Freedom Rider

5 Minute Read In an extraordinary life, the Swedish-American model Paulina Porizkova has twice found herself cast as the victim of oppression. Twice she has prevailed.
Paulina Porizkova Photo by MediaPunch/Shutterstock

If you had grown up in Sweden in the late 1960s and early seventies, you would have known the name Paulina Porizkova. It was a byword for a type of natural liberty denied a human being due to forces that Porizkova, specifically, was too young to oppose, let alone understand. For it was to Sweden that her anti-Soviet dissident parents fled from Czechoslovakia on a motorbike after the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968.

Paulina was left with a grandmother, and Czech authorities refused a family reunification with such blockheaded vehemence that it caused two significant events. The first was that her mother felt she had no option but to make a kidnap attempt of her seven-year-old child. The second was that it failed but fomented such a cause célèbre that the Swedish statesman Olof Palme intervened, and the family was reunited in Sweden.


    David Smiedt


    June 2022


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