In this quiet square, where the grass still grows much as it did a century ago, a tragic episode from the novel by Egon Erwin Kisch The Pimp (Der Mädchenhirt) begins. The principal character, Jarda, who is the random fruit of a love affair between a wealthy German from the Old Town and the Czech wife of a Kampa raftsman. He is thus brought up amongst the poorer strata of society on that peninsula, on which a woman’s body is perhaps the only capital with which she can possibly survive. One day thirteen-year-old Jarda learns from his fifteen-year-old friend that she will make money from her body, because cavaliers are willing to pay good money for “untouched girls“. Her older sister waits in front of the Grand Priory itself (No. 4/485) and brings along her customer who is waiting at the “Old Post Office“ in nearby Malteserplatz (Maltese Square). Jarda sneaks behind them into the “vestibule“ of the Church of the Virgin Mary under the Chain (a Neo-Gothic entrance hall protected by a wrought-iron bar), so that he can spy on what happens next.
This guided walk is a part of the “Democracy on the Brink. Historical lessons from the late 1930s” project supported by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.