 2006, p. 16.
  • Zdenko Pavelka: Žádná podobnost není náhodná, Právo, 22. 6. 2006.
  • Ondřej Horák: Posílám nějaké peníze, s úctou Hitler, Lidové noviny, 28. 6. 2006.
  • Joanna Derdowska: O obtížných dějinách – vznětlivě nebo umírněně?, Týdeník A2, č. 27, 5.7.2006.
  • Joanna Derdowska: Peníze od Hitlera,
  • Filip Tomáš: Co dělal tvůj otec za války?, A2, 26. 7. 2007, p. 7.
  • Pavel Janoušek: Ze čtenářského deníku Aloise Burdy, Tvar 15/2006.
  • Josef Chuchma: Peníze od Hitlera. Novel plný hrůz, Mladá fronta Dnes, 18. 10. 2006.
  • Josef Chuchma: Tři ženy, jeden film, Mladá fronta Dnes, 1. 11. 2006.
  • Aleš Haman: Život jako krimi, Tvar 18/2006, p. 2.
  • Alena Fialová-Šporková: Méně by bylo více, Tvar 18/2006, p. 2.
  • Magnesia Litera nominovala 24 knih, Právo, 9. 3. 2007.
  • Petr Fischer: Tři novely o tom, jak se do nás vpisují dějiny, Hospodářské noviny, 6. – 9. 4. 2007, p. 13.
  • Ivan Adamovič: Rumunská satira knihou roku, Pražský deník, 23. 4. 2007.
  • František Cinger: Zamindrákovaní si vždy najdou oběti, Právo, 26. 4. 2007.
  • Vladimír Novotný: K nové české literatuře, Český jazyk a literatura. č. 2, 57/ 2006 – 2007, p. 87.
  • Pavel Horký: Splácet život utrpením, Pandora, 13/2006, p. 173 – 174.
  • Alice Horáčková: Hledá se nejlepší kniha roku, Mladá frota Dnes, 9. 3. 2007.
  • Na Literu má nominaci čtyřiadvacet knih, Hospodářské noviny, 9. 3. 2007.
  • Ondřej Horák: Peníze od Hitlera přijdou do kin, Lidové noviny, 23. 4. 2007, p. 17.
  • Jitka Pokorná: Autorka novelu: Psaní jsem si nevybrala. Talent si nevybíráte. Psaní si vybralo mě. Kutnohorský deník, 14. 4. 2007, č. 88. p. 8 a 10.
  • Jitka Pokorná: Spisovatelku pocházející z Posázavské brány nominovali na literární cenu, Kolínsko, 14. 4. 2007, p. 8.
  • Barbora Klimková: Srdečně a s láskou Radka Denemarková. Litenky.
  • Ondřej Horák: Přebytky něhy, Hospodářské noviny, 14. 1. 2010.



Actress Marie Málková in the role of Gita Lauschmannová in the staging of the Money from Hitler was nominated for the Alfréd Radok Prize for the year 2010 in the category the best female acting performance. Dramatisation of the novel Money from Hitler.  Premiere: 9. 1. 2010. Derniere: 15. 2. 2012. Švandovo divadlo theatre, Smíchov, Prague. Directed by Michal Lang. Scene set: Jaroslav Milfajt j. h. Costumes: Tomáš Kypta j. h. Music: Michal Lang. Dramaturgy: Olga Šubrtová j. h. and Lucie Kolouchová.
Acting: Marie Málková j. h., Šárka Vaculíková j. h., Jan Hofman j. h., Viktor Limr, Kristýna Frejová, Lenka Ouhrabková j. h., Ondřej Volejník j. h., Stanislav Šárský, Eva Leimbergerová, Věra Kubánková j. h., David Punčochář, Miroslav Hruška, Apolena Vildová, Pavel Juřica, Robert Jašków, Luboš P.Veselý, Karel Hlušička j. h./ Ladislav Trojan j. h., Milan Kramařík a Jiří Werner j. h.
Reviews: Marie Boková, Lidové noviny, 5. 1. 2010. Vladimír Hulec, Mladá fronta Dnes, 11. 1. 2010. Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny, 12. 1. 2010. Marie Reslová: Peníze od Hitlera ukazují českou malost. Hospodářské noviny, 14. 1. 2010. Karel Ulík: Bolestivá sonda do svědomí. 22. 1. 2010, Literárky. Jana Soprová: Peníze od Hitlera, 12. 1. 2010. ČRo Vltava mozaika. Jana Machalická: Z extrému do extrému. O divadelní sezóně a dramatizaci Peníze od Hitlera ve Švandově divadle Praha, Lidové noviny, 13. 7. 2010. Roman Sikora: Pohled dostatečně nečernobílý, 22. 1. 2010, Deník Referendum.