Václav Benda, a Catholic activist, intellectual and mathematician, was born on 8 August 1946, in Prague.
He obtained his PhD in Philosophy at Charles University in Prague and he saw his academic career end when he refused to join the Communist Party in the early 1970s. Benda was an advocate of the movement against the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In 1977 he became a signatory to Charter 77, which led to his imprisonment in May 1979 until 1983.
After his release, he resumed his role as spokesman for the group of Charter 77 and also became a founding member of the Commission for the Defense of Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS).
From 25 June to 31 December 1992, Benda was President of the Chamber of Nations and from 1991 to 1998, he was head of the Department of Investigation of the Crimes of Officials of the Communist Party. In 1996, he was elected to the Czech Senate, a position he held until his death in 1999.
Benda, Vaclav (2018). The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Vaclav Benda, 1977-1989. United States: St. Augustines Press.