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The Papers of Karel Maywald

Reference Code: GBR/0014/MWLD

Scope and Contents

The papers include: personal material; correspondence, particularly relating to Maywald's work and publications and also with other Czech exiles; writing on Czechoslovakia [Czech Republic and Slovakia]; published and unpublished work on economics, especially on "Domestic Capital Formation".


  • Creation: 1940 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Karel Maywald (Maiwald) was born on 3rd October 1902 in Oslavany near Brno, Czechoslovakia, where his father was a gardener. He received the degree of Doctor of Law from the Masaryk University in Brno in 1925 and was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study in the United States, Britain, Switzerland and Germany. In London he met his future wife, Jaroslava Kreysova, whom he married in Prague in 1929. They had one daughter.

After his return to Czechoslovakia Maywald taught at the Law Faculty of Masaryk University and in 1931 joined the State Statistical Office in Prague as a research worker until May 1945. He published two books and several papers on economics and contributed a regular column to the Czech weekly "Pestry tyden". During the German occupation he was a member of the underground group PVVZ and helped to prepare the post-war reconstruction programme "Za svobodu do nove Ceskoslovenske republiky" (published after the war by Delnicka Akademie in Prague). Ervina Brokesova, the wife of one of the arrested members of PVVZ, wrote about him in her book "Ty a ja" (published by Ceskoslovensky Kompas in Prague 1947).

After May 1945 Maywald became President of the newly constituted State Planning Office in Prague, President of the State Planning Board, and Professor of Economics at the School of Political and Social Sciences. During the first year he was also a Social Democratic Member of the provisional Parliament and Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Committee.

Following the Communist takeover Maywald escaped from Czechoslovakia in October 1949 with his family and his assistant Stanislav Koutnik. He lived in German refugee camps and experienced physical discomfort, political intrigues, anonymous denunciations to the immigration authorities and personal attacks in the Czechoslovak exile press. He was refused a visa to Britain. His life in the camps was sordid in the extreme. On New Year's Day 1950 a rumour was spread that Karel Maywald was dead. As he had received a warning on the previous night he did not set a foot outside his room. Another Maiwald in the camp - no relation - was beaten up during the night on his way from a New Year's Eve celebration. On the invitation of the University of Manchester Maywald was finally given a visitor's visa to Britain which enabled him to find a job.

In October 1950 Maywald was appointed by Cambridge University to do a research project into Domestic Capital Formation. On coming to Britain he became active in the political life of the Czechoslovak exile and attempted to introduce reforms. He participated in the meetings of the Association of former members of the Czechoslovak Parliament, but he was critical of the Council of Free Czechoslovakia based in the United States. In 1952 together with Blazej Vilim, former General Secretary of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, Maywald suggested that the Council of Free Czechoslovakia included the U.N Declaration of Human Rights in its constitution. This was an idea far ahead of the time and the proposal was turned down.

When Lausman, former Social Democratic Party leader, was cold-shouldered by the Czechoslovak exile politicians (Lausman was not even allowed a visitor’s visa to Britain although he had fought in the British Army during the war), Maywald brought about a reconciliation between Lausman and Vilim. Lausman was his friend and in their extensive correspondence he advised Lausman about his manuscript of "Kdo byl vinen". The kidnapping of Lausman to Prague in 1953 was a heavy blow to Maywald. He gradually became disillusioned with exile politics and withdrew from it.

In the mid-1950s, as a result of his research, Maywald published a number of economic papers. He collected his material with ingenuity and industry. The first version of his manuscript on Domestic Capital Formation was ready in October 1958. He had, however, a disagreement over his manuscript, as a result of which his contract was not renewed and he became virtually unemployable. Finally, Glasgow University gave him a part-time research job and in 1961 he went as a government statistician to Rhodesia [later Zambia and Zimbabwe] and in 1964 to Nigeria. He retired in 1966.

In his retirement Maywald intended to write about economic planning in Eastern Europe and began collecting material about it. His disappointment with his Cambridge book led him also to study copyright and the author’s moral right. His work was interrupted by a stroke in August 1969. After that he withdrew completely into family life. He was a very lonely old man and his health gradually deteriorated until his death on 18th August 1979. One of his last attempts at writing dealt with Lausman, but he found writing difficult and had to abandon it.

He was appreciated by his political colleagues for his resourcefulness and intellectual vitality. Some admired his uncompromising straightforwardness, others rejected him for it. Those who liked him best looked on him with an amused tolerance and called him "Professor" long after he stopped being one. "Karel is a professor; the greatest idealist and an honest man, but he sees everything through his professorial glasses", wrote Lausman in a letter dated 24th January 1953, quoting a communist agent who had been sent to spy on Czechoslovak exile politicians.

Karel Maywald died on 18 August 1979.


39 archive box(es)

Language of Materials




The papers were arranged into eight separate sections on cataloguing, but the actual file numbers run straight through these sections from 1 to 156 and are numbered: MWLD 1/1-8; 2/9-44; 3/45-70; 4/71-85a; 5/86-93; 6/94-96; 7/97-140; 8/141-156.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid and a detailed list to the papers is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Dr. Maywald were deposited in Churchill College in October 1979 by his widow, Mrs. Maywald, and his daughter, Mrs. Simsova. With a further accession from Mrs Simsova in 2015.

Related Materials

See also the papers of Blazej Vilim (BVLM) and Jan Svoboda (SVBD) at Churchill Archives Centre.


This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson of Churchill Archives Centre in May 2004 from an existing catalogue.


Maywald, Karel

2004-05-18 09:17:01.013000+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087