Helenka "Margot Langer" Nováková is the former lover of Hans Georg Schuwald and the mother of Karl Neuman. She is the best friend of Johan and Nina's mother, Anna, with whom she attempted to cross the Czech border.
Relationship with Viera Černá
While living in Prague, Helenka became close friends with Viera Černá (Anna). In 1970, at the age of fifteen, she and Viera decided that they would try to cross the Czech border and settle in West Germany. However, patrol officers caught Viera and she was sent back to Prague; the girls never met again. Helenka was able to safely arrive in West Germany, but she always wondered about her best friend's fate. It wasn't until half a decade later in 1976 that she received a letter from Viera stating that she was alright and living in The Three Frogs building back in Prague.
Helenka read Viera's letter to Schuwald one evening, and he later used the information during his search for her in 1980; he traveled from Munich to Prague to inquire concerning her whereabouts, only to find out that her best friend did not know anything either. They talked about Helenka during his visit, and before leaving he noticed the woman's children quietly absorbing their conversation, as if they were committing to memory each and every word exchanged. This thought came to haunt Schuwald later when he had to face adult Johan.
Affair with Hans Georg Schuwald
Being a teenager with few options, Helenka turned to prostitution as a source of income. Her beauty granted her the luxury of choosing whom she would provide her services to, and she quickly made her way to the top as an escort among businessmen and other elites of society. One of her frequent customers was Hans Georg
Schuwald; the two fell in love with each other and Schuwald, being unmarried, always looked forward to her visits. Not long after she became pregnant, Helenka left Schuwald and Munich for reasons unknown, though Karl suggests that it was because she was not interested in marriage. At their parting, Schuwald gave her a rabbit's foot, so that it would bring luck to their child. Like Viera, he never saw Helenka again.
Helenka gave birth to her son, Karl, in 1977 and took care of him through most of his early childhood. One day, she took her son to the train station and instructed him to board the fifth line and get off at the eighth station, where he would meet Marta from an orphanage. When Karl asked her why she was sending him off, Helenka responded that he would be "mocked as the son of a whore" if he stayed with her, implying she only wished for her son to live a normal life with able parents -- something she could not provide him with. Teary eyed, Helenka assured Karl that the people in the orphanage would take good care of him. Karl then asked why his rich father, Hans Schuwald, wasn't helping to support them. Helenka was surprised to learn he knew who his dad was, and gave him the lucky rabbit's foot, saying that he could see his father when he was all grown up. Karl boarded the train and waved goodbye to his mother.
Helenka continued her life as an escort until the '90s. After allegedly being in an affair with the president of an underground bank, she retired in 1992 and moved to Offenbach Hessen, where she lived with an eighteen-year-old boy. In a letter to a friend, she mentioned that the young man had an astoundingly similar appearance to her old friend Viera. She also noted that being with him made her think of her own son, whom she hoped was leading a happy life.
On November 2, 1996, she was killed in a random attack, undoubtedly related to the young man she stayed with a few years prior.
- Main article: Blue Sophie
It was mentioned by Blue Sophie that she had met Helenka in a bar one evening not long before she was murdered. At that time, Helenka was in need of a counselor, so Blue Sophie pretended that she cared for her and wanted to help out. Helenka then poured out her life story, including the bit about her affair Hans Schuwald, once the most prosperous businessman in Bavaria. After Helenka's death, Blue Sophie assumed her alias "Margot Langer" and attracted the attention of Schuwald. Schuwald knew she was not the real Margot Langer, but he still visited her during the witching hours of the night and gave her money so he could compensate for the hardships he caused the real Helenka to endure. Karl came to know Blue Sophie when Lotte and he were investigating Schuwald; he was greatly infuriated by her audacity to actually use his mother's name to get into Schuwald's pocket, but took no action against her.
Beautiful and good-natured, Helenka was a loving woman who never harbored anger or hatred towards other people.
From what is known, Helenka grew up in the city of Prague. There, she became friends with Viera Černá and attended school, presumably dropping out at the age of fifteen when she fled the country. Nothing further is revealed about her life before settling in Germany.
Aside from Karl's statement that Helenka left Schuwald because she wasn't interested in marriage, no new information is disclosed.
- Helenka is the Czech diminutive for Helena. Thus, Helenka's birth name is Helena Nováková.