- Carver: A Life (2015) 
  - Indecent Secrets (2006) 
  - Intimate Enemies (1997) 
  - The Hitler Kiss (2002) 

 Book Chapters: 
  - "The Country for Men
     with Nerve"
  - "New Orleans at the
     Time of Battle"
  - "The Czech Lands" 
  - "Dorothy Dix" 
  - "El Corazón de España" 
  - "Paris in the 18th

 Lecture Topics 

 Biographical and
      Contact Information

The Hitler Kiss

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“I picked up The Hitler Kiss only a few hours after I had returned from a research trip in Europe. As I was very tired after a long flight, I expected to be able only to glance at a few pages. I found myself reading and reading more, for hours, until the pages virtually fell from my fingers. . .I did not stop until I had read every word. At the end. . .I was so moved that I had tears in my eyes. . . Objective and unemotional, serious but also witty. . . .It will resonate with every reader.”
—Igor Lukes, author of Czechoslovakia Between Hitler and Stalin

A Memoir of the
Czech Resistance

by Radomir Luza
and Christina Vella

“This is a remarkable book ...a fabulous adventure story. The sense of timing in the writing is exquisite...the reader’s blood pressure goes up just wondering what will happen... The writing style is just com- pelling that it would make a good movie.”

—Karl Roider, Author of
Austria’s Eastern Question

Louisiana State University Press (2002)

Resistance movements were active in every country occupied by Hitler; yet, despite a plethora of books on the Holocaust, little has been published in English describing this pervasive Resistance. How did people join it, or how were they compelled by circumstances to join? How did unarmed and homeless (that is, unregistered) individuals survive in hiding, communicate with each other, and organize projects against the Germans in a city such as Brno, where a gallows was set up in a schoolyard for the execution of anyone who failed to report unregistered persons?

During the occupation of Czechoslovakia, every citizen faced the danger of committing one of more than a hundred capital offenses—listening to foreign broadcasts, procuring any kind of food beyond one’s meager rations, providing any assistance whatever to a resister—crimes that resulted in the execution of one’s entire family. How, then, did Resistance persist throughout the entire war, despite the Germans’ unflagging attempts to eradicate it?

Luza was the teenage son of a Czechoslovak army general who went into hiding in 1941. Young Radomir was imprisoned by the Germans and then released in the expectation that he would lead them to the elder Luza. Instead, Radomir Luza escaped his pursuers and joined his father underground. He remained a hunted man until the end of the war, moving from shelter to shelter, staying in people’s attics, under their houses, hiding outdoors in bushes, and living in zemljankas, holes dug underground by escaped Russian war prisoners. At one point, his group was infiltrated by a Nazi spy, a Czech assigned to capture Luza. While Radomir tried to protect his father, he organized a guerilla force of 800 men and led a brigade of Russian ex-prisoners in guerilla attacks against the occupiers.

Luza’s memoir is not only a study of the Resistance, the Communist coup, and his eventual escape to the West; it is also a personal memoir of his relationship with his father, a prominent public figure. Athletic, self-educated, and tough, Vojtech Luza disparaged the abilities of his intellectual, sensitive son, whom he nevertheless deeply loved. On his side, young Radomir worshiped his stern father from afar, following his career in the newsreels, along with everyone else. Not until they shared rodent-infested barns did Radomir gain insight into his father’s human faults and qualities. The Hitler Kiss is at all times a description of personalities as well as a movement. Luza describes in sometimes hilarious detail his relationship with his Russian comrades, his conflicts with his fellow resisters in the closed society of the underground, the women to whom he owed his life, and his friendships with such characters as The Hermit, Mrs. Little Spruce, The Proletarian, The Gypsy, and others whose code names hid secret identities and secret compassion. The Hitler Kiss is not a memoir of atrocity, but of tenderness, optimism, humor, and survival.

Praise for The Hitler Kiss:

“World War and family drama play out . . . in clear, understated prose.”
              —Publishers Weekly

“The compelling narrative is based on 108 hours of tape recordings, given structure and compelling force by the formidable skills of historian Vella, an adjunct professor of history at Tulane . . . She gives us a picture of the resistance in Czechoslovakia that is both personally moving. . . and cinematic in scope and detail.”
              —Susan Larson, Book Editor, The Times-Picayune

"A moving look at a nation and its people. . . .A stunning memoir”
              —George Cohen, Booklist

“Truly extraordinary. . . .Personal accounts about the Second World War must be more than tens of thousands . . .but this book is a rare achievement. . . for this, much of the credit is surely due to Christina Vella.”
              —John Lukacs, author of Five Days in London

“Poignant, eloquent, and harrowing. . . . The pen portraits are vivid, the moral judgements acute. And the writing is nothing less than superb, indeed, brilliant, thanks to the rich collaboration with Christina Vella. ...I was very moved.”
              —Lawrence N. Powell, author of Troubled Memory

"A work of art that coherently ties together countless beautifully narrated scenes of a most dramatic segment of Central European history."
              —International History Review

"A wonderfully written, riveting account of life under the Nazi occupation and the internal workings of the Czech resistance movement…a fascinating, important contribution…readable and accessible to non-academics. Vella has done a wonderful job.
              —Lee Farrow, Russian History

A professor emeritus of history at Tulane University and professor of history at Masaryk University in Brno, the late RADOMIR LUZA was the author of seven scholarly books and numerous articles. Until his death in 2009, he lived near Philadelphia.

CHRISTINA VELLA holds a Ph.D in history. She is the author, most recently, of George Washington Carver: A Life (LSU Press, 2015). She writes, lectures, and teaches in New Orleans.

Dr. Vella's works are distributed locally by Octavia Books

513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115

Autographs and personal dedications are available on request.

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