Bem, Alfred Liudvigovich – Holíková-Bem, Irena Alfredovna – Materials from Personal Inheritance

Name Bem, Alfred Liudvigovich – Holíková-Bem, Irena Alfredovna – Materials from Personal Inheritance Alfred L. Bem (1886-1945?)
Alfred L. Bem (1886-1945?)
Catalog Number T-A-2425-2521, 2682-2899
Volume 381 inventory units, 5 archival boxes
State of Cataloging The collection has been fully catalogued and is freely accessible
Languages of Documents Russian, Czech, German

Alfred Liudvigovich Bem (April 23, 1886, Kiev – 1945 ?) was a historian and theoretician of literature. Before his escape from Russia, he had worked in the Manuscript Department of the Library of the Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. After a short stay in Beograd and Warsaw, he came to Prague in 1923. There he worked as a teacher of Russian language at Charles University. Between 1923 and 1924, he was a professor of Russian literature at the Comenius Pedagogical Institute. He organised the group of young Ukrainian emigrant poets called Skit Poetov and was a secretary of the Czechoslovakian Dostoevsky’s Society. He also published in Russian, Czech and German journals.

In May 1945, A.L. Bem was arrested by the Soviet intelligence service. His later fate, the exact date and cause of his death have not been revealed.

A.L. Bem’s file in the Slavonic Library (176 inventory units) is only a small part of his inheritance. It contains manuscripts and typed texts of his lectures and studies and excerpts from newspapers dealing with Russian literature, especially Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Yesenin. Correspondence with publishers (1928–1944) is available as well. All these documents show Bem’s accuracy and punctuality. His attempt to reconstruct Turgenev’s unfinished novel Sabina Monaldeski using the author’s notes and scraps is definitely also remarkable. Several versions of Bem's autobiography are important for research.

The second part of the collection comprises materials associated with the activities of Bem’s daughter Irena Holíková (née Irina Alfredovna Bem, 13 June 1916, Saint Petersburg – 18 July 1981, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic). She arrived in Czechoslovakia together with her parents in 1923. Having passed her school-leaving exam at the French grammar school in Prague, she continued her studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. She was an active member of the émigré literary group Skit poetov.

At the beginning of the Second World War, she published Orfei [Orpheus], a collection of verses written between 1937–1941. At that time, she was teaching Russian language and literature at the Russian grammar school in Prague-Pankrác.

She married Mikhail Antonovich Golik (Holík, 1912–1971), who was arrested by SMERSH organs in 1945 and, like her father and the husband of her younger sister Tatiana, Sergei Davydov, illegally dragged to the USSR.

After the war, I. A. Holíková-Bem(ová) left Prague and taught Russian at various general education and vocational schools in East Bohemia (Chrudim, Pardubice, Hradec Králové). She applied her literary talent in teaching school drama and recitation clubs.

In the 1960s, she tried to publish the collection of poems Orfei again, complemented by her later work.

During the Prague Spring, she cooperated with the Language and Literature Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, where a group focused on the literary production of Prague Russian émigrés was formed. After August 1968, its activities were limited and subsequently completely liquidated. Irena Holíková continued to take care of her father’s personal inheritance and library. She donated a part of the library to the Language and Literature Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and sold the rest to the Slavonic Library.

The collection of I. A. Holíková-Bem(ová), deposited in the Slavonic Library (205 inventory units), contains mainly hand- and typewritten versions of her verses, studies, sermons and notated psalms as well as both private and business correspondence, and preparatory materials for the instruction of Russian. The collection also contains documents describing sale of Bem's library and archives to the Slavonic Library as well as correspondence focused on the unrealized publishing of the fourth volume of O Dostojevském [About Dostoevsky] proceedings edited by A. L. Bem.



Ukázka Bemova rukopisu (Novoje o Lermontove) – T-A 2477
Ukázka Bemova rukopisu (Novoje o Lermontove) – T-A 2477

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