Nemcova, Bozena

BORN c4 Feb 1817, Wien (?) - DIED 21 Jan 1862, Praha
GRAVE LOCATION Praha: Vysehrad Cemetery (02B-12 (365))

It is unknown when Nemcova Bozena was born, but is was possibly before 4 Feb 1820, the date that was published in several books. It was stated that she was born in Vienna as Barbara Prankel, but she may have been an illegitimate child, possibly from a noble family and she may have been born as early as 1817 (documents from her schooltime suggest she was born well before 1820).

She suffered from an unhappy marriage to Josef Nemec that started in 1837 and lasted until the last year of her life. In 1842 her husband took her to Prague, where her intelligence and her beauty attracted attention. She was romantically involved with several men. From 1845 onwards the family was often on the move, living in small towns in Bohemia.

They had moved in nationalist circles for years and in 1853 her husband lost his job because of his political activities. During the same year their son Hynek died. This heavy blow further damaged her fragile health. She had three more children and by now the family mainly lived from her writings. In 1855 she published her best known novel "Babicka" ("The Grandmother"), which was regarded as a masterpiece.

In 1861 she finally left her husband and she moved from Prague to Litomysl, where she had found a publisher who provided her with lodgings. When the publisher withdrew his offer to the sick woman she was without money. She didn't want to ask her husband for help, but he discovered her in a little hotel and took her back to Prague. She recovered, but she died on 21 Jan 1862.

Her death was a shock to the Czech nation and there were thousand visitors at her funeral procession which took place in the freezing cold on 24 Jan 1862.

Related persons
• was a friend of Svetlá, Karolina


The grave of Bozena Nemcova at Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague.
Picture by Androom (16 Aug 2000)


Néruda, Jan

Published: 10 Apr 2009
Last update: 25 Apr 2022