Arnošt Lustig was born on 21 December, 1926, in Prague, Czech Republic. He is a Czech Jewish author of novels, short stories, plays and screen plays and many of his works focus on the Holocaust. In 1942, he was sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, from where he was later transported to Auschwitz and then Buchenwald. In 1945, he escaped from a train carrying him to Dachau when the engine was mistakenly destroyed by an American fighter-bomber. He returned to Prague in time to take part in the May 1945 anti-Nazi uprising.
Following the war, Lustig studied journalism at Charles University in Prague and then worked for a number of years at Radio Prague. He worked as a journalist in Israel at the time of its War of Independence. After the fall of eastern European communism in 1989, he divided his time between Prague and Washington DC, where he continued to teach at American University. After his retirement from American University in 2003, he became a full-time resident of Prague. He was given an apartment in the Prague Castle by then President Vaclav Havel and honoured for his contributions to Czech culture on his 80th birthday in 2006. In 2008, Lustig became the eighth recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize. He is two-time winner of the Jewish National Book Award.
Lustig died in February 2011.